On some Fridays, my SocialVoice blog will feature posts that are decidedly more personal, and less business focused.
In my hometown of Boston and throughout the New England region, the month of October means three things: the crispness of early autumn, stunning foliage, and the unbeatable drama that accompanies watching the Boston Red Sox, our beloved Old Towne Team, battle it out for a World Series championship.
It’s my favorite time of year.
And although I’ve recently relocated to Austin, Texas and will have to settle for watching this year’s postseason action from afar, I’m no less excited about the start of “Soxtober.”
It certainly helps that the Red Sox have as good a chance as anyone to capture the 2008 title, which would be their third in the last five years.
Barring a Red Sox three-game sweep of the Yankees and
three straight losses for the AL East-leading Rays this weekend, Boston will enter the playoffs as the American League’s wild card entry and face the Anaheim Angels in a best-of-five series beginning next Wednesday or Thursday.
It’s worth noting that the Red Sox have been a dramatically better team at home (55-23) than on the road (39-42) and have been manhandled by the Angels in head-to-head competition this season (Anaheim won 8 of the 9 meetings between the two clubs), but most of the time, regular-season performance means very little come playoff time.
The Red Sox have a core group of veterans with postseason experience and have showed in posteasons past (see also: 2004, 2007) that they can win big games away from Fenway in October – including against the Angels four years ago. I’m optimistic that recent history is about to repeat itself.
Boston’s 2008 squad features October stud Josh Beckett as the probable Game 1 starter, followed by Jon Lester and Daisuke Matsuzaka, if not necessarily in that order, in Games 2 and 3. It’s an impressive trio that should hold a scrappy, but not overpowering, Anaheim offense at bay.
Boston’s own lineup isn’t as potent if J.D. Drew and Mike Lowell aren’t healthy, but guys like Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youikilis, and David “Big Papi” Ortiz should all produce.
In short, Boston certainly has the talent and poise to repeat as World Series champs. How the games actually play out, of course, is sometimes another matter. It’s all part of the reason I’ll be glued to the action throughout October. Red Sox fans and social media
There is a community component here, of course.
With a little boost from social media, I’ve made connections to dozens of fellow Red Sox fans that only serves to ratchet up my passion for the team by several notches.
Take Twitter, for example. In my own very unscientific research over the past two seasons, I’ve found that Red Sox fans are the most vocal baseball fan group on Twitter. There was even a feature about our in-game Twittering on NPR
back in April.
Check out the #RedSox hashtag
action during a playoff game, and you’ll see our zeal: dozens of 140-character missives and barbs commenting on the action.
I’ll also be contributing to a newly launched Big Papelpon Red Sox Talk Radio podcast
with Aaron Strout and friends over the next few weeks, checking in before and after games and giving my take on the playoff proceedings.
So it really doesn’t matter that I’m 1,800 miles from Boston this fall. Thanks to Red Sox community on the Web – and Time Warner cable – I’ll be just as much as part of the October action as ever.
Let’s play ball.