HOUSTON — The Houston Astros and Washington Nationals are engaged in the 115th World Series and a lot of folks in Boston have tuned out because the games are too late, the pace is too slow and . . . in case you hadn’t noticed . . . the Red Sox are not here.
But the Sox are always here, don’t you know? Everything in life traces back to New England and the Red Sox. So here’s a clip-and-save, handy-dandy guide to how New England and the Red Sox are represented in a Astros-Nationals World Series:
■ If the Nationals win the World Series it might help the Red Sox in their PR campaign if they have to trade Mookie Betts. Bryce Harper was The Franchise for Washington, but the Nats couldn’t re-sign him and then went out and won the National League pennant anyway. A championship for the Nats makes it easier for the Sox to justify trading their best player. They can point to Washington and say, “Look what happened after the Nationals lost Harper.” Meanwhile, if you are thinking about a logical place to trade Betts, consider the White Sox.
■ The Red Sox have David Price in the middle of a seven-year contract that pays him $31 million per season. Chris Sale next year starts a five-year, $145 million deal that puts him on the threshold of Price. This series has Stephen Strasburg (seven years, $175 million), Max Scherzer (seven years, $210 million), Zack Greinke (six years, $206.5 million), and Justin Verlander (two years, $66 million). It also has Houston righty Gerrit Cole, who is a free agent and will be making more than any of them by the time spring training rolls around.
■ I’m thinking Scott Boras may steer J.D. Martinez toward the Yankees.
■ Veteran Josh Reddick is the Astros’ everyday right fielder. He’s had an 11-year career and has played in 58 postseason games. Reddick was drafted by the Theo Epstein Red Sox in 2006, along with another outfielder named Ryan Kalish. The two came up through the Sox system together and many Sox personnel, including Terry Francona, preferred Kalish. Plagued by injuries, Kalish played only 153 games over parts of four seasons before he hung ’em up in 2016. Reddick was traded to the A’s in December 2011 and never looked back. He’s on a long list of Red Sox folks who were fired, traded, released, retired or quit after the chicken-and-beer 2011 season. The list includes Epstein, Francona, Tim Wakefield, Jason Varitek, J.D. Drew, Jonathan Papelbon, Jed Lowrie, Marco Scutaro, Hideki Okajima, and Heidi Watney. Miss Heidi is at the World Series, working for MLB Network.
■ Former Red Sox employee Ken Nigro, now retired in Florida, was first to invoke “the fallacy of the predestined hit.’’ Nigro came up with the phrase during his lengthy career as a baseball writer for the Baltimore Sun. It’s baseball’s version of the Butterfly Effect: One cannot predict precisely what would happen if the prior event was somehow changed. A great example of this came in the eighth inning of Game 1 when George Springer failed to run hard out of the box on a long double to right. Springer thought he had hit a homer. He ended up on second instead of third with one out.. When Jose Altuve followed with a fly out to right, it was widely speculated that Springer would have scored on the fly ball if he’d been on third. No. Washington pitcher Daniel Hudson might have worked Altuve differently with a runner on third. Everything changes. This is the fallacy of the predestined hit. We saw it again in Game 2 when Michael Brantley singled to center after Altuve was caught stealing at third. Folks wrote that Brantley’s hit would have scored Altuve from second. Don’t fall for it.
■ Pedro Martinez (MLB Network) and David Ortiz (Fox) are both here as television commentators. After watching 20-year-old Dominican slugger Juan Soto dominate Game 1, Pedro said the kid is the best young hitter he has seen, “better than Andruw Jones or a young Vlady [Vladimir Guerrero].’’
■ J.J. Watt, who is 0-7 lifetime against the Patriots, was part of the festivities at Minute Maid Park before Game 1.
■ Springer went to UConn with Sox pitcher Matt Barnes.
■ Mike Lowell is here with the MLB Network and said he is not a candidate for the Red Sox GM vacancy. The Red Sox 2007 World Series MVP also expressed surprise that the Red Sox fired assistant hitting coach Andy Barkett. “Looked like they hit pretty well to me,’’ said Lowell, a longtime friend of Barkett.
■ Winning the first two games of the World Series on the road does not guarantee a championship. The 1986 Red Sox won the first two games against the Mets at Shea Stadium, came home, lost two of three and then . . . well, you know.
■ One year ago Wednesday the Red Sox beat Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers, 8-4, at Fenway in Game 1 of the World Series. Yaz threw out the first pitch. Fans chanted “Beat LA!’’, Eduardo Nunez hit a three-run homer, and the game was played in a tidy 3:52. One year ago Thursday it was Price shutting down the Dodgers in a 4-2 win at the Fens. The Red Sox won the World Series in Los Angeles four days later.
They are still the “World Champion Boston Red Sox.’’
For just a few more days.