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The Red Sox are World Champions

What a season, if opposites could be book ends then last year would be on one side of the longest book shelf in the world. This year is sitting prominently on the other side, proudly showing off to the world. What a contrast, from the bottom of the American East in 2012 to the World Champions in 2013, this really is hard to comprehend. One things for sure, the film directors will be circling Fenway Park in the aftermath of the celebrations documenting all the events that led to a truly memorable night, one that was last seen over 80 years ago!

Being a British Baseball fan is pretty awesome, it’s a sport that I’ve been playing for a couple of seasons and one that is growing in the UK. Seeing the NFL being played in London is something that one day I dream of happening with the MLB. Baseball is a fantastic sport, god I’m so envious of the Americans having it on their door step. I’ve been a Red Sox supporter for three seasons and I have to be honest that for some unknown reason I’ve always loved Boston as a city, this is strange because I’ve never been. I started listening to baseball games on the radio in the early hours before I started watching them live on MLB TV.

The post season is something that I’ve not experienced before and after watching two equally poor seasons in 2011 & 2012 it was something that I didn’t expect given the lead into this year.

The season itself was a fantastic journey, Boston were winning series against The New York Yankees, The Orioles and The Rays with some devastating displays. On the road we were winning at tricky grounds like Seattle, The Angels and Cleveland. A team that flirted with a .500 record last year were suddenly winning, winning in commanding style. The streak at one point hit 8 games and as we marched over .600 the dream was fast becoming a reality. Boston clinched the American East Division with a handful of games to go and they beat Oakland to the best overall record in the East. Something that I believe was fundamental in our success.

Beating The Rays 3-1 in the American East Division Final with little trouble showed the gulf in quality between Boston and their closest rivals. It also demonstrated the believe that this was a team that was ready to claim the title. When we were drawn against Detroit, a team that we had little success against in the regular season, I was curious as to how we would compete. We didn’t just compete, we went to Detroit and battled our way to a couple of massive wins. Heading back to Boston 3-2 ahead was a dream and one we completed at the first time of asking.

I made a deal to myself that I would grow a beard (just like the team) in an effort to show my support. I also made it a priority to watch as much of the World Series live as I had this superstition that if I didn’t watch it, that we would lose. Ironically the two games I didn’t watch we did lose, so it was a test of my stamina to stay awake till 4 in the morning.

The World Series was a spectacle and my somewhat biased prediction of a 4-2 win was true. Each game had it’s drama, from the overturned out at 2nd base in Game 1 through to the Middlebrook “trip” in Game 3 that saw the Cards go 2-1 up with a hotly contested walk off win.

If there was one person who almost single handedly won the World Series for Boston, it was David Ortiz. Big Papi was on fire, going into Game 4 he had made it to first base on all 11 of his plate appearances. It got to the point in Game 6 that the only way The Cards could stop him, was by intentionally walking him. David Ortiz rallied the team through some testing times and was awarded the MVP trophy.

Boston Red Sox, thank you! It has been an absolute delight this season. I have been truly blessed with some high quality individual and team performances. These guys have shown how you can succeed, even when things are against you. This has been rewarded with the highest accolade possible, The World Series.

My five stand out players this year have been:-

1. David Ortiz
2. Dustin Pedroia
3. John Lester
4. John Lackey
5. Uehara

And what about the coach, wow! Not bad for a debut season. The last time a coach won the World Series in his debut year was 2006. I’m pretty certain this won’t be repeated anytime soon.


Northampton Clown, Red Sox and Carlton Blues

Since my post yesterday the mystery of the Northampton Clown intensified with a Sunday Night appearance in the town square at Abington in Northampton. This story has continued to roll forward through the night, which has seen this hit TV screens in Australia and the USA. Cynics have labelled this person as a time waster and think that they should spend their free time in a more productive manner, many others are in support.

It is wonderful that Northampton has been put on the map for something so interesting and strange. I have not experienced something along these lines before and I think this is why it’s stuck a loud chord with the world. As I drove into work today I heard this mentioned on Radio Five which is pretty damn cool. The web page on Facebook has grown from 7,000 likes on Sunday Night up to just over 38,000 this Monday Evening.

It is hard to see people losing interest as things currently stand and I wouldn’t be surprised to see this figure double during the week. One strong rumor circled around a company called Doctor Frights Night and the story that this was linked to them. I can imagine it was to most people’s relief that this story was dismissed as untrue and keeps things going. Last nights photo was published just before midnight with the promise of further appearances during the week. All I can say is keep your eyes peeled Northampton, the eerie mystery continues….

On other news regarding a couple of my sports teams from opposite sides of the globe. Carlton Blues who are my Australian Rules Football Team have over achieved this year. Mick Malthouse who is their coach was tasked with getting Carlton into Finals contention. Not only did he manage that but he oversaw an Elimination Final victory which saw the Blues bow out in the Semi Finals at Sydney. Some people would question that Carlton shouldn’t have played Finals Football this year following Essendon being stripped of their place due to the drugs scandal. I would say this is totally irrelevant and it’s a breath of fresh air to see a team being hit hard and disqualified for cheating. Well done Carlton, 2014 promises so much more. I also loved the rallying spirit that the club drove with the hash tag #BELIEVE which asked fans from around the world to post photos spreading the word.

My photo made the Carlton page on Facebook so I was very happy. For my non following AFL followers, the league comprises of 16 teams. The season comprises of 24 games of which the top 8 sides compete to play Finals Football. Carlton finished 9th but took the 8th spot because of Essendon and their Drugs Scandal.

Finally my American Baseball team are absolutely flying. The Boston Red Sox have gone from strength to strength and find themselves needing only 4 wins from their final dozen regular season matches to secure the American League East Title. In the last couple of weeks they have smashed both the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays. Last night they completed a 3-0 series whitewash of the NYY at Fenway Park.

Boston have not seen success of this nature in the last few years and it is certainly a season of over achieving fairy tales. I am so pleased to see my team close to playing in the World Series and I’m hoping they can see it out and who knows hit 100 Regular Season wins. That would be the icing on top of a sweet cake. Go Boston Red Sox!!

Oh and I just had to get a final mention in for my beloved Leeds United. A gritty 1-0 win at Bolton has put us into the early Play Off places. I am making my first away trip this week at Reading and I will post some photos and details on this later this week.