Thursday, October 21, 2004

They Won?!?

Really? Was it a dream? I’ve been avoiding espn.com and cbs.sportsline.com because I’m afraid that the headline will read - "Cruelest Joke Ever Played on Red Sox Nation, Yanks Win By Forefeit."

You don’t understand. This stuff doesn’t happen to us Red Sox fans. We’re the ones that always blow the huge, seemingly insurmountable leads. We’re the collective butts of the joke. The Yankees are the ones that always seem to rise to the occasion or rise above anything that turns the tides against them. I guess a long-standing tradition of winning and $220,000,000 in payroll will do that to you.

But something funny happened on the way to the World Series. The good guys won. They came in wearing their white hats, guns blazing. They meant business. Here are my thoughts from Game 7.

I was strangely calm before the game. I hadn’t even started mixing my beer with pain killers yet. It’s a weird feeling to be comfortably numb when you’re stone cold sober.

Right before Damon’s hit to lead off the game, I was thinking, he’s right on Brown. No way he makes an out this at bat. After The Passion of the Damon steals 2nd, all we need is a clutch base hit. Manny’s due for an RBI. Waaaaay overdue. When he hit the ball past a diving Jeter, I was thinking, "no way do you send him home on that hit. He’s gonna hold him up." Huh? Sveum is waving him around? Does he have a severe case of vertigo or something? Predictable outcome - Damon hosed at the plate by 5 feet. No sooner did I get done putting a curse on Sveum and his family did Papi come up an hit a 2 run laser into the right field stands. He may look like he’s out of shape, but man can that guy just flat out RAKE!! Papi is clutch and clutch is everything. 2-0 Sox after ½ inning. Nice start guys!!

Derek Lowe on the hill, owner of the "Derek Lowe Face" which is akin to the "Deer In The Headlights" look when things start going down hill. I love D-Lo, but he’s never been a money pitcher. He disappears in big spots. Jeter swings at the first pitch and pops it up. Way to lead your team, Jeter. Keep up the good work. Yeah Sheff, that pitch was inside...what-frickin-ever. Grab your glove and trot your happy little ass out to right field. 2-0 Sox after 1. No, I’m not anywhere near comfortable, but I’m still pretty calm.

Second inning - damn, Kevin Brown is really laboring out there. Someone get him a back brace and some Doans, maybe a walker too. When Torre came out to yank Brown after he walked Cabrera, I said out loud to nobody (since the kids were upstairs watching some DVD), "What is he doing? Damon absolutely KILLS Vazquez. He homered off him twice in a game earlier this season. Wouldn’t it be something if Vazquez tries to get ahead with an inside fastball and Damon deposits it into the bleachers for a grand slam?" No sooner did I get the word ‘slam’ out of my mouth did that VERY thing happen. Not bad times. Good times!! Vazquez tried to get ahead with an inside fastball and Damon yanked it out of the yard. I screamed so loudly that I scared someone walking by my townhouse. I looked out the window just in time to see a guy walking his dog jump straight up in the air as I let out my war cry. 6-0 Sox after 1 ½. MUST.NOT.GET.EXCITED. There’s too much game left.

Lowe is absolutely cruising. No Derek Lowe Face. Cairo was NOT hit by that pitch. The mere fact that he takes first on that shows me how desperate things have gotten in the Bronx. Cairo steals second a little too easily. After Jeter, the most clutch hitter in the history of clutch hitters, gets another RBI hit, I sat on my couch totally calm. A-Rod will make an out here. I knew it in my heart. Up steps a pissed off Sheffield next, however. He absolutely scorched that ball, but right at Mueller (whose name should be pronounced "Mule-er" not "Miller"). Inning over, D-Lo weathers the storm. 6-1 Sox after 3.

Vazquez is officially done. It’s pretty hard to pitch with a giant salad fork sticking out of your back. Cabrera walks. Torre should go get him here. Damon’s gonna tee off again. Thank you Joe for not listening to me. Damon is officially my HOMEBOY!! 8-1 Sox.

The middle innings are a blur. D-Lo cruising, Yanks getting more and more desperate by the pitch. Lowe makes Sheff look silly to end the 6th, striking him out on 3 pitches. He should be good to go into the 8th, just what this team sorely needs. I’ve never heard 55,000 people more silent in all my life. I’m pretty sure most of them are weeping into their MLB Authentic Collection Derek Jeter jerseys.

Ronan Tynan singing God Bless America. Damn, his ears are huge. G-Dogg just pointed out that Dumbo’s ears may be smaller than this guy’s. Did he write a preamble to this song? I don’t think one should take creative artistic license with God Bless America....but that’s just me. Ok, I feel a little better now, I looked it up, it's in the lyrics, that dude didn't just ad lib.

Wait just a cotton pickin’ minute here. Why isn’t Lowe going out for the 7th? Is Francona trying to blow the game here? Why, why, WHY put Pedro in here. The one player you have that will whip this crowd into a feeding frenzy. Yep, here we go. "Who’s your DADDY?" clapclap...clapclapclap, "Who’s your DADDY?" clapclap...clapclapclap. Somebody snipe the organist, will you? Or, at the very least, give me some strong shoelaces so I can hang myself. Matsui-san - double. Williams - double. 8-2 Sox. Posada grounds out, Williams to 3rd. Shoeless Joe Lofton singles. 8-3 Sox. I’m in hell. Shoot me now. Wait! What’s this? Did Pedro just hit NINETY-FRICKIN-SEVEN on the gun? I haven’t seen him throw that hard in five years. Maybe he’s finally gotten pissed off. About time. 8-3 Sox after 7.

Top of the 8th - Bellhorn, I take back every mean, nasty word I’ve uttered about you in the past 10 days. You don’t suck. You are officially CLUTCH! The decisive home run last night and a HUGE insurance HR tonight? You’re rockin the house, dude.

At this point, I knew it was over. Shit like this just doesn’t happen to the Sox in a normal season. In a normal season, Torre would have pushed all the right buttons and Bellhorn’s insurance HR would have went foul. This team is special. And I don’t mean that "they ride the short bus and rub their crotches for fun" special. I mean that in a "you will probably never see another team like this in your lifetime" way special.

When Sierra grounded to Pokey to end the game, I didn’t even celebrate. I didn’t jump up out of my seat. I knew the conclusion already. The thing about this team that the Yankees will never understand is that the Sox are a TEAM in every sense of the word. They’re not a collection of All Stars and former All Stars. They band together and get shit done. When the Yanks were down, they all turned tail and scattered. When the Sox were down, they all came together and made something special happen.

From Papi’s heroics in games 4 and 5 to Schill’s superhuman performance in game 6 to Damon’s 2 HR 6 RBI performance in game 7, and everything in between, they played as a team. They knew it would take all 25 players to win this thing and they did it, as a unit.

Only Derek Jeter and Bernie Williams knew how to lift their team up. A-Rod, Sheff, Matsui, Brown, Vazquez and Lieber disappeared when the team needed them most. That’s almost $90,000,000 worth of choke artists right there, folks. Sheff, Jeter, Williams, Rivera and Torre are the only ones that will be safe from Steinie’s wrath this winter. Brian Cashman (the Yankees’ GM) looked like he was going to cry after the game. I hope he did.

As for me, I’ll watch the Series, but I feel like my team already won the World Championship.

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