Bless me, Big Papi, for I have sinned.
After the game 3 nightmare, I stopped believing.
I did NOT stop hoping.
I did NOT stop rooting.
But it’s true, I did not believe the Red Sox could come back from a 3-0 deficit against the Yankees in the ALCS. Thanks once again to the bat of David Ortiz, and a countless cast of teammates, they are halfway there. And yes, they’re livin’ on a prayer.
Bringing a whole new meaning to the old cliche, “it’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon” the Sox outlasted the Yankees in a game that threatened to break the 6-hour mark. Benches and bullpens alike were emptied, not to brawl, but to survive. In the end, Terry Francona put Joe Torre in checkmate, forcing a game 6 back in the Bronx. A game that Curt Schilling will likely pitch. Whatever brash display of arrogance Yankees fans will muster around the water cooler tomorrow, never has a 3-2 lead in a series been so tenuous.
It is impossible to list all of the heroes in tonight’s game, but there are a few that must be named. Keith Foulke, coming back after a 50-pitch outing last night, comes out of the pen looking for all the world like Dennis Eckersley. Minus the mullet and 70’s porn-star mustache, of course. Tim Wakefield. Three shutout innings despite three passed balls by Varitek in one of them. Bronson Arroyo, shrugging off a disastrous outing just 48 hours ago, pitched a perfect inning with two strikeouts. The bullpen as a whole; 8 innings, 5 hits, 3 walks and 10 strikeouts. Oh, and zero runs. And let’s not forget Pedro Martinez, who was perhaps one opposite field slap by Jeter away from winning this game hours ago.
All that being said, this is David Ortiz’s team. After being rung up by the third-base umpire when he clearly didn’t go around, called out trying to steal second when even the Yankee bootlicking announcers agreed his hand beat the tag, he still came up with the two-out hit in the 14th to end the madness. And Big Papi Nation rejoices.
Put on an extra pot of coffee tomorrow afternoon, ’cause we get to do this all over again. When Curt Schilling hobbles out to the mound in Yankee stadium, a custom-made Nike high-top holding the inner workings out his right ankle together, expect silence. What could the 55,000 ex-cons and mafia-wannabees possibly chant? And the hopes of Boston rest on the technology of footwear and the hearts of their players. My pick for hero of the game tomorrow: Johnny Damon.
But my hand was made strong
By the hand of the almighty.
We forward in this generation
Won’t you help to sing
These songs of freedom? –
cause all I ever have: