Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Next Stop Boston - But Not What You Think

Early last night, with a full moon beaming out there, it looked like the stars were lining up nicely. I'm going to be in Boston next week for Avaya's global analyst conference, which is the news item in this post.

I last attended their global analyst event in 2006, but a lot has changed since then. Am not sure why I didn't go last year, but I did attend their Canadian Analyst Day last December here in Toronto.

I'm really looking forward to attending, with two reasons standing out in particular. First, they're a private company now, so these events become more important for staying informed and getting insights as to how they're doing as well as their strategic roadmap.

Second is seeing Charlie Giancarlo at the helm - which a year ago would seem about as improbable as seeing Carl Ford moderating at the IT Expo last month. That sure will be interesting - so will the flip side of things, when I attend Cisco C-Scape in December. Oh, and speaking of improbabilities...

Back to the stars lining up. Going into last night's game, there was reason to believe for the Red Sox. Wakefield would stymie the Rays, the bats would come alive, and they'd put the 9-1 embarrassment behind them. Clean slate - series tied 2-2, good momentum going into Game 5, and a chance to regain control over those "pesky Rays". Quick aside - I promise never to use that term any more. Johnny Pesky's number was just retired, but more troubling is the fact that it simply isnt' true any more. Ugh.

Well, that train of thought got derailed about 10 minutes into the game, and the beating was even worse than Game 3. Boy, do the Rays ever look good - just pick any "team of destiny" moniker from any major sport, and they fit the bill. Pretty hard to see them not going all the way. I love what the Phillies are doing, but how can they possibly match the Rays? They have dominated the Red Sox in every facet of the game, and they sure have youth on their side. In contrast, the Sox sure look tired and broken down. And awfully white. In this day and age, they really look like a throwback to the fifties, when there was hardly any racial diversity in the game. They sure could use a Carl Crawford or B.J. Upton. These guys are g-o-o-d.

I digress. Sure, they could eke out a 2-1 pitcher's duel with Dice-K tomorrow, and go to the Trop with a faint ray of hope. Sure, pull out another miracle like last year with Cleveland or the Yankees in 2004. Not gonna happen - even if Lester and Beckett pitch well. Last year they were clearly the best team in baseball from Day 1. They had home advantage and could win on the road. Gee, that sure sounds like the 2008 Rays to me.

This time the opposite is true. No way they can win 2 big ones on the road against the best team in baseball. Last year they had Manny and Lowell leading the offence. I don't care how good Bay is - he's not Manny. Unless Ortiz, Ellsbury, Drew, Kotsay and Lowrie wake up and take the weight off Youklis and Pedroia, it's over in 5, and Dice-K's luck will run out big time. Of course, you can still believe in miracles, but I think we're seeing a changing of the guard here.

So, had the stars lined up as I was hoping, the Avaya conference would have coincided with the beginning of the World Series. And should the Sox advance, they would open at home thanks to another AL All Star win this summer. Last year I was in Boston when they won the World Series, which was just great. This time around, it sure looks like I'm just going to be attending a conference, and casually watching the Patriots struggle to generate some offence against Denver Monday night. Oh, what could have been...

And just to tie this post up nicely, there are some notable parallels to Avaya and the Red Sox. Though not by design, Avaya's corporate color is a bold red, just like the Sox. They're also a long time team sponsor, and believe it or not, Avaya provides the telephony infrastructure to the Red Sox organization. Bet you didn't think there was a VoIP angle to this story, huh? How's that for convergence? There, I've covered all the bases now, and it's time to get my mind off of baseball...

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