(AFP) – Oct 29, 2007
DENVER, United States (AFP) — Here come the new New York Yankees, same as the old New York Yankees - only they are wearing the uniforms of the arch-rival Boston Red Sox.
Boston's four-game sweep of Colorado in the 103rd World Series, completed with a 4-3 triumph Sunday in Major League Baseball's best-of-seven final, gave the Red Sox their second crown in four years after an 86-year title drought.
Recent success for the Red Sox has come with a plan and a domination that looks much like the recent 1990s heyday of the Yankees, who have won a record 26 World Series titles, including four in five seasons from 1996 through 2000.
The Red Sox spent 143 million dollars in player salaries this year, second only to the Yankees' 190 million-dollar payroll. No other teams have won Series titles so closely together since a labor dispite wiped out the 1994 Series.
Boston built a dominant team through development and free agents with top pitching to capture their seventh crown.
"The goal all along has been to build an organization that can sustain success," Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein said. "Hopefully with the young core of players in our farm system we can do that."
The Yankees have struggled in recent seasons and are undergoing a meltdown with manager Joe Torre walking away, star slugger Alex Rodriguez becoming a free agent and owner George Steinbrenner letting family members run the team.
Could there be a changing of the guard with the sympathetic Red Sox of the "Curse of the Bambino" morphing into a team people might soon love to hate, a tag the Yankees have worn for decades?
"If someone wants to compare us to the Yankees, based on winning and results, that's a compliment," Epstein said.
"They set an incredible standard throughout the history of the game for winning. If our name comes up in the same sentence, that's fantastic.
"But if they want to compare us in how we do things, I'd say that's a little more off-base.
"We have our own philosophy, our own beliefs, our own process that we believe in. The Yankees have their own way of doing things. We could probably learn a lot from them. Maybe they could learn something from us."
Spending on development instead of free agency so much might be one lesson. The Red Sox nurtured such young talent as leadoff hitters Dustin Pedroia and Jacoby Ellsbury, southpaw Jon Lester and ace closer Jonathan Papelbon.
The Red Sox have developed a confidence and belief that they should be a title contender every year, an aura the Yankees once had. Part of it is the process the Red Sox have used to find success.
"From Theo's standpoint, it has worked before and I think he had the same mindset in '04," said Mike Lowell, the Sox's third baseman and World Series Most Valuable Player.
"Once you have success in what you are doing you believe in what you're doing a little bit more.
"It starts from the top with our owner John Henry providing the players, then it all trickles down to upper management and staff and the players. It's more than just nine guys on the field."
Boston was atop the American League East division almost all season with the Yankees falling behind early then charging at the finish for a wild-card spot before being ousted in the first round by Cleveland, which had a 3-1 series edge on the Red Sox before Boston rallied to take the last three games.
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