10/25/07 3:08 AM ET
Game 1 a hit from Sox to Pops
Plenty to celebrate as Fall Classic kicks off in style
By Mark Newman / MLB.com
Now that everyone seems to have their hats, please tip them to the following:
1. Mother Nature: Thank you. In a show of appreciation for the national pastime, that big green radar blob over New England just kind of swirled around America's Most Beloved Park all night, as if refusing to empty its contents. If only it could have emptied them out in Southern California. A Game 1 rainout was averted, and weather is not expected to be an issue at all for Game 2 on Thursday night.
2. Josh Beckett: Christy Mathewson. Bob Gibson. Those are the kinds of pitchers who come to mind now, watching the Boston right-hander deal in another postseason. Yes, he tied the record with four wins in a single postseason as a starter, and yes, he could be the first to reach five if a Game 5 is necessary on Monday in Colorado. But really, that stat grossly eliminates some of the greatest postseason pitchers in Major League history, because they had only a World Series in October. Beckett struck out the first four batters and rolled, and you just have to tip that hat to him.
3. Pat Curtis: He is from Lowell, Mass., and he was spokesman of the moment for Red Sox Nation in the ninth inning of the 13-1 Game 1 blowout of Colorado. Sox fans are practically rock stars, and they are loving every minute of it. "2004 absolutely was cathartic," he said. "A lot of superstitions I had then were not there now. But the same anxiety of any team trying to win a World Series is still there. You're still there all year through 162 games, and you're still going through that seven-game series with Cleveland. I think we're appreciating what's happening here."
4. Game 2: Because that's what matters right after Game 1 is done. Just ask the players from both teams. Boston just did mostly the same thing that it did to Cleveland at the start of the American League Championship Series, and then the Indians stole Game 2 the next night and it turned into a thrilling seven-game series. "This series is not over," Red Sox shortstop Julio Lugo said. "They're good and you can't take them lightly. They just faced the best pitcher in baseball in this one, that's all." It's Ubaldo Jiminez vs. Curt Schilling in Game 2 at 8 p.m. ET on FOX on Thursday.
5. Justin Pedroia: Who's Justin Pedroia? Ask whoever mislabeled that big box sitting beside Dustin Pedroia's locker after Game 1. This guy might not be a household name yet, but he's living a dream right now. He became the first rookie to lead off a World Series with a home run, picking up where he left off in the ALCS. "You always want to set the tempo, let the other team know you're here to play -- especially that other pitcher, because you know he's amped up," Pedroia said. "It's huge to get off to that lead. I just tried to hit the ball hard and kept my head down, because you don't know if it'll clear the [Green] Monster, and then I saw the second-base umpire signal a homer and that's when I knew."
6. The Boston Pops: And especially to John Williams, its conductor, who is the same person who composed "The Imperial March," also known as "Darth Vader's Theme," for "Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back." How interesting that the team that delights in trading light sabers with the "Evil Empire" down in the Bronx now emerges as the forceful power. A tip of a hat to Williams and his Pops for a stirring national anthem, and James Taylor is up next.
7. LaTroy Hawkins and Troy Tulowitzki: The former was the only Rockies pitcher to retire the side in order. The latter continued to play at a level way beyond his own rookie status, banging two doubles off Beckett.
8. The Double: Speaking of the two-base hit, it was officially scored a combined eight times by Boston in Game 1, tying the World Series record set by the White Sox on Oct. 13, 1906, and the Pirates on Oct. 15, 1925. The two teams combined for 12 doubles, also a World Series record, one more than the White Sox and Cubs banged out on that same day in 1906.
9. Yaz: There is nothing quite as good as legends coming home like this, and the Fenway Faithful gave an appreciative applause as the great Carl Yastrzemski threw out the ceremonial first pitch.
10. Seeing the Rockies again: Maybe it wasn't pretty, but after getting used to the sight of that Colorado club as a lasting image of this October, it was nice to see the guys in purple and black in an actual game again.
11. Staying busy: Having said that, the Rockies had won 21 of their last 22 games, and they were so hot that they finished up early enough to wait around eight days for the World Series to begin. It was tough to argue that the rest didn't adversely affect them. "You can ask me all series long, I'm not going to be able to give you an answer on that," Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said. "We're a no‑excuse ballclub; always have been, we're going to be. We got outplayed tonight." Sox fan Chris DeMaria of Shrewsbury, Mass., interviewed on his way out of the park, said, "It's tough to say, but the main thing is that the Red Sox just came off a hot streak. I don't think it's so much the Rockies having too much rest as it is the Red Sox are just hot right now."
12. New England leaves: The trees here are just about every color in the book, and there are actually a few moments here and there between the games and workouts to notice them. It's another way you know that baseball is almost done.
13. The Red Sox: They have won five straight World Series games dating back to 2004, they have won four straight games dating back to last week's ALCS, and they just rang up 13 runs on the team previously known as the hottest club in baseball. So here are 13 reasons to tip that new World Series cap. Lots of people now own one.
Mark Newman is enterprise editor for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.