I was waiting on a dinner partner last night, taking the few moments alone to think about the Red Sox and their probable Thursday night demise.
The season was all but over, and I was making my peace with that. It’s the same thought process I went through last year when the Sox went down, three games to one. You have to do that — put things in perspective, remember that reaching baseball’s equivalent of the Final Four is nothing if not a successful end to the year.
They’d had a great season, and even though the Sox fell behind early, I pledged that if it was to be the last game of 2008 for the Red Sox, I would watch every pitch. I owed them that much.
Turns out they weren’t quite done.
The team that had looked too old, too injured and too shaky in three straight games (plus six and one-half innings) against the young upstarts of Tampa suddenly sparked to life. We know the rest.
I don’t know if this builds momentum, if the Rays will collapse like a Jenga tower while the Red Sox romp their way to the World Series, a la 2004 and 2007. I certainly hope so, but I don’t really care either. Because what had been most frustrating about the series was how a team that had looked so poised, so confident as they raced toward the postseason during the final two months could look so feeble just two weeks later.
At least the Sox showed us something. They pushed the series back to Tampa, and they gave us perhaps the most thrilling nine-inning playoff game Fenway Park has ever seen — certainly the most amazing game I’ve ever witnessed. Anything more than that now is gravy.
Through the first six innings, I was composing this post in my head: A thank you to a team that gave us another thrilling ride and successful season. That was a bit premature, and yet it wasn’t.
Thank you, Boston Red Sox, for another great ride — and, no matter what happens next, another fantastic season.