Oct 5, 2009

Most Memorable Sports Moment #1

I realized the other day as I scrolled down my blog that I hadn't finished this series I started and in the process, left out the most important sports moment. With no further delay here it is:

Red Sox Defeat Yankees in the 2004 ALCS
That's right. No doubt the biggest moment I have experienced as a sports fan was the improbable comeback in the 2004 ALCS. One year earlier, I was in a hotel in Atlanta when Aaron Boone become infamous and put the Red Sox out of the playoffs. I watched anxiously most of the 2004 season believing that with the addition of Curt Schilling, the Red Sox could finally do it. I suffered through the predictable summer swoon that hits the Sox every year. I saw them fight back from behind the Yankees to secure the Wild Card. I watched the Division series with the Angels and saw Schilling's injury. I saw Big Papi begin his incredible Red Sox run with the game winning shot over the Green Monster securing their place in the ALCS.

Then, here came the Yankees. Every Red Sox fan believed that the Sox would have deliverance from the curse of the Bambino and revenge for the Boone hr a year before. However, those hopes were dashed and talk of the curse began again as the Yankees dominated the Red Sox in the first three games. Schilling looked hurt in game 1 and got shelled. The Sox lost 10-7. Game 2 was a pitcher's duel that Sox ace Pedro Martinez eventually lost. Game 3 was a humiliating loss of 19-8 in which the Yankees looked like the Bronx Bombers of old. It was official. The Yankees were going to win and go to the World Series. No team in history had ever come back from 3 games down in a best-of-seven series. I remember talking with my brother after game 3 and both of us couldn't believe it. We talked about how the Sox couldn't catch a break and how the Yankees got them all. We thought maybe the Sox would win game 4, but surely would lose game 5 or 6. The Yankees were just too good.

Then, the impossible became possible. Game 4 saw the Yankees in command throughout. The Sox took a 3-2 lead in the 5th, but lost it when the Yankees scored 2 in the 6th. Nothing happened until the ninth and the Yankees brought in the most dominant closer in playoff history - Mariano Rivera. Rivera walked Kevin Millar to start the inning and Dave Roberts was brought in to run for Millar. The biggest moment of the series was when Roberts stole second. Bill Mueller drove in Roberts to tie the game and Big Papi hit another walk-off, two-run home run in the 11th. Sox fans were excited, but still realistic that they were down 3-1.

Game 5 was another classic with the Yankees taking a 4-2 lead on a bases loaded hit by Jeter. Big Papi did it again with a single in the 10th and the Sox won again. Momentum was starting to shift and everyone began to believe. My brother and I were on the phone all night asking "Can they really do this?" Game 6 was one of the most incredible pitching performances ever with Curt Schilling pitching with a torn tendon sheath that was sewn to his right ankle to prevent it from moving but caused tremendous pain. On sheer will and adrenaline, he shut down the Yankees and the Sox won 4-2 to tie the series.

Game 7 in the Bronx was supposed to be a classic dramtic game, but the Sox struck early with hr's by Ortiz and Johnny Damon. The Sox cruised and won 10-3 never really being challenged. It was the most incredible feeling and event I had ever witnessed. The Red Sox had done the impossible, and done it against the Yankees - the evil empire. It ushered in the Red Sox as the most dominant team of the decade, reversed the curse of the Bambino, and propelled the Red Sox to the first World Series in 86 years. No matter what, this will probably be the greatest moment as a baseball fan I will ever experience. I know I have not been a lifer Sox fan. I had not endured personally all those years of frustration. However, on a cold night in October, I saw the impossible happen. Greatest Sports Moment #1 - Red Sox Comeback Against Yankees.