BOSTON -- Talk about something old and something new. The Boston Red Sox and the Colorado Rockies have that spectrum covered. The 2007 World Series competitors are a study in contrasts when it comes to everything but success in this postseason. The Red Sox are the epitome of history and tradition, in everything from their city to their ballpark to their franchise. Some of the history may be painful to recall, but between the epic Championship Series comebacks of 2004 and 2007, that stuff should be so far on the back burner that it is in danger of falling off the stove. The Rockies, on the other hand, are new to this level and compared to the Red Sox, new, period. They are 14 years old. The Red Sox, charter members of the American League as the Boston Americans, are 106 years old. The Red Sox, plus or minus, have more lore than any baseball team this side of the Yankees, and basically all baseball teams are this side of the Yankees. The Rockies are creating their own history on the fly.
Even more recently, there are striking differences. At the beginning of this season, many people mentioned the Red Sox as legitimate World Series contenders. At the beginning of this season, many people mentioned the Rockies as legitimate members of the National League West. The two clubs have been built in dramatically different ways, the kind of differences that are underscored by a huge disparity in player payroll. The Red Sox have some homegrown talent, but they have been dependent on free-agent signings of the most publicized and expensive sort. The Rockies have gone through a number of incarnations for a young franchise -- the Blake St. Bombers, speed and defense, very expensive pitchers. But the current Rockies have been built through the less expensive and more traditional manner of astute scouting and diligent player development. The Rockies have drafted well and they have augmented the Drafts with signings of talented young Latin American players. The Red Sox are household names from two hemispheres: Big Papi, Manny being Manny, Curt Schilling being Curt Schilling and a man who led the world in hype before he threw his first Major League pitch, Daisuke Matsuzaka. The Rockies ought to be household names. Todd Helton's career has that status, but this is his first World Series. The Rockies will automatically receive more exposure now and they will get even more later, if justice is served and Matt Holliday wins the NL MVP and Troy Tulowitzki wins the NL Rookie of the Year. The two clubs took dramatically different regular-season paths in 2007. The Red Sox built a huge early lead -- they led the Yankees by 14 1/2 games at one point -- saw most of that lead vanish, but then held on, breaking the Yankees' nine-year stranglehold on the AL East championship. The Rockies were nowhere early and then went on a late-season tear that was unprecedented in the annals of late-season tears. They eventually won 21 of 22 games, including the postseason, but they had to go a Game 163, a one-game playoff to edge the San Diego Padres for the NL Wild Card berth.
Mike Bauman is a national columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.