Honestly, I thought we’d do it. Once we took game five, anything seemed possible. Even stealing two at the world’s largest double-wide trailer (as my man Curtis affectionately refers to the Trop). Even making the seemingly short jump from flatliners to headliners for the third time in the last five seasons.
But, in the end, in game seven, Tampa Bay was the better team–relentless, resilient and hungry. Matt Garza, that greasy shitf@#k, absolutely shut us down. Not that he didn’t get a little help from the umps on some of those calls. But we just couldn’t take advantage of the limited opportunities we had.
The one that stings the most, perhaps, was the strike-em-out, throw-em-out travesty that ended the sixth. As Papi flailed madly, striking out on what would have been ball four, a running Elf was nailed about three feet in front of second base. Papi walks, and we’ve got two men on and one out for Youk. Instead, we got two giant steps closer to the door. And right about that time, several states away, I gently placed my nuts in the waffle iron.
Also, in the ninth, although Teets probably should have pinch-hit for Tek–whose heroic home run in game six couldn’t dispel the fact that he was an out-making machine throughout the ALCS (.050!!!)–you kinda got the feeling he wouldn’t. Denying the Captain what could have been his last at bat in a Sox uniform just isn’t “Tito-ish.” So Tek got to bat in the ninth. And promptly whiffed. For the third time.
But, honestly, after game four, I never expected us to be anywhere within swatting distance of a seventh game. Am I disappointed that we couldn’t close the deal? Hells yeah. I still wake up in cold sweat reliving game two, watching Beckett walking out of the dugout to start the fifth inning. If this was pre-2004, I might be looking into hotels near the Zakim bridge. But the fact is, I’ve seen my team win two World Series championships in four seasons. That’s two more World Series championships than I ever thought I’d see in my entire life. The enormity of those victories and what they’ve meant to me–not to mention my phyiscal and mental health–cannot be overstated.
Yeah, losing sucks. It always sucks. But after 2004, it just doesn’t hurt as bad. Instead of busting out the liquor, guns and inflatable sheep, I’m looking forward to next year. Not cursing the Red Sox, but thanking them for another exciting post-season. I have a feeling we’ll be back here again.
Oh and as for the World Series, I’m throwing my support behind the Phillies. The Rays are truly the story of the year–somewhere, Elijah Dukes is crying in his oatmeal–but I just can’t root for a team from the AL East that ain’t us. So here’s hoping the Phils give the Rays some unholy hell. Especially that punk-ass
Carl Crawford Carlos Pena Grant Balfour, who you know is just an injury away from boosting car stereos.