Tuesday, October 5, 2010

...the 2004 Boston Red Sox

A documentary on ESPN, titled "Four Nights in October" just aired. It focused on the 2004 Boston Red Sox and their improbable run to a World Series title and the breaking of the "Curse of the Bambino."

You often hear coaches and commentators say "play to the last out" or "play 60 minutes" or whatever the duration of the competition is. The 2004 Red Sox did that.

I remember it well as it was just after I finished my first full season of minor league baseball and I was in "baseball mode" to say the least.

To catch you up to speed, the Red Sox were down three games to none in a best of seven series in the American League Championship Series (ALCS) against their biggest rival, the New York Yankees. In a must win game four, they were down by one run in the bottom of the ninth inning, with arguably the best closer in the history in the game on the mound for the Yankees, Mariano Rivera.

But the Red Sox fought back. Kevin Millar drew a walk and was replaced by Dave Roberts, who stole second. The next batter, Bill Mueller, hits a single up the middle to score Roberts and tie the game. David Ortiz eventually hit a two run home run to give the Red Sox the Game Four victory.

But it was still only one win. They were now down three games to one and the thought of coming all the way back was still considered impossible. No team in Major League Baseball history had ever won a series after being down three games to none.

I already spoiled the ending, as the Red Sox won Game Five in Boston before winning Games Six and Seven in New York. They went on to defeat the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series and win their first World Series since they sold Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees in the early part of the 1900s.

Every commentator, writer, columnist and reporter gave Boston no chance to win the ALCS, even after they pulled out Game Four. It just goes to show you what can happen when a team doesn't listen to those on the outside and believes in themselves and their teammates.


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