SAN FRANCISCO — Five years ago, the Patriots were on their way to an 18-0 record, the Ubuntu Celtics were in the early days of a championship season, Boston College’s football team was ranked second in the nation, John Farrell was Terry Francona’s first-year pitching coach . . . and the Red Sox were in the World Series against the Colorado Rockies.So boozing's okay when Papelbon used to do it? Got it!
Those were the days when you cared about the World Series. You couldn’t wait for Jonathan Papelbon to pull a 12-pack box over his head and do another Riverdance on the Fenway lawn.
Baseball mattered. The World Series mattered.You might think a columnist with Shank's three decades plus experience could focus almost exclusively on the subject at hand. Unfortunately, Shank feels the need to interject many parochial items in his column that you would think primarily involve the two teams, or the World Series in general. But you would be wrong:
■ The Kung Fu Panda. What is not to love about the Giants’ third baseman? Pablo Sandoval is baseball’s biggest loser and baseball’s biggest winner simultaneously. He must have the worst body of any athlete competing for a championship this year. He also has got the best nickname since Dennis “Oil Can” Boyd. Sandoval is Everyman, batting in the middle of the lineup for a team in the World Series.No shots at the Red Sox or John Henry - is this Shank's new found restraint?
■ Al Alburquerque. The Detroit reliever hacked off everybody in Oakland when he fielded the final out of a Division Series game and kissed the baseball before throwing it to first base.
■ Giants second baseman Marco Scutaro. Can’t you just hear Bob Lobel voicing over his highlights, saying, “Why can’t we get players like that?’’ Scutaro holds a special place in Red Sox lore. His baserunning blunder in Baltimore contributed to the final loss on the final night of the 2011 season. He flung his glove into the dugout when he came off the field as the Orioles celebrated at home plate. He was dumped during the offseason in a front office effort to avoid the luxury tax. He was also one of the Red Sox’ best players during the 7-20 collapse of 2011. Scutaro hit .387 (36 for 93) in his final month with the Red Sox. And now he is the MVP of the National League Championship Series (14 hits).
■ Tigers manager Jim Leyland wears spikes and smokes in his office. His wife is from Greater Boston and he has been known to complain about the cost of college tuition.
■ If you’ve tailgated on Commander Shea Field before a BC football game, you’ve stood in the spot where Buster Posey called pitches for Florida State against the Eagles in a three-game ACC baseball series in 2008.