…but I’ve come through!

We believed...and look what happened.

We believed (eventually!) and look what happened.

Five years ago today, the Red Sox made me weep with joy.  For me, for my parents, for all my fellow fans and for the team I  love.

I’m not usually one to write about what everyone else is writing about but today is special.

Five years ago – October 20, 2004 – the Red Sox won game 7 of the ALCS and changed the lives of Red Sox fans forever.  Wikipedia gives us the goods:

Pedro Martínez relieved Lowe in the seventh inning, receiving loud chants of “Who’s Your Daddy?,” which intensified as he gave up a sequence of hits, allowing two runs. He eventually raised the velocity of his fastball to the mid-90s and shut down the rally. Mike Timlin and Alan Embree finished out the game. At 12:01 a.m., on October 21st, Rubén Sierra hit a groundball to second baseman Pokey Reese, who threw to first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz to finish the unprecedented comeback. The Red Sox won 10-3 and became the first team in Major League Baseball history to win a seven-game series after losing the first three games. David Ortiz was named the series MVP.

After Pedro gave up those two runs, I spent the rest of the inning outside my house, pacing the street and talking to my sister on the phone. She purposely dragged out each pitch to torture me just a little before she assured me that Pedro was out of the inning. It was game 7…it was the Red Sox…I was convinced something was going to go wrong.

But it didn’t.  When the game was over, my sister called me on my land line and my cousin in New York called me on my cell phone.  Both excited, both emotional and both giving me play by play of what was going on post-game (my cousin was watching YES and telling me they kept showing me the sad Yankees dugout.  My sister was watching Fox and screaming “Show the Yankees!!  I want to see them cry!!!”  It had been a long series and given what happened in 2003 an even longer season).   I spent the rest of that night watching NESN and ESPN over and over again and most of that time was spent crying.  I literally didn’t go to sleep and then, somehow, got myself to work the next day where all we did was talk about the game.  I was on such a high from that win that I barely remember game 1 of the World Series.

What stands out most in my memory is Derek Lowe being interviewed on the field and telling the interviewer that the best part of the celebration was seeing Tim Wakefield stand on the pitcher’s mound at Yankee Stadium, holding a beer and celebrating.  After what happened in 2003, Lowe, and everyone, wanted Wake to be able to enjoy that moment.

I won’t lie.  Remembering this…typing it out…is bringing tears to my eyes.

It’s something so few other fan bases can understand.  Everyone is happy when their team wins but not every fan had to deal with the garbage that Sox fans did.  Which is why no matter how many Yankees trolls want to come here and rub it in that the Yanks are in the LCS and the Sox aren’t – it won’t ever matter.  NOTHING will ever change the fact that the Yankees had their foot on the throat of the Red Sox and the Red Sox still came back and beat them – in their own house.  NOTHING will ever change what Curt Schilling, Derek Lowe, Pedro Martinez, yes, Manny Ramirez, hell even Johnny Damon did over the course of those final four games.    The Yankees can win 26 more titles and none will ever make their fans feel the way we felt in 2004.  Again, our lives were changed forever.  Jason Varitek said that Red Sox fans could hold their heads up when they ventured into Yankee Stadium – damn straight, Tek!

I treasure that feeling to this day, that October, that moment in time when we went from feeling like the universe was out to destroy us to believing that someone up there finally wanted us to feel the joy so many other fans felt – except we got to feel it tenfold.  Seeing the Sox win in 2004 and then again in 2007 made some Sox fans greedy – not me – it just made me appreciate the team and this game a lot  more.  After 2007, everything else is gravy.  And it all started with finally beating the Yankees in the 2004 ALCS five years ago today.

Again, from Wikipedia, a fitting way to remember the day:

This would be the fifth pennant for the Red Sox, since that 1918 season.   Here it is. (Pokey) Reese. The Boston Red Sox have won the Pennant!
—Joe Buck calling the final out of Game 7.

Pokey Reese has it. He throws to first and the Red Sox have won the American League pennant!
—Joe Castiglione’s calling the same moment as Buck above.

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