Red Sox

One last gaffe for the Sox

197883.jpg

One last gaffe for the Sox

By Rich Levine
CSNNE.com

I had a weird feeling Sunday night watching the Sox blow their latest, and last, significant game of the 2010 season.

Then again, it was pretty weird that I had feeling at all.

Like you, or at least a lot of "yous", I'd given up on the Sox a couple weeks ago. More specifically, it was right after the sweep by the White Sox (at Fenway), and before the four losses in five games to the Jays and Orioles (at Fenway), when the emotional switch officially went off.

It's not that I stopped watching entirely. I'd check in when I was home, read about it and watch highlights when I didn't, but it became harder to justify dedicating five nights a week to living and dying with a team that was already dead. I still wanted them to win. I just didn't let the losses affect me. That's what happens after you're burned so many times by the same team. You move on. You turn the page. You stop believing.

And on Sunday night, I stopped watching. Actually, I never even started. As I sat down on the couch after dinner, I put on the DolphinsJets game and was immediately sucked in; hit with anxiety over how much better and stronger both team looked compared to New England, and terror over the thought of the Pats walking into that stadium next Monday night. Throw in the fact that it was a pretty entertaining football game between the Pats' two fiercest rivals, and I'll admit it I forgot the Sox were on.

Maybe that makes me fair-weather. If so, I don't know, you're better than me. But is there really any debate as to which game was most important for the average Boston sports fan? Is there any doubt as to which one mattered more? OK, maybe I'm just trying to make myself feel better, but bottom line is that I couldn't ignore the Sox forever.

Sometime around 11:30, I caught a tweet about the top of the ninth inning. I saw that Rivera was in, that the Sox were only down one and I decided to go back.

I'm so happy that I did.

And that's what's so strange.

Sunday night, I watched the Red Sox make a dramatic comeback and then suffer a beyond frustrating loss to the Yankees, at Yankee Stadium, on national TV, in late September, and I'm happy that I did.

How ridiculous is that? How does that make any sense?

This is the type of game the Sox would blow a couple times a year back before 2004. It was the kind of game that would leave me depressed for at least 24 hours. But last night it was OK? Where the hell am I?

I'm not sure what I thought would have happened if the Sox actually did win that game. Did I think they'd go one some mystical run through the final week of the season? Did I think that game really mattered?

No. But from the moment Ryan Kalish got on base, Mo got rattled, New York got antsy and the Sox started running on the Yankees like they were the Sox, I was instantly transformed back to a time and place where it all really did matter.

For that one inning, I was able to ignore all the harsh realities that ruined this year's pennant race in Boston and really care about the Red Sox. I never thought that would happen again this season.

In the end, the game served as a nice piece of closure on the 2010 campaign. One final reminder of why we stopped believing in the first place. But we knew all that already. Sunday night's game changed nothing about how we perceive or will remember the 2010 Red Sox. That legacy was already set in stone. But for a good half hour, we got to pretend that that wasn't the case; that it still meant so much.

And for that I'm thankful.

(And that still feels so weird.)

Rich Levine's column runs each Monday, Wednesday and Friday on CSNNE.com. Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrlevine33

MLB will institute rules to pick up pace, with or without players' agreement

mlb_rob_manfred_081414.jpg

MLB will institute rules to pick up pace, with or without players' agreement

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Major League Baseball will change rules to speed games next year with or without an agreement with the players' association.

Management proposed last offseason to institute a 20-second pitch clock, allow one trip to the mound by a catcher per pitcher each inning and raise the bottom of the strike zone from just beneath the kneecap to its pre-1996 level at the top of the kneecap. The union didn't agree, and clubs have the right to impose those changes unilaterally for 2018.

Players and MLB have held initial bargaining since summer, and MLB chief legal officer Dan Halem said this week he would like an agreement by mid-January.

"My preferred path is a negotiated agreement with the players, but if we can't get an agreement we are going to have rule changes in 2018 one way or the other," baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said Thursday after a quarterly owners' meeting.

Nine-inning games averaged a record 3 hours, 5 minutes during the regular season and 3:29 during the postseason.

Corey Kluber beats Chris Sale for American League Cy Young

cy_young_corey_kluber_chris_sale_111517.jpg

Corey Kluber beats Chris Sale for American League Cy Young

Max Scherzer heard his name and thrust his arms in the air, shouting and smiling big before turning to kiss his wife.

Corey Kluber, on the other hand, gulped once and blinked.

Two aces, two different styles - and now another Cy Young Award for each.

The animated Scherzer of the Washington Nationals coasted to his third Cy Young, winning Wednesday for the second straight year in the National League. He breezed past Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, drawing 27 of the 30 first-place votes in balloting by members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

Kluber's win was even more of a runaway. The Cleveland Indians ace took 28 first-place votes, easily outpacing Chris Sale of the Boston Red Sox for his second AL Cy Young.

Scherzer yelled "yes!" when his award was announced on MLB Network, a reaction in keeping with his expressive reputation. He showed that intensity often this year, whether he was cursing under his breath like a madman during his delivery or demanding - also with expletives - that manager Dusty Baker leave him in the game.

Just a little different than the pitcher they call "Klubot." Kluber was stoic as ever when announced as the AL winner. He swallowed hard but otherwise didn't react, only showing the hint of a smile moments later when answering questions.

Not that he wasn't thrilled.

"Winning a second one maybe, for me personally, kind of validates the first one," Kluber said.

Scherzer's win moves him into rare company. He's the 10th pitcher with at least three Cy Youngs, and among the other nine, only Kershaw and Roger Clemens aren't in the Hall of Fame.

"That's why I'm drinking a lot of champagne tonight," Scherzer said.

Scherzer earned the NL honor last year with Washington and the 2013 American League prize with Detroit.

"This one is special," he said. "When you start talking about winning three times, I can't even comprehend it at this point."

Scherzer was 16-6 with a career-best 2.51 ERA this year. The 33-year-old righty struck out a league-leading 268 for the NL East champion Nationals, and in an era noted for declining pitcher durability, he eclipsed 200 innings for the fifth straight season. He had to overcome a variety of ailments to get there, and Washington's training staff was high on his thank-you list.

"Everybody had a role in keeping me out on the field," he said. "I'm very thankful for all their hard work."

Kershaw has won three NL Cy Youngs and was the last pitcher to win back-to-back. He was 18-4 with a league-best 2.31 ERA and 202 strikeouts. This is his second runner-up finish. Stephen Strasburg of the Nationals finished third.

Kluber missed a month of the season with back pain and still easily won the AL award over Sale and third-place finisher Luis Severino of the New York Yankees. Kluber led the majors with a 2.25 ERA, and his 18 wins tied for the most in baseball. He added to the Cy Young he won with the Indians in 2014 and is the 19th pitcher to win multiple times.

The 31-year-old Kluber was especially dominant down the stretch, closing out the season by going 11-1 to help Cleveland win the AL Central. He and Minnesota's Ervin Santana tied for the major league lead with five complete games - nobody else had more than two. Kluber also led the majors with 8.0 wins above replacement, per baseball-reference.com.

Kluber and Scherzer both had rough outings in the playoffs. Kluber gave up nine runs over two starts in an AL Division Series against the Yankees, and Scherzer blew a save in the decisive Game 5 of an NL Division Series against the Cubs.

Scherzer said he couldn't even watch the League Championship Series, although he did tune in for the World Series.

"That will eat at me this whole offseason," he said.

Voting for the awards was completed before the postseason began.

The final BBWAA honors will come Thursday when the MVP awards are announced in the AL and NL.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE