ALCS: Chapter 7….Believe.
I was visiting my buddy Clyde on a cold, almost frigid, night in Bangor, ME, over the winter. We entered a bar – probably our third of the night – and ordered a couple Captain n’ Cokes. As I took the first few sips, I turned and looked at the tv to see what was on. ESPNews was on and they were talking about Alex Rodriguez and how the Yankees were finalizing a trade for him. It felt like finding out they had put urine in my drink – putrid, shocking and ultimately, disappointing. The most expensive team in the sport had stolen arguably the greatest player in the sport from the clutches of the Red Sox. They had won again…
…but not tonight.
For the first time in a long time, we won. We beat the New York Yankees in Game 7 of the ALCS in their stadium in not just a win…a blowout win. I feel like someone dropped off $1 million tax-free on my front step. I don’t know what to do, how to think, how to feel. I’ve never been here before and I hope I never leave.
What feels so good is that for once, it’s the Yankees that have to answer the questions. They had us down 3-0 and on the ropes in not just one, but two games. But the Sox came back and got to within 3-2 in two of the most incredible marathon games you’ll ever see. Then Jesus Schilling provided us with one of those Boston Sports Legends moments in throwing a Game 6 that will go down as one of the most impressive efforts from an athlete period ever.
The great Yankees, not the Sox, now have to answer questions about their manager and his decisions. The great Yankees, not the Sox, will now have to answer to their fans about how a $190 million team could falter this badly. A-Jerk now has the offseason to stew about his karate chop, which doesn’t bother me a bit. Body language tells a lot and believe me, he is one of the most underrated a**holes in baseball. And best of all, the team that used its money and clout to steal Hideki Matsui and Jose Contreras from our grasp can now use that money for something useful – attempting to buy World Series tickets in Fenway Park on Saturday.
Some random thoughts I jotted down from the night:
–We had so many Dagger Chances – opportunites to drive the stake down the Yankees heart for good – that is made even a seven-run lead tense. Bellhorn, Nixon and Ramirez all had chances to put this lead to ridiculous proportions. Sitting here now, who cares? But then, even a 37-2 lead would be nerve-wracking.
–Derek Lowe was PHENOMENAL, perhaps making back some of the money he lost during the season. But when Francona decided to bring in Pedro during the seventh inning, I got Vietnam Vet-style flashbacks of last year’s seventh. When the Yanks hit back-to-back doubles? I developed a twitch.
(side note: It’s 1 am and I’m watching the coverage of the Boston post-game ‘get-together.’ They’re trying to basically take apart a McDonald’s near the park and the riot police are out. This could get very ugly.)
–When Bellhorn hit the two-run homer to give the Sox 10 runs in the top of the eighth, it was the first time I thought, ‘This could happen.’ However, I didn’t say it out loud and quickly scolded myself for such a ridiculous thought. Manny then popped up for the 20th straight time and quickly brought myself back to earth.
–A very high-ranking guy at work today said flatly, “You know they (the sox) are going to lose tonight…don’t you?” I feel like painting a giant B and the word ‘Believe’ on his desk.
–Timlin shutting down Jeter, A-Jerk and Sheffield in the 8th. A HUGE turning point. Granted there was a huge lead, but it’s the little things that put your mind at ease. The ohmigodohmygodohmygod feelings begin…
–Before the bottom of the ninth, obvious drama is involved. So instead of maybe sticking with the action and talking about what we’re about to see, Fox cuts to commercials, one of which is that stupid Wendy’s un-official spokesman having a random conversation with some curly-haired wise ass kid. I mean, there are times to accentuate drama and times to cut away. This was not a time to cut away.
–Timlin walks two with two outs in the ninth and Alan Embree has to come in. Is anything easy for us? If Fan Man dropped in and delayed the game, I wouldn’t be surprised. There’s nothing like that paranoia feeling to make you feel alive. I’m finding myself justifying how the Yankees could come back and screw the Sox again. Mind you, there’s two outs and the Sox have a seven-run lead. Yet, I’m still not convinced.
Finally, elation. F**k the curse, f**k 1918, f**k it all. We finally won and will now host Game 1 of the World Series on Saturday night. Surreal to say the least…
by the way, does anyone know what day it is?