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Thursday, October 28, 2004
But, it obviously has because the Boston Red Sox won the World Series. I'm going to have to repeat that a few more times before it fully sinks in.
Growing up in Connecticut, I learned to root for the Sox early. And, it wasn't long before I learned they were going to be a cruel temptress throughout my life. I can still remember watching the 1986 series against the Mets, celebrating (what I thought were) the final outs with my brother, and standing there mesmorized when you-know-who did you-know-what. And, since then, there were other opportunities squandered, leads lost, and the heart-breaking end to last season. That's why even though the Sox beat the Yankees to get into the World Series, I was expected the disappointment to end all disappointments...
All of that served as background to my life. After moving away from the northeast to Seattle, the Red Sox had a diminished meaning to me. I could no longer watch every game they played. They traded away players I knew and pulled together teams that were completely foreign to me. But, still I kept tabs on them with the hope that someday...
So, I watched the playoffs. And, they beat the Angels. So what? The Yankees were still in their way. They lose the first two games in New York. My confidence is shaken, but hey they're going home, right? Then in game 3, they get blasted at home. I thought, "That's it; they're done; is there any way they can even win a single game after something like that." And, for most of game 4, I thought I would be right. They fell behind the Yankees and faced Mariano Rivera with their last out. And I thought, "He doesn't blow saves (the Red Sox do). The Sox don't score runs in their final out, especially off Rivera." But, they did. Well, that's one game, but no one in baseball has ever come back from a 3-0 lead, so the Yankees would just finish them off in New York, but it never happened. They rewrote history and came back to win the series.
I remember watching game 7 just waiting for that moment. The one where the wheels come off and the Sox lose their will. It never came. I sat in my living room in shock that they'd actually beaten the Yankees. But, there was an instant pang of anxiety that they were just getting our hopes up, higher than ever before, to come crashing down to a new depth.
So, I was cautious. The first game was a free-for-all, with the Sox finally winning in the end. The same type of game they had the entire Yankees series. I remember thinking that it was going to be a very long series if every game turned out like this. I didn't know if I would have any nails left to bite on.
But then, game 2 was a great pitching performance by Schilling (with his blood-soaked red sock). Now, they were going to St. Louis, where the Cardinals could mount their comeback at home. Pedro pitched a wonderful game 3, and the Cardinals weren't even close to making it a game. They had very few base runners and even fewer scoring chances. The two pitching aces just shut everything down.
And, so we come to last night... Could the Sox really sweep them? Did they have the killer instinct to put away a team when it was wounded and limping? Or, would they let them catch their breath and make things "interesting"? Part of me still cringed at the possibility (and with the Sox there was always that possibility).
But, they did it. They won!!! Convincingly, decisively, un-interestingly, shutout, sweep...
In hind-sight, I guess I shouldn't have doubted the Sox, because they had a lot going for themselves: beating the Yankees, being the first MLB team to ever come back from a 3-0 deficit, winning a record 8 straight playoff games, a full lunar eclipse... It looks like the universe lined up behind the Red Sox, and finally made it possible.
And, here's hoping it doesn't take another 86 years for the next one...
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