Wednesday, October 06, 2010

From the Archives

I love the baseball postseason. Always have, even when the Red Sox aren't involved. (No, not aggravated by that at all, why do you ask?) And so, in honor of the beginning of another month of late nights, chilly tension, and Tim McCarver's mangling of the language, we present the following, reprinted with permission from the late, lamented Misery Loves Company.


American League Championship Series - Game 7


Red Sox 10, Yankees 3
Red Sox win, 4-3

Boston Red Sox, 2004 American League Champions

A friend of mine from Seattle e-mailed me at about 12:30 last night to congratulate me. My response to him (sent on my Blackberry in the midst of watching the Sox celebrate) was that this was the 4th-happiest day of my life after my wedding day and the days my 2 daughters were born. And that I was willing and hoping to knock it down one notch in a week or so.

As Ruben Sierra's groundball settled first into Pokey Reese's glove and from there into Doug Mientkiewicz', every memory of Red Sox tragedy, every wasted opportunity, every held relay throw or mental error, or managerial blunder, every ghost, and every disappointment washed away. I fell to the floor of my living room and pounded the carpet with both fists, crying, laughing, repeating, "They did it. They did it. They did it."

In the buildup to Game 7, I knew that a Sox win would produce euphoria in the moments after the game, and it did. I soaked up all the post-game celebrations, reveling in the catharsis wrought by this self-proclaimed band of idiots. What I didn't expect, and have welcomed, was the flashback euphoria. I was driving to work this morning, and - from nowhere - my eyes watered and I tore off an involuntary fist pump. It was an adrenaline aftershock of sorts. It's happened 3 or 4 times since.

Forgive me if this post is a jumble of unconnected thoughts - I simply have not completely processed the entirety of this thing. The Red Sox were 1 single inning away from losing this series, 4-0, and the Yankees had Mariano Rivera on the mound with nobody on base. Consider for a moment the "nevers" that the Sox overcame in this series alone: New York had never lost consecutive extra-inning postseason games; Rivera had never blown consecutive postseason saves; a team trailing 3-0 in a best-of-7 series had never extended the series to 7 games, let alone won it; the Yankees had never lost Game 7 of an ALCS; the Sox had never beaten the Yankees in an elimination game. Add to that the well-documented and quasi-tragic history of the Boston Red Sox. Mix in Curt Schilling's injury and Pedro Martinez' not-quite-dominance, and a 19-8 Yankee thrashing in Game 3. Stir in for good measure the fact that Johnny Damon started the series 3-for-29 and that Manny Ramirez finished the series with 0 RBI. I mean, c'mon, you couldn't make this up. They won. They did it.

From this day forward, the Sox will be known as the team that pulled off the greatest comeback in the history of sports, and the Yankees will be known as the team that committed the greatest chokejob in the history of sports. And even though that's wildly unfair to the Yankees - they didn't choke, the Sox scratched and clawed and fought and won - I won't correct anyone who says they did. They are well and truly vanquished. You can't possibly imagine how good it feels to type that and to know that.

So here's to the 2004 American League Champion Boston Red Sox. And in my best text version of the 'One Shining Moment' signoff, here are a few of the things I'll always remember about this series:
  • Curt Schilling pitching Game 6 on one leg, with blood pouring through his sock, and shutting the Yankees down for 7 innings
  • Dave Roberts stealing 2nd base in Game 4, and scoring on Bill Mueller's single to tie the game. The baseball version of a cardiac crash cart.
  • Doug Mientkiewicz' otherworldly scoop on Mueller's short-armed throw to start the 8th inning last night. Even up 9-3, a leadoff error would have probably sent me into arrest.
  • David Ortiz. David Ortiz. David Ortiz.
  • The bad Johnny Damon morphing into the good Johnny Damon in the span of 3 at-bats in Game 7 - and Ortiz claiming post-game that it was because he told Damon's fiancee to sleep in a separate room.
  • Derek Lowe, in a post-game interview, pointing to the Yankee Stadium pitcher's mound and noting that Tim Wakefield was standing there alone, soaking up the good feelings and erasing the memories last year's gut-punch. I simply lost it at that point.
  • Keith Foulke getting 15 outs in three games in about 48 hours, giving his team everything left in his arm.
  • Manny Ramirez smiling through it all.
  • Terry Francona making the right move time after time after time - and I'll give him a pass on bringing Pedro in last night.
  • Alex Rodriguez' bush-league karate chop on Bronson Arroyo in Game 6. Karma's a bitch, ain't it.
  • Derek Jeter being the only Yankee with any heart in Game 7. Say what you want about that guy - and I've said it all - he is one hell of a competitor. And his teammates went out like so many whimpering puppies, tails between their legs from the first inning on.
  • Wearing a bald spot in my living room carpet from pacing back and forth in the final innings of Game 6.
  • My favorite aunt (a Boston resident) emailing me after each of the final 3 games - at first worried, then cautiously optimistic, then ecstatic. My last email to her: "Believe, Jan. Believe"
  • Mark Bellhorn, not once but twice, hitting homeruns immediately after I told my wife that he'd been worthless in the postseason.

