I cannot tell a lie. I have not watched the Red Sox in several days.
First it was because I was ill...then, because I was making a musical pilgrimage.
Apparently, as far as Friday night is concerned, I needn't feel sorry to have missed it. Reading the game stories and blog posts about it (Quoth Surviving Grady: "Well, that was three hours of my life I'll never get back") is truly wince-inducing.
It looks like Jeremi Gonzalez finally folded. And John Halama poured lighter fluid on the already out-of-control fire.
Most interesting to me was this paragraph at the end of Chris Snow's story on the game:
In a game filled with bizarre moments, there was one oddity that probably went undetected back home. Plate umpire Derryl Cousins and Varitek got in a heated argument in the fourth inning when Cousins refused to allow Gonzalez to throw one last warmup pitch, claiming the Sox had used up too much time between innings. ''I've never seen that," said Francona. ''I was trying to put it out [when he went to the plate to intervene]. I didn't think it was that big a deal. Evidently it was."
Good reporting, Chris Snow. An interesting tidbit indeed. Clearly, Friday was One of Those Games.
Then, last night, well...my friend Kellie had just taken the teacher's test, and I promised to be her parachute when she got done, and if she wanted Three Games to Glory III therapy, who was I to refuse?
So, essentially, I have little to say about the Red Sox that hasn't been said elsewhere already.
Except...I'm wondering why no one seems to be picking up on the "thread", shall we say, of Trot Nixon between the two games, after being rung up at second in the first inning of the Friday disaster, coming back in the five hole with a grand slam to deliver the knockout blow to the M's last night. The pattern is apparent, but no one seems to have vocalized the parallels.
I guess that's where I'm missing, and mea culpa.
Meanwhile, the Patriots DVD was, of course, a thing of great beauty. Kellie pointed out to me the "music of inevitability"--whenever a certain soundtrack piece is played, the Colts and / or Steelers are about to be embarrassed.
What the DVD (which, really, is so thorough only absolutely passionate fans need apply as audience) truly brings to the fore is how far ahead of their opponents the Patriots are in terms of the mental aspect of the game.
Witness: the Steelers game. On the Patriots' first offensive possession, they line up in an I formation with Corey Dillon the tailback. Then, they run a handoff to Deion Branch, who turns the corner around the right side easily and breaks off a run.
"Do the Steelers really think that the Patriots are going to come out with Corey Dillon and just run him like that?" I asked Kellie. "Do they really think they're going to be that obvious?"
"Right, but you're thinking like the Patriots think," Kellie said.
But to me, it doesn't seem that difficult to understand: the further the Steelers get into the hole, the more they keep doing the same thing. Run, run, pass. Stuffed, broken up, every time.
"They're not adapting," I tell Kellie. "They're not changing anything."
"Again," she says, a bit more emphatically this time, "you're thinking of this from the Patriots' perspective."
And it wasn't just the idea of variation and strategy that kept the Steelers guessing, either. It was the Patriots' imagination in running plays, including the spectacular bomb from Brady to Branch after David Givens faked the free safety out of his jock. What that comes down to is that the Steelers' secondary saw Givens, assumed the Patriots would be going for the most obvious gain, and Brady cleaned them out for a touchdown. They seemed not to be on the same wavelength of imagination.
The Colts were a bit better in this regard, but also seemed to make assumptions about the Patriots from both sides of the ball that I could have told you were foolish.
I ended up coming home before we watched the Super Bowl portion of the DVD, but I just couldn't get over that--it seems that the Dynasty-Era Patriots have yet to meet their equal mentally, and though their intellectual approach to the game doesn't seem all that complex, it continues to confuse their opponents utterly.