Posted: Aug 30, 2007 11:25am ET
Watching the New York Yankees eke out a second straight win against the Boston Red Sox last night brought a huge smile to my face. I’m a diehard Yankee fan, and have been since I was a kid. (As a young boy in the 1970s I remember going on a field trip to Boston, and yelling out the car window “Go Yankees.” I’m lucky to have survived.) For my money there’s no rivalry in the world that comes close to that between the Yanks and the Sox.
The Mets? I don’t like them, but I don’t hate them. The Eagles and Cowboys in NFL Football? As a Giants fan I can’t stand them, but it’s just not the same thing. When the Yankees are playing the Red Sox, it’s simply going to ruin my entire day if the Yankees lose.
Flash back a couple of years to the 2003 American League Championship Series. (Sidenote: remember when this was called the Pennant? It seemed much more noble back then.) Red Sox had transformed themselves from perennial also-rans into the dreaded pesky team that would not go away. It seemed that no lead was safe against these guys. The series was amazing: remember the game where Don Zimmer was hurled to the ground by Pedro Martinez? The brawl in the Red Sox bullpen?
The series was tied heading into the seventh game, to be played at Yankee Stadium. I set up shop alone in my basement smoking room. There were cold bottles of Heineken in the beer fridge and a wide selection of cigars. (I can’t remember what I was smoking, but it was good.) Things looked grim for the Yankees, with Clemens sent packing early and the Red Sox up 4-0. I called Jorge Padrón on my cell phone, telling him it looked like I would have to buy a Florida Marlins hat as it looked like the Sox were going to the World Series for the first time since 1986.
Then it happened. Grady Little left Pedro Martinez in too long, the Yankees tied the game, and knuckleballer Tim Wakefield, who had looked utterly unhittable for the entire series, threw a meatball to Aaron Boone in the bottom of the 11th. Booney smacked it into the stands in left field.
I did what every other Yankee fan in the world did—lost my mind. I yelled so hard and so passionately that I thought I was going to have a coronary.
The 2007 Yankees are a long way from playing the ALCS, but two wins in a row (one of them watched live at the Stadium Tuesday night) gives me a little bit of hope.
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