The Sox beat the Yankees. Damn.

But here's the thing: the Sox aren't done yet. They will face a worthy adversary in the World Series, and they will overlook Houston or St. Louis at their peril. Which is to say, they won't overlook them. I'll always have Game 7, but it'll mean something less if the Sox don't close the deal next week.

89 comments:

Marls said...

Also know as the day that misery no longer had company.

Igor said...

Hell yes, Marls. I will be borrowing some excerpts from my MLC posts next, and it won't be quite so exuberant.

In other news, the Mets did just enough this season (really, the Sox didn't do enough) so that Rob owes me a case of beer.

Geoff said...

I watched the 30 for 30 on the '04 ALCS last night. It was good...but should have been better given the subject matter they had to work with. HBO would have done a better job. Sorry Sports Fella.

Igor said...

I agree -- the director seemed kinda wormy and cheesy, and the documentary took after him a slight bit. Although if I were a Red Sox fan, Ed Wood or Paul Verhoeven could have directed the damn thing, and I still would be buying the DVD.

zman said...

Your point about Jeter is well made. In Game 7 he used "The What" for his at-bat music, which I think was an attempt to recapture some of the magic from 1996. It obviously didn't work. I appreciated his palpable pissed-offedness at his gutless 3B and the situation in general.

zman said...

Ed Wood really was a Red Sox fan. He started the pink hat craze.

zman said...

And Randy Moss is now a Viking again. Bostonians are lining up to throw themselves off the Tobin Bridge.

Squeaky said...

Best retirement gig, ever?

http://tbz.me/yN3rm

“My wife lets me do whatever I want now that I’m retired,” he says. “She’s just concerned about my health and tells me not to work too hard.”

rob said...

concur on the review of the 30 for 30, but the subject matter is so enjoyable that i can't really complain. except about the stuff with bill simmons and lenny clarke - they brought nothing to the table.

TR said...

I have not (and will not) watch the 30 for 30 on the Sawx. But I find it funny that I can tell how good a documentary will be based on the hype (or lack thereof) provided by the Sports Guy.

Any regular podcast listener of his knows that he talked up the good ones (OJ, Two Pablos, Terry Fox, Jimmy the Greek, to name a few) and almost ignored some others (Big Air, Steinbrenner). He also spoke numerous times in podcasts last week how he and Clarke were brought in because the documentary needed narrative flow. He was almost apologizing in advance because he sensed it wouldn't be good.

TR said...

In a theoretical sense, the Moss trade ended up working well for the Pats. They gave up a 4th round pick for him a couple years and got a 3rd round pick back for him today. I bet Belichick realized the d-bag potential from Moss was huge.

Favre badly wanted Moss on the Packers before he went to the Raiders. Interesting that he gets his way with the Vikes now.

Interesting that his next game will be in the Meadowlands (again) against Revis (again). ABC's Monday Night Football ad sales team's collective boner just got a little bit stiffer. Successful New York team + Favre + Moss = ratings.

zman said...

Collective boner? Not cool.

Igor said...

After I witnessed ESPN and other major networks torture Rob and his ilk for 18 years, inexplicably showing either full re-airings or ubiquitous highlights of Game 6, Buckner's 5-hole, Mookie Wilson, and Ray Knight ad nauseum, I won't complain about this documentary, Fever Pitch: The Movie, the innumerable commemorative items, or the countless worthless books on the 2004 conclusion. Or Rob's resurrection of this MLC post.

It used to be uncanny how we'd be minding our own business, hamrlessly watching some TV, and then BAM! out of nowhere there's "little roller up along first, behind the bag, it gets through Buckner!" And my little buddy's deadpan grimace, head shake, and glance my way as I chuckled every time is something that neither 2004 nor 2007 will erase in my mind.

TR said...

Marls and I will be grabbing a late (hopefully liquid) lunch in midtown today to catch some red hot Knicks-Wolves action from Paris. And we may peek at baseball too.

