Boston 10, New York 3.
This is a nightmare. At any moment, I’m hoping to wake up and discover that it’s Sunday morning and the Yankees lead the ALCS 3-0. If I have ever had a worse moment than this, I can’t remember it.
But, I’m beginning to get the distinct impression that it’s not going to happen. Even now, I just realized it’s over and it still doesn’t make sense to me. Yeah, I’m expecting to feel that sensation again over and over for the next few weeks, months, years — How did the wheels fall off so fast?
Looking back on this season, I can’t believe I became so emotionally invested in this team, only to have THIS happen. Why?
In hindsight, I guess I should have seen this coming. Nothing good could possibly have come from the Yankees ALCS matchup against the Red Sox. Honestly, even in the best of all possible worlds (which was roughly four days ago), nothing about this series could really have made me happy.
From the moment this series started, all I wanted was for it to be over. There was no joy in these games, and I felt the same way when the Yankees were up 3-0 with Rivera on the hill to close out Game 4.
Up to that point, I couldn’t have choreographed a better sequence of events — the Yankees were three outs from a sweep and had trailed for only 23 minutes in the entire series. In Game 2, Pedro had probably taken a loss in what looked like his last start for the Sox, and the prospect of facing Schilling again was a reach.
Still, I never wanted this match-up. When these teams meet, I feel like the Yankees have everything on the line: victory is expected; defeat is unthinkable. For me, The Curse is only a part of it. The fact that Boston hasn’t won a World Series since 1918 has no bearing on my sanity.
No, the thing that will really kill me is the composition of the Red Sox. Honestly, despite what everyone says about them being so likeable, these guys are not good people.
Pedro Martinez is a bad dude. Remember him pointing at his head and then at Jorge Posada in Game 3 of last year’s ALCS? (Notice, I give him a pass for throwing Zimmer on the ground). How about Manny precipitating the bench-clearing incident in the same game? What about Game 7 hero Derek Lowe? He must have demonstrated his likeability with that celebratory sequence of obscene gestures directed toward the A’s dugout as he closed out Game 5 of the 2003 ALDS. Oh, and what about that time Jason Varitek started the fight with A-Rod?
I could go on and on, but there’s no point. The Red Sox have a team composed of Curt Schilling and guys who are pure trash. Somehow, my team is the “Evil Empire.”
I don’t want to get too bitter, but it’s tough to see a Joe Torre team lose to this bunch. In my mind, I’ve always loved the Yankees under Torre for how they’ve represented themselves on the field: pure class. You’ll have to excuse me if I see watching the “bunch of idiots” defeat class as a disillusioning experience.
Obviously, it didn’t have to turn out like this. For the rest of my life, I’ll never forget the blown chances to end this series in Games 4 and 5.
In Game 4, the Yankees’ scorching hot offense inexplicably starts pressing (a bad sign of things to come) and can’t score despite leadoff walks in the 7th, 8th and 9th. Meanwhile, the Sox cashed in on key walks issued by El Duque. A-Rod’s lineout to Cabrera with the winning run on 2nd base in the 11th isn’t sitting too well with me either. Still, it’s hard to regret any game where Rivera gets a chance to close it out in the 9th. I just wish he hadn’t walked Kevin Millar.
Game 5 saw a 4-2 lead in the 6th with Pedro on the ropes. Matsui’s bases-loaded liner to Nixon on Pedro’s final pitch was a killer. Pedro probably got a break like that because of all the good karma he’s accumulated by being such a great person. Stranding Cairo on third in the 8th was another missed opportunity as A-Rod whiffed. A-Rod swinging through an exhausted Mike Timlin’s 86-mph fastball may have been facilitated by Pedro, who intentionally hit A-Rod in the 6th after Jeter had given the Yankees the lead. Obviously, more good karma.
Anyway, Gordon couldn’t hold the lead in the 8th. If Rivera had come in earlier, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. (By conversation, I mean me muttering to myself right now). This might be the only Torre move I ever seriously question. Of course, I’ll never forget that if Tony Clark’s double in the 9th had not skimmed over the right field wall, I’d be watching the World Series this Saturday.
As a Yankees fan, I don’t feel like I have anything to be ashamed of. I’ve watched four championship teams, and I plan on seeing plenty more. If not, I’d like to take this opportunity to copyright “The Curse of Schilling” or “The Curse of A-Rod” so I get paid like Dan Shaughnessy.
In any case, this series will undoubtedly go down as the greatest comeback in baseball history. Even though I really dislike the team and its players, I can’t help but congratulate the Red Sox fans and wish them the best of luck in the World Series.
As for me, I’m not planning on watching any baseball for a long time. Game 7 has been over for 30 minutes, and I’m not really as bitter or angry as I thought I would be now. All I have left is emptiness.
Maybe it still hasn’t really hit me.