Here's a Yankee fan's nightmare -- the possible dawning of a Red Sawx dynasty.
Look, there's no such thing as a dynasty if a team cannot win consecutive titles, or even consecutive pennants. So right now, there is no RedSux dynasty. But in 2008, after the Beanheads' second WS title in four years as they begin to set up for a third, you'll hear plenty about it. And possibly again in 2009 . . . And if that happens, the birthdate of that dynasty will be October 17, 2004 -- the night the Yanks blew a chance to go to another World Series in a span of six pitches; the RedSax forced the Yanks into TheGreatestChokeJobEver and the balance of power in baseball began to swing. Do you doubt it?
Neither the Yanks nor Sax were great in '05; the Redstiffs were crushed by injuries last year. But the Sawx made key moves that paid off big (Beckett, Matsuzaka, Lowell) despite the ding-dong pickups like Drew and Crisp. And the Sawx have more MLB-ready young positional talent (RoY to be Pedroia, 2008 RoY candidate Ellsbury) than the Yanks (who have some outfielders and lots of pitchers, but notsomuch on the infield), with nearly as much pitching (Lester, Buchholz).
Do you wonder why Steinbrenner(s) didn't push too hard for Torre's return? The Tampa faction of the Yankees' front office knows full well that the Redsacs are 14-3 in elimination games since 1999 (6-0 v. Cleveland, 5-2 v. Yanks, 3-0 v. A's, 0-1 v. Chisux) and also know that the Yanks have folded like origami paper since 2002 -- getting eliminated from the playoffs at their first opportunity in '02, '03, '04 and '06, and barely putting up a fight in '07. Whatever else Francona is, he's definitely in charge of his club's psyche.
And it's no coincidence that the Yanks' leadership vacuum has opened at the same time the RedSax post has been overfilled -- in 2001, the Yanks parted ways with Tino Martinez and Paul O'Neill retired and they replaced those presences with Giambi; in 2003, David Ortiz became a Redsawk and changed the clubhouse for good.
So remember, if you hear about the Redsax' second WS in four years and a potential dynasty in the making -- it started on October 17, 2004; it flourished the next day when Torre had his worst managerial game ever; it re-emerged when the Sawx did what the Yanks failed to do -- show fortitude and skill against the Indians; and it could culminate in WS titles both next week, and next year.