Wednesday, October 31, 2007

World Series recap and a look ahead

By Rick Morris

As a sworn enemy of the Red Sox "nation," I take no pleasure whatsoever about my forecast of their World Series victory coming true. The difference in the strength of the two leagues alone made that a foregone conclusion. Not in my lifetime (and I'm in my thirties) has the disparity between the American and National League been as stark as it is right now. FDH Lounge Dignitary Nathan Noy told me that he heard somebody cracking that the Rockies had advanced to the World Series by winning the NIT bracket. Sad but true, and it points out the opportunities present for more than half the teams in the NL to advance to the Series next year with just a few upgrades. Winning once they get there, though, will be problematic to say the least.

To use the gambling parlance for a moment, Boston is certainly the "chalk" for the 2008 world championship as well. Ellsbury, Pedroia and Youkilis still have a long ways to go to reach their ceilings and there's a ton of fine young arms in the rotation and pen, making Curt Schilling expendable. Surely they won't let money get in the way of resigning Mike Lowell if they want him back. ManRam and Big Papi probably have less prime years left than most folks think (Ortiz in particular seems a fine candidate to become the next Mo Vaughn with a steep falloff thanks to matters of conditioning, although my best guess for that is no sooner than three years away), but ownership will continue to augment their excellent core with marquee free agents. Oh, and Josh Beckett is the best postseason pitcher going right now and arguably the best since Bob Gibson. So it's almost inconceivable that any other team could make enough moves to keep Boston from being a consensus pick to repeat next year.

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