Thank you, Curtis, for legging out that one-out triple in the eighth.
And muchas gracias to you, Mariano, for your 1-2-3 ninth.
Love, the Red Sox.
No one knows which team they’ll eventually be benefiting with their All-Star Game successes or failures. That’s part of commissioner Bud Selig’s evil genius. But when it comes time to hand out the William Harridge Trophy to the AL champs — and the World Series home-field advantage that’ll come with it — man, oh, man, if it’s the Red Sox, Tuesday’s All-Star Game is going to be remembered as the embodiment of irony.
All-Star Game MVP Carl Crawford, who hit .345 for the Rays in the 2008 ALCS seven-game win over the Red Sox and even barreled into catcher Jason Varitek in Game 3? Hey, thanks for the help in St. Louis!
And legendary Yankee closer Mariano Rivera clinching home-field advantage in the World Series for his chief rival? You da man, Mo! The thought could make George Steinbrenner turn over in his grave.
Oh, irony can be so much fun when you’re making believe.
Evan Longoria sitting out with a so-called finger infection? Maybe he just knows that the Rays don’t have a chance at getting back to the Series this year.
The normally untouchable Roy Halladay giving up three runs to the NL in the second inning? He must know he’s headed to either Philadelphia or St. Louis at the trade deadline.
NL starter Tim Lincecum usually has pinpoint control. How, then, do you explain him plunking the Evil Empire’s Derek Jeter in the second inning? Could he be harboring some secret loyalty to the nearby Red Sox from his 2005 stint in the Cape Cod League? Stranger things have happened.
And it wasn’t just the players who were helping out the Red Sox in St. Louis.
Fans around the area were ticked that two of Boston’s pitchers, Tim Wakefield and Josh Beckett, weren’t used by Rays manager Joe Maddon in Tuesday’s All-Star Game. But Maddon let it be known beforehand that Wakefield was only going to be used if the game went into extra innings and that Beckett would only be used in an absolute emergency. And the fact is, the less they pitched, the more it played right into Terry Francona’s plan for starting off the second half.
Francona even went so far as to defend Maddon on The Dale and Holley Show Wednesday on WEEI.
“I don’t doubt that Joe probably did a really good job of communicating with everybody. … I bet you that game was going 100 miles an hour. And again, I thought he did a good job. As a fan of Wakefield or the Red Sox, you’re always going to want to see everything cater to our guys, and I’m probably in that boat too. But I think as a representative of the American League, I thought they pulled it off really well.”
In other words, “Thanks for keeping our guys’ arms fresh!”
With Jason Bay and Kevin Youkilis both getting hits for the AL and closer Jonathan Papelbon taking home the win after a shaky seventh inning — a frame in which he was saved by Crawford’s snag in left — Red Sox fans must have turned off the game feeling pretty fortunate.
Of course, all of the Red Sox’ thanks are incumbent upon Tito and the boys taking home that AL title. But having overcome an 86-year curse, maybe providence is finally on our side.
Thanks again to everyone. We’ll see you in October.