Last night the cardiac kids on the Red Sox were pronounced dead by virtually everyone. Unfortunately for those who’ve bought the Tampa Bay Rays fairy tale story, the Sox didn’t have the decency to lay down and die. They did what winners do: win.
By the end of the second inning last night, most of the fair weather fans had given up on the Sox. Dice was getting rocked and it seemed like the game would go the way of the previous two outings, into abject humiliation. By early in the 5th the TBS butt monkey announcers were talking about how the champagne was on ice and the goggles were just waiting to be donned in the Tampa locker room. The problem is, as I recalled even then, a baseball game generally consists of 9 innings, and the Red Sox have come back from the brink of defeat enough times to make Lazarus jealous. To count these guys out before the game is over is a sucker’s bet.
By mid-7th inning, Big Papi’s bat had finally spoken a resounding “not here, not now…” In fact, any Sox fan could feel it start when Pedroia scored the first run in the 7th with 2 outs. You could almost hear the helium hissing as the Ray’s balloon deflated. From there, as improbable as it was, we knew what was about to happen.
The Red Sox story since 2004 has always been an improbable one; the kind of syrup that even a sports writer would reject as too cliche for fiction. The bloody sock, Lester’s cancer, Manny’s melt down and final comeuppance, all more appropriate for a Horatio Alger tale than a modern day sporting event.
But now, we know a single thing: one game does not an ALCS make. We still need 2 more games to win this and it’s going to be a knife fight the whole way. We’ve been here before, and after last night, I don’t think anyone would be foolish enough to forget again that Red Sox don’t celebrate early and they never, ever, give up.