Idle chatter while waiting for the American League playoffs to begin ?Is it just me, or is this world truly bizarre when the Red Sox can play the Yankees at the end of September and both teams can trot out lineups that have you turning to the Baseball Almanac for information?Who ARE these guys?Apparently, winning the AL East isn’t as important as it used to be. Otherwise, why would the Red Sox yank Daisuke Matsuzaka from his scheduled start and pitch a rookie with hardly any experience?It kind of makes me a little angry that the Sox just about conceded the division last night ? while the Rays were losing to the Detroit Tigers. It could have been a real interesting weekend around here. Now, it’s academic.I could write volumes about Troy Brown and it wouldn’t be enough. Suffice it to say that he’s one of the most important players in Patriots history, right up there with Tom Brady and Ty Law.Brown may not have had all the natural talent in the world, but the Patriots don’t win three Super Bowls without him.He played a huge role in the 2001 title. And to me, he made one of the single most important receptions in team history – an overtime 82-yard touchdown pass in Miami that happened the Sunday after Aaron Boone broke our hearts in 2003.That catch kick-started the Patriots’ season. They never lost again until midway through the 2004 season, and won back-to-back Super Bowls.He was the consummate pro, and he’s a perfect example of why all these scouts, with their stopwatches, and tape measures, and data, have it all wrong. Give me a guy who can make plays the way Troy Brown made plays and I’ll give you a football player.Farewell, Troy. You were the best.This could be a pivotal season for the Boston Bruins (remember them?). They finished the 2007-2008 season in much better shape than they started. When they began, they were so far off the radar they might as well have been on Mars.When it ended, they’d taken the Montreal Canadiens to seven games, and Claude Julien was even getting mentions as coach of the year.Now? There’s some pressure (there wasn’t any last season). They’ve got Patrice Bergeron back, and there are some real expectations coming out of Causeway Street.If they keep moving forward, they can win some of this town back. If they go backwards, look out. Jupiter may be their next destination.What is it with Southern California? Ever since that Texas game three years ago, the Trojans have become a team of “almost, but not quite.” They go into every season touted as No. 1, or close to it, and they always manage to stumble like they did Thursday night.Then, they have to climb all the way back up (sometimes, they don’t get there), and then, on New Year’s, they dominate whomever they play in the Rose Bowl.And it’s always good enough to be ranked third.I’ve had to eat some crow this week because the Red Sox are in the playoffs (I boldly predicted in late July that the Sox wouldn’t make it to the postseason). One of my friends saved that column, and emailed it back to me with a couple of hearty guffaws.Well, I’m putting myself out on a limb again. I don’t think the Sox are going to repeat. Now that they’re headed to Anaheim, it says here that the Angels are the best team of 2008, and that they’re just too deep.But if the Sox have to lose, wouldn’t it be a nice thing if the Cubs could finally break through (sorry, Gordon)?That could be acceptable consolation.Steve Krause is sports editor of The Item.