After completing a three-game sweep of the Nationals in D.C., the Yankees are starting to look like the real Bronx Bombers.
The Weekend Takeaway
The Yankees and Nationals both came into this weekend’s series at Nationals Park on six-game winning streaks. But after Danny Espinosa grounded out to end Sunday’s finale, New York was on cloud nine and Washington was three in the hole.
Though the Dodgers have one more win than the Yankees and four more than the Nationals, by most measures, the teams that squared off in the nation’s capital this past weekend were the two best in baseball right now. After a month and a half of lurking in the background and struggling to find a rhythm, Joe Girardi’s squad has resoundingly announced its presence with the recent surge.
Narrowing the field to just a half-dozen stories proves impossible, so how about covering the outcomes in a half-dozen conferences?
This was another weekend-and its getting this way every weekend-where narrowing down the action to six stories seemed impossible. The ACC, MWC, Big East, Big 12, and Pac-10 all had series involving two of the top three teams, while the SEC and Big West had a lot of important series that might affect their standings. So, rather than determine just six stories, and since we're a month away from the tournament's release, I decided to choose six conferences to detail. Before I get into trouble, let me explain why I didn't choose a few other series that didn't make the cut. In the Midwest, Michigan and Wichita State have been utterly dominant, and both look well-positioned to win their conference and host a regional. Rice's 13-game win streak was ended on Friday against Central Florida, but the Owls bounced back to win the series, and I'm sure they will win Conference USA. The Big East saw St. John's top Notre Dame in South Bend this weekend, effectively ending that race a month early. Finally, the West Coast Conference is being left out, perhaps unfairly, but with a San Diego/Pepperdine matchup coming up this weekend, I promise to do the conference justice in my preview at the end of the week. Now, the six I chose to detail:
Wrapping up the grand historical tour of the game's four-and-out championships.
Hurrying this series on World Series sweeps to its conclusion, rather than do all of the remaining sweeps at a minimal level of detail, what we'll do is stop well short of the present day, covering the sweeps that took place between 1950 and 1990 in depth, and leaving the sweeps by the mini-dynastic Yankees (1998 and 1999 over the Padres and Braves, respectively), the Epsteinian Red Sox (2004 and 2007, over the Cardinals and Rockies), and Ozzie Guillen's random-stroke-of-good-fortune White Sox (defeated the Astros, 2005) to your memories, and perhaps a later collection of articles.
A review of the World Series teams that only needed four games to wrap things up.
On Sunday night, the Red Sox completed the 18th sweep in World Series history. This is part one of a capsule guide to the previous 17. After we cover all of their predecessors, we'll try to see where Boston's sweep fits in this gallery of postseason dominance.
Jim looks at a group of five-game sweeps in history, wonders about Ozzie Guillen's latest tirade, and pays tribute to a weakened National League.
Any lingering doubts Tigers fans may have had about their team fading down the stretch were put to rest when Detroit acquired Neifi Perez from the Cubs. We learn, once again, that a veteran player is always preferable to someone within an organization or someone from another organization that might be stuck there. Players with career EqAs of .219 don't grow on trees, you know.
Jim Baker puts Boston's World Series in historical perspective, while making the first-ever comparison of Manny Ramirez to a Marx Brother.
The Red Sox' role as proxy for the world's Yankee haters has now been completed. What will follow next should prove interesting. Once the smoke clears and the 2005 season gets underway, the Red Sox will find they have lost their cuteness factor. The Darlings of the Long Drought will discover that they are now in the sights of the rest of baseball as the Junior Evil Empire--the team with the second-highest payroll in baseball. When they storm into secondary cities with their ever-increasing fan base in the van, the locals are going to have a hard time discerning the difference between them and the Yankees. This will become especially true if they can cook up a mini-dynasty, something they have the financial and intellectual resources to accomplish.