Four Games

Photo taken by Jim Davis of the Boston Globe and used without permission.

Photo taken by Jim Davis of the Boston Globe and used without permission.

In October 2004, the day after the devastating 19-8 loss to the Yankees at Fenway, with the realization that the Yankees led the ALCS 3 games to none, I had to go to a birthday party.  It was my aunt’s birthday and my cousin was having it at her house and this was the aunt who housed me when my house burned down and I had no place to live and I couldn’t miss it just because I was totally depressed about the Red Sox.  So I went.

Once we got there, my parents and I (the only ones in the place who had planned on leaving the party early so we could watch Game 4…there was still hope there, faint, but still there) were bombarded with the insults of people who couldn’t believe we still cared and couldn’t believe we were going to “waste” our time.  Everyone had given up except my cousin’s boyfriend.  He worked at one of the bars around Fenway and was getting ready to go into work and he found my mother and I to be of the same mind as him.  He said, practically word for word, “If they can win tonight, the Yankees are in trouble.   We’ll have Pedro on the mound and then Schilling and then anything could happen in game 7!”.  He said it so many times before he left, that my mother and I were walking around saying to other people, “He’s right!  Anything could happen if they can win this game tonight!”  We got so excited that we left even earlier than we had planned on and went back to my parents’ house to prepare for game 4.

When the 2004 post-season was over and the dvds came out and we saw footage of Kevin Millar telling everyone who would listen “Don’t let us win tonight!”, I couldn’t get over it.  While Millar was going through Fenway spreading the good word, my cousin’s boyfriend was doing the same at my aunt’s party.  It was the perfect example of how well the fans and the players meshed that year.

Starting with that game 4, what followed that week is very hard to describe to anyone who didn’t live through it.  For me, it was a week of no-sleep, wearing the same clothes (I wore the outfit I watched game 4 in to work the next day and then didn’t change out of it for game 5.  For game 6, before it began I realized maybe I should put the same outfit on again and quickly changed.  Same for game 7), ignoring the office dress code and wearing Sox gear to work every day, and getting absolutely no work done because I spent all day reading Bill Simmons and talking about the ALCS with my office-mates (including my bosses!).  I remember being woozy for just about every game (between the no-sleep and the excitement) and I remember my heart racing for, essentially, the entire week.

I spent the first few moments of the post-game after they won the ALCS with two phones to my ears.  One was my cousin in New York calling to celebrate with us (she was born in NY and is a Red Sox fan) and the other was my sister, who had nursed me through most of game 7 via phone and wanted to celebrate too.  (Most notably, my sister gave me play by play of Pedro’s entire outing in game 7 while I paced the street outside the house.)  If I have one wish for every true baseball fan it’s that they get to experience something like what we did for that week in October.  The thing is, except for Cubs fans, I don’t think any other fan base will ever come close to having the experience.  Even then, when the Cubs finally do it, it won’t be quite the same.  And that’s what is tough to explain.

Tonight, ESPN attempts to show the rest of the world what we went through for those four games in their latest installment of their 30 for 30 series “Four Days in October“, which covers the time of games 4-7 in the 2004 ALCS.  There aren’t enough words to describe how I feel about this being made.  I hope it somehow conveys to everyone what we went through and it makes people understand why there will never be anything else like it in sports.  Hyperbolic sounding as that is, it’s the truth.

I’ve been asked if I would trade 2004 for the Red Sox having 27 “ring”.  No.  I absolutely would not.  And I wouldn’t trade it for 2003 either.  Everything worked out as it should and I’m grateful for being here for that 2004 ride.  I’m even more grateful that my parents were here for it.  As I’ve often said, now, everything else is just gravy.

8 o’clock on ESPN tonight (and at 11pm on ESPN2!) we get to relive what we felt for that week and that’s a wonderful gift.

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