If anybody wants a live blog of the basketball game, let us know now.

rob said...

can't be any worse than a 6 year-old baseball recap

T.J. said...

Fuck the Red Sox.

Mark said...

No TJ. Fuck you.

T.J. said...

Hi Mark!

I'll take a live playoff baseball post from the TR/Marls team...

zman said...

If TR and Marls formed a band they would be called Marls Fartley.

Speaking of house bands, what happened to Greasetruck? Why are there no new Greasetruck songs? I read the lyrics to "Lion in a Coma" and realized that Animal Collective is nothing more than a well-produced Greasetruck derivative. With musicianship.

Geoff said...

Fun fact: Number of players on the Redskins 53 man roster that were originally drafted by the Redskins: Nine.

Geoff said...

For comparison, the Redskins opponent this week, the Packers, have no less than 40 players on their roster that they originally drafted.

T.J. said...

Rocco Baldelli and Jeff Francoeur are the starting DHs in this Rays/Rangers game.

That's very odd.

T.J. said...

The hate for Francoeur by Mets fans on Twitter always entertains me.

Marls said...

Love the guy crushing bud tallboys behind the rays dugout.

d-train said...

interesting 'skins/draft stat...it made me curious. jags have about 25 that they drafted. i expected much less.
thanks for inspiring me. tally-ho.
and i love the yankees this time of year.

Marls said...

TR and Paula are discussing celebrity plastic surgery.

zman said...

Paula Abdul?

Geoff said...

Paula Poundstone. They struck up a conversation because they were both wearing the same tie.

d-train said...

or were they both makin' moves on the same kid

TR said...

Marls meant Paula, the chesty Irish bartender who got more attractive with every pint. She had a fake rack that was imposing, like J-Woww from Jersey Shore. Pretty unusual to see that from a dark-haired Irish bartender with a very thick brogue.

David Price served up meatballs all day. Boring game. The highlight of the Knicks-Wolves game was a halftime segment of Walt Frazier visiting a hatter in Paris. I was hoping they would splice in footage from European Vacation where Rusty's beret was thrown off the Eiffel Tower. No luck.

TR said...

Is it too soon to award Tom Hicks the sports douchebag of the century award? If we put the 2000 A-Rod signing into the new millenium and factor in what he did to the Rangers and Liverpool, he's got to be a strong candidate, right?

mayhugh said...

For those interested, check out Sportsnation today. Michelle Beadle is looking absolutely sick.

zman said...

Does anyone have a Favre jersey that I can burn in effigy in the Giants Stadium parking lot on Monday night?

Marls said...

As a bills fan, why do you hate Farve that much?

zman said...

I want to incite mass hysteria in the Meadowlands. What do you think Tony from Bogota will do when he sees people lighting Favre jerseys on fire? Bedlam. And maybe free beers.

Dave said...

you told me that the fourth happiest day of your life was when they were able to remove the hamster from your anus without any invasive surgery.

T.J. said...

TBSs playoff coverage has been piss poor at best so far.

T.J. said...

Shhhh...there's something special going on in Philly...

Jerry said...

Hey everybody, Roy Halladay has a NO HITTER going in Philly through 7. Pretty impressive to be throwing a NO HITTER in a post-season debut. I wonder if a Phillies pitcher has ever thrown a NO HITTER in the playoffs.

T.J. said...

Excellent work Jerry. That was much quiker than even I hoped. Fuck off Philadelphia.

Jerry said...

Even though I have a pretty solid understanding of the randomness of post-season baseball, it's hard to shake the feeling that a Phils-Yanks rematch is almost inevitable.

Jerry said...

Theory: The Red Sox 2004 World Series win will lead to the demise of baseball.

T.J. said...

I blame rob.

T.J. said...

I hope Charleston Chew Sabathia watched wath Cliff Lee and Halladay did today...and plans to match.

T.J. said...

Bill Bray, William and Mary grad I believe. One of at least three I know of in the bigs.

T.J. said...

I'm pretty sure Essman is texting me from Halladay's no-no...

T.J. said...

Wow. I'm really fired up for the top of the 9th...

T.J. said...

Well that was super fucking impressive.

T.J. said...

That has to be the greatest playoff debut ever, right?

rob said...

jerry's theory has some merit.

TR said...

Tuned into TBS at 7:51 after getting the kids to sleep. Not the best timing.

TR said...

But I also likes saving the money.

drexdrago said...

Phuck yeah baby!!!! Phils are phlexing their phierce muscles and crushing all phoes.

