Around The Bases

Tariq Engineer

Amidst the excitement of the presidential debates, only a few of us die-hard baseball fans noticed the MLB playoffs have begun.As of this writing, Minnesota, Boston, and St. Louis had all won their opening games, while Houston was 8-3 up on the Braves in the bottom of the seventh inning.

Now those of you who know me know that I am a Yankees fan, and I make no apologies for it. So what I am about to say may surprise some of you. I think the Boston Red Sox have the best chance to win the World Series this year.

Notice that I didn’t call them the favorites to win the World Series because, honestly, I don’t think any of the teams in the playoffs can be considered a favorite – despite St. Louis winning 105 games. But I believe Boston has an extra edge this year that may, that just may, break the curse. They have something to prove.

Boston didn’t just think they were the best team in the American League last year, they knew they were the best team in the AL. So when Aaron Boone hit his game-winning, series-ending, heart-breaking home run, the Red Sox were suddenly confronted with a reality they hadn’t really accepted up until that point – defeat.

This year the Sox are a better team. They have arguably the best starting picture in the post season in Curt Schilling. They also have a powerful line-up that can be adjusted to emphasize good defense. Plus they added a genuine closer in Keith Foulke. Their only concern is Pedro Martinez, but I’d still take a less-than-100-percent Pedro over 85 percent of the starters in the league.

Add in the fact that none of the other teams in the playoffs stand out as being better than the rest, and you are looking at Boston’s best chance of winning a World Series since, well, 1986.

And don’t think the Red Sox aren’t aware of this scenario. Before the first game against Anaheim, Johnny Damon told ESPN: “We know that we had some heartache last year. We felt like we had the best team out there. We were just a bunch of cowboys out there last year, just enjoying every minute. Now we know we have something to prove. We don’t want to be remembered as a team that [keeps] making it to the playoffs, but we keep having tough losses. We want to be known as a team that … rewrites the history books.