Excellent post by Howard Bryant about how the ALCS feels without the Sox and the Yankees.
What was missing was the insanity of Sox-Yankees. It is the highest level of competition, with frothing intensity, but 71 times over three seasons produced a palpable fatigue. Everybody, except the networks, is sick of it.
Here, the field did not resemble being on the platform at Park Street during rush hour. Conducting interviews was actually manageable. The players seemed more relaxed than in the suffocating air of Red Sox-Yankees. While it was obvious tonight a big game was being played, the aura that the free world was at stake thankfully has gone missing.
The irony of all the relief here is that it was only three years ago that the Twins and Angels played in the ALCS, a far cry from the big-city muscle of Boston-New York. Obviously, Red Sox-Yankees moves in dog years, where two consecutive must have felt like fourteen.