Phuck the the Yanks. Phuck the Rangers. Cliph Lee is a phlamer.

T.J. said...

Welcome back degenerate.

Marls said...

Opulence, I has it.

T.J. said...

tiny giraffe

Marls said...

I have to admit, I likes the tiny giraffe.

T.J. said...

Craig Sager just gave us a lesson in native american history...I think. Wearing a lavender suit.

Igor said...

Back to Teej's old comment - why do the NYers hate Francoeur? He was better than expected last year, not very good this year, and got dealt to a contender not in Philly, Atlanta, or the Bronx. Wish him well, doofi.

T.J. said...

I have no idea why they hate him, but they do. A lot.

Marls said...

I don't hate Frenchie. In fact, I really liked having him roam CitiField's cavernous outfield with his gold glove arm. I also loved the attitude that he brought to the clubhouse, especially last year when the team appeared to give up in May. What I did hate was his approach at the plate. He was a poor man's Vlad. Watching him consistantly swing at terrible pitches getting himself into bad hitter's counts was super frustrating.

Geoff said...

Who's in the booth with Ernie Johnson? Sounds like they pulled two CPAs out of a luxury box.

T.J. said...

Ron Darling and John Smoltz?

Geoff said...

I enjoy the John Smoltz...helluva golfer. Ron Darling, I believe, is a pederast.

Marls said...

Some met fans hate him becasue they will always consider him a Brave. Whatever.

Other NY'ers will only listen to the writers and hate any white outfielder who is not from the Paul O'Neil mold, whatever that means.

Frenchie is an OK third outfielder on a team who's fan base has an inferiority complex. If he was on the Yankees he would not be hated. Rather, he would be just another Shane Specer, Chad Curtis, or Ricky Ledee.

Geoff said...

I was just able to lip read the conversation at first between Thome and Texiera...and this seriously is what went down:

Thome: Hey...how are you doing?
Tex: Good, what's up with you?

Pretty fascinating stuff.

When Cuddyer sees a pitch he like...he jump in it.

T.J. said...

Hey Ollie, where's Diane?

SHE DEAD!

Geoff said...

Anyone want to hazard a guess at CC's official listed weight on the Yankees website?

TR said...

Diane! Say hello to my nieces.

T.J. said...

I say CC is listed at 250...but ways 299.

zman said...

I believe he's listed at 270.

T.J. said...

Avocados need their own ad campaign?

Geoff said...

He's listed at an almost passes the laugh test 290lbs.

TR said...

Where does the gallery stand on Thome and PEDs? .283 and 25 HRs ain't too bad.

Geoff said...

HBO west coast is showing Juwana Mann right now. Doesn't really stay true to the book.

Marls said...

Family Guy, Back To School, & Juwana Mann.

Rare comedy trinity.

TR said...

Moribund. Yanks look moribund.

Igor said...

Those unfamiliar with the broadcast stylings of Ron Darling are usually convinced James Woods is lending commentary. With fewer expletives than usual.

TR said...

Jinx works. Yanks on board.

Thames' looks like he can't hit a line drive into the gap.

Igor said...

ARod's queerily balletic leap over that grounder is a nice bookend to the felchy kung fu chop of 2004 from last night.

TR said...

Woods is a Grade-A dirtbag, on par with the Colonel from Boogie Nights. He loves 'em barely legal.

Darling, on the other hand, seems to have a fully adult Aryan wife.

TR said...

And we have a ballgame again.

Jorge no ya esta muerto.

T.J. said...

The Grandy Man Can

zman said...

I saw Jorge at Rosa Mexicano. He signed an autograph for a woman, it was her birthday and she was celebrating with friends. Jorge kindly spent a few minutes talking to the table. He was in our way as we were seated and the zwoman said "Who does that goofy looking guy think he is, blocking the aisle like that."

zman said...

I never thought I would dislike "Black Tambourine" but this Blackberry ad did it.

TR said...

Jorge's a big dude. I wouldn't want to mess with him. He's also got a smoking hot wife. You would say he's outkicked his coverage until you remember he's a 5-time World Series winner in NY with career earnings of $100 million. He's also a fringe HoF candidate with a few more good offensive seasons.

But he's still got those goofy ears.

zman said...

He was wider than I expected, not that tall, and he was with another dude not his hot wife. His ears make his head look like a trophy.

zman said...

Fucking CC is trying to kill me.

Igor said...

Dude in a Randy Moss jersey in the seats behind home plate. Those Minnesotans are up to the minute. City that never sleeps, eat that!