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Better To Be Lucky?

About a week and a half late with this, but bear with me. A pretty fascinating tidbit came from Bill Simmons' podcast with Dave Roberts from April 30th. Talking about his famous stolen base in the 9th inning of Game 4 of the 2004 ALCS, Roberts said this:

I get out there, and Lynn Jones says 'Okay we're gonna bunt here.' There's a bunt sign from Dale Sveum, the third base coach at the time, and I'm like, 'No no no, there's no bunting, I'm gonna steal this base.' And that's exactly what happened. So he's signaling to Dale Sveum to look into the dugout and they take the bunt sign off, Billy Mueller's hitting ...

What's particularly striking - beyond the obvious, that Roberts is kind of awesome for making that call on his own - is how fortunate Terry Francona and the Red Sox were. We don't know how things would've turned out had they decided to make Bill Mueller bunt, but that's a bad play. When you're down to three outs in your season, you don't want to be giving them away against the best closer in baseball, especially when the guy up has had some success against him. So basically, the odds are pretty good that Roberts bailed out Francona in a big way.

And while there's no question that the Red Sox have made many brilliant moves in scouting, the draft, free agency, marketing, etc, you also have to marvel at how extremely lucky they've been recently. Like, crazy lucky. For instance, aside from Dave Roberts almost single-handedly changing the course of history ...

... The Red Sox lusted for Jose Contreras but lost out to the Yankees during the bidding war, prompting Larry Lucchino to call the Yanks the Evil Empire. Contreras was traded away in his second season for - wait for it - Esteban Loiaza. He has a 4.68 ERA in 7 seasons...

... Manny Ramirez was placed on irrevocable waivers before the 2004 season, meaning they were giving him away for free, and all 29 teams had the opportunity to claim him. They all passed. Manny was World Series MVP that year...

... A-Rod to the Red Sox was in the bag, until the player's union stepped in and said no way that he could set the precedent of just giving up money on his contract ($28 million) to make the deal work. A couple months later, the Yankees traded for A-Rod. Eight months after that, he was slapping the glove of Bronson Arroyo. There's been some other shenanigans that we won't get into here.

... As part of the Hanley Ramirez-for-Josh Beckett trade, the Red Sox took the thought-to-be-decrepit Mike Lowell and his monster contract off the Marlins' hands. Lowell revitalized his career and was the 2007 World Series MVP...

Again, before Sox fans overreact, it should be repeated: Boston has made plenty of tremendous personnel decisions, and more franchises should model themselves after the Sox. Maybe they're finally the recipients of good karma after so many years of bad things happening. But enjoy the good luck while it lasts.