Why 2007 is different from 2004

2007.jpg Daisuke Matsuzaka: $103 million. J.D. Drew: $70 million. Julio Lugo: $36 million. Eric Gagn?: two decent young players, a couple of million dollars, and at least two months from my life expectancy. Hideki Okajima, Jacoby Ellsbury, Dustin Pedroia, Jonathan Papelbon, Bobby Kielty, Manny Delcarmen, Jon Lester et al: Combined, much less than any of ...

By , a professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.
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Boston Red Sox third baseman Mike Lowell is lifted into the air by coach Luis Alicea Gafter the Red Sox won the baseball World Series with a 4-3 Game 4 win over the Colorado Rockies Sunday, Oct. 28, 2007, at Coors Field in Denver. Lowell was named the series MVP. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

Daisuke Matsuzaka: $103 million. J.D. Drew: $70 million. Julio Lugo: $36 million. Eric Gagn?: two decent young players, a couple of million dollars, and at least two months from my life expectancy. Hideki Okajima, Jacoby Ellsbury, Dustin Pedroia, Jonathan Papelbon, Bobby Kielty, Manny Delcarmen, Jon Lester et al: Combined, much less than any of the aforementioned players on this list, but more than I have in my bank account. Waking up your son and seeing him punch the air with his fist and say "YESSSS!!!" when Papelbon struck out his last batter of the season: priceless. Congratulations to the Colorado Rockies, for an incredible run to get to the World Series, and for making the last three games much more nail-biting than the term "sweep" would suggest. UPDATE: In Baseball Prospectus, Joe Sheehan writes about the difference between information and experience when it comes to thinking about baseball:

After tonight, however, I know what cannot be quantified: being able to claim the word ?champion? for your own, to scream at the top of your lungs that you?re the best, and get no argument. To dance on a field with your teammates?no, your work family?and embrace and have, for that moment, the knowledge that no one is better than you are. Tonight, for the first time, I saw that moment up close, and I have no good way of relaying it to you in Prospectus terms. There?s no Value Over Replacement Feeling, no Equivalent Emotion, no Smile Shares. There?s just the look on a man?s face when he?s wearing the entire Cooperstown Collection, fresh off the factory floor, soaked in cheap champagne and cheaper beer, sporting the ?What Not to Wear? miniseries combination of goggles and a baseball cap. There?s no measure for that; you have to see it to appreciate it, and even then you can?t really understand it. Men play professional baseball for any number of reasons, and we pick those apart at our leisure to fill column space, to generate mouse clicks and revenue and make a name for ourselves. Make no mistake, though: however much these men enjoy the playing, the adulation, the paychecks and the power, they live for this. We should all have this feeling at some time in our lives. We should all set a goal, work towards it, achieve it and celebrate ourselves when we accomplish it. I envy these Boston Red Sox, who played baseball in 2007 better than any team did, and will forever be known as champions for it.It's interesting to remember that only a decade ago, the dysfunctionally managed Red Sox made headlines for their internecine warfare, while the Yankees exuded professionalism. The roles have certainly been reversed.... in Red Sox Nation, there's not even going to be a controversy about the final ball.

2007.jpg

2007.jpg

Daisuke Matsuzaka: $103 million. J.D. Drew: $70 million. Julio Lugo: $36 million. Eric Gagn?: two decent young players, a couple of million dollars, and at least two months from my life expectancy. Hideki Okajima, Jacoby Ellsbury, Dustin Pedroia, Jonathan Papelbon, Bobby Kielty, Manny Delcarmen, Jon Lester et al: Combined, much less than any of the aforementioned players on this list, but more than I have in my bank account. Waking up your son and seeing him punch the air with his fist and say “YESSSS!!!” when Papelbon struck out his last batter of the season: priceless. Congratulations to the Colorado Rockies, for an incredible run to get to the World Series, and for making the last three games much more nail-biting than the term “sweep” would suggest. UPDATE: In Baseball Prospectus, Joe Sheehan writes about the difference between information and experience when it comes to thinking about baseball:

After tonight, however, I know what cannot be quantified: being able to claim the word ?champion? for your own, to scream at the top of your lungs that you?re the best, and get no argument. To dance on a field with your teammates?no, your work family?and embrace and have, for that moment, the knowledge that no one is better than you are. Tonight, for the first time, I saw that moment up close, and I have no good way of relaying it to you in Prospectus terms. There?s no Value Over Replacement Feeling, no Equivalent Emotion, no Smile Shares. There?s just the look on a man?s face when he?s wearing the entire Cooperstown Collection, fresh off the factory floor, soaked in cheap champagne and cheaper beer, sporting the ?What Not to Wear? miniseries combination of goggles and a baseball cap. There?s no measure for that; you have to see it to appreciate it, and even then you can?t really understand it. Men play professional baseball for any number of reasons, and we pick those apart at our leisure to fill column space, to generate mouse clicks and revenue and make a name for ourselves. Make no mistake, though: however much these men enjoy the playing, the adulation, the paychecks and the power, they live for this. We should all have this feeling at some time in our lives. We should all set a goal, work towards it, achieve it and celebrate ourselves when we accomplish it. I envy these Boston Red Sox, who played baseball in 2007 better than any team did, and will forever be known as champions for it.

It’s interesting to remember that only a decade ago, the dysfunctionally managed Red Sox made headlines for their internecine warfare, while the Yankees exuded professionalism. The roles have certainly been reversed…. in Red Sox Nation, there’s not even going to be a controversy about the final ball.

Daniel W. Drezner is a professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, where he is the co-director of the Russia and Eurasia Program. Twitter: @dandrezner

Tag: Sports

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