|ESPN.com: Wojciechowski||[Print without images]|
|Red Sox Nation loves its team, but doesn't seem to have the same love affair it had with the '04 Series-winning club.|
Is Beckett ever going to lose a playoff game? He's now 4-0 in this postseason and has another start left -- if the Series goes to a Game 5. His fastball left more contrails than the fighter jets that buzzed Fenway Park before the first pitch. Beckett struck out the first four batters he faced, nine in all. Gee, that must have been fun for the Rockies: eight days off, and when they report back to work, Beckett is waiting. Good luck with that. "I held them off just long enough," said the straight-faced Beckett, who lost to Francis and this same Rockies team in June. Payback. "He's as advertised,'' said Rockies manager Clint Hurdle of Beckett. "We've seen it before. We saw more of it tonight.'' The Rockies, winners of 21 of their previous 22 games, saw everything in Game 1, none of it in their favor. They were nervous. And they were rusty enough (eight days between games) to require a long spray of WD-40. Most of all, they were crummy. So dominant were the Red Sox, that about the only employee on the payroll who didn't have a hit Wednesday evening was Wally the mascot, who, by the way, arrived at the Fens in an oversized limo. Speier probably would have walked him anyway. Pedroia had that leadoff home run. Youkilis had two hits and scored three times. David Ortiz had three hits and two RBIs. Manny Ramirez had three hits, three runs and two RBIs. Jason Varitek had two hits. So did J.D. Drew. Julio Lugo had three. The Red Sox tied a World Series record with eight doubles. And those 13 total runs and the 12-run margin were the most in Game 1 history. "They grind pitchers up,'' said Beckett. There aren't many guarantees in playoff baseball, but winning the first game of the Series comes close. Nine of the last 10 world champions won Game 1. So it matters, even more than home-field advantage has mattered in recent years. But the Rockies will cling to another piece of baseball history: The two previous teams that won this big in the opener -- the 1959 Chicago White Sox and the 1996 Atlanta Braves -- didn't win the World Series. It isn't much, but it's something. Still, these Red Sox deserve your full and undivided attention. Nothing against the '04s, but enough already with the constant reminders of what happened back in the day. They've had almost three years of backslaps and free brews -- all deserved -- but now it's time for guys such as Beckett, Pedroia, Drew, Youkilis, and Lugo, to name a few, to get their own moment. They've earned it. Shortly before the game began, the Fenway scoreboard featured a long video highlight of that 2004 team's playoff run, all to the sound of The Beatles' "A Day In The Life.'' But here's the thing: They had their day. The 86 years of misery were exorcised. How do we fast-forward the machine? Wednesday night's win should help. Three more wins after it will help more. Gene Wojciechowski is the senior national columnist for ESPN.com. You can contact him at email@example.com. He co-authored Jerome Bettis' autobiography, "The Bus: My Life In and Out of a Helmet," which is available now.