As I sit here waiting for the leaves in my yard to start tumbling to the ground, there is much to ponder in sports these days.

The Red Sox took Game 1 of the American League Division Series against Tampa Bay, pounding the Rays 12-2. That we all know.

What you might not remember is that when Jon Lester threw the first pitch in Friday's game, it came approximately 365 days after the Red Sox ended the Bobby Valentine era. The Red Sox under Valentine went 69-93, and were out of contention practically from the first pitch of 2012.

But as I looked back on Valentine's one-year tenure, I found this quote in an ESPNBoston.com story about his firing.

"I'm sure next year will be a turnaround year," Valentine said in the story.

While I'm more than certain Valentine said that just to offer up a platitude to the media and the Red Sox fans, it turns out the former manager was exactly right.

To call what happened in 2013 a turnaround is understating things just a little bit. I'm not sure anyone, or at least anyone who will be honest with you, would have thought the Red Sox would win the American League East -- and do it with the best record in the sport.

I thought Boston would win the division, but I believed that the Sox, Yankees, Orioles, Rays and Blue Jays would all take turns beating each other up and the division crown would be a team with 85-90 wins. That didn't happen because the Blue Jays spit the bit early, the Orioles didn't win the close games like they did in 2012, and the Yankees spent the vast majority of the team payroll on injured guys.

Can the Red Sox get past the Rays? Time will tell.

One thing is certain; it has been a heck of a ride so far.

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You might have missed this, but Red Sox radio broadcaster Joe Castiglione is one of 10 finalists for the 2014 Ford C. Frick Award, given by the Baseball Hall of Fame to an active or retired broadcaster. It's Castiglione's first time as a finalist.

There are few nicer men in baseball than Joe Castiglione. He and Dave O'Brien are why radio and baseball go together so well. Good luck to Joe.

If there is any justice, however, the 2014 winner of the Frick Award should be Jacques Doucet.

Doucet would be the first French-language broadcaster so honored at Cooperstown.

"I hope that one day, if not me, at least one French broadcaster gets into Cooperstown," Doucet said at Wahconah Park back in 2010, when he was broadcasting Quebec Les Capitales games in the independent Can-Am League.

Doucet is back in the big leagues, as the French language broadcaster of Toronto Blue Jays games. But he joined the Montreal Expos back in 1972, and as Vin Scully is to English language baseball, Jacques Doucet is to French language baseball.

Doucet's name has been on the list long enough. It's time for those who make the final selection to do right and put Jacques Doucet into the Hall of Fame.

To reach Howard Herman:
hherman@berkshireeagle.com,
or (413) 496-6253.
On Twitter: @howardherman.