The Boston Red Sox just won the American League pennant, defeating the Detroit Tigers, and will host the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday. I don’t even remember the last time the two best teams in baseball faced each other in the Fall Classic, but I’m sure someone can Google it. It rarely happens due to the inherent randomness of baseball, and not knowing when a team is just going to go stone cold (see: 2008 Cubs).
The games were very fun to watch and follow. In many respects you can give plenty of credit to Theo Epstein for setting up the core that this year’s Red Sox relied on, and an equal or greater amount of credit to Ben Cherington for building on the core to produce yet another pennant-winning team. It was Cherington that brought in the right free agents, including ALCS MVP Koji Uehara. The Cardinals are the Cardinals, they of the #SatanChip and masters of scouting and development. The Cardinals turned the departed Albert Pujols into NLCS MVP Michael Wacha.
If nothing else, I think the Cubs will be in much better shape whenever Theo is run out of town than they were when Jim Hendry was fired. The core of Boston’s team was still intact when Theo left, and it only took a season to build around that core to produce yet another winner. The farm is still in good shape and the talent keeps bubbling up (see: Xander Bogaerts et al.)
In the Cubs, you can see the farm starting to take shape, and hopefully there is some impact in there. Baseball is a weird sport in that you never know who’s going to stick and who’s going to bust, as prospects will break your heart. But there’s plenty to be excited about on the North Side going forward. For now, we sit through three days of no baseball and anticipate a great series come Wednesday between two splendidly constructed franchises…a franchise that Theo had a hand in building, and a franchise that the Cubs can only hope to become.