The impossible dream
The author watched his Sox finally break the curse
Posted: Thursday July 19, 2007 10:26AM; Updated: Thursday July 19, 2007 10:26AM
Editor's note: We asked Sports Illustrated writers to share their memories from the best game they've ever seen. Here are their stories:
Things were rolling along perfectly on this pleasant October night in St. Louis. How perfect? I was about to witness the impossible from the right-field stands of Busch Stadium: my Red Sox finally winning the World Series.
The Sox had outplayed the Cardinals for the fourth straight game, taking the lead on the evening's fourth pitch, a Johnny Damon homer that had landed below me in the Cardinals' bullpen. And despite having squandered numerous opportunities to put the game out of reach, the Red Sox still cruised into the eighth with a 3-0 lead.
Then it hit me. After Roger Cedeno popped up to lead off for St. Louis, I realized that the Sox had been in a similar situation one year earlier.
Five outs away, bases empty, and a three-run lead -- in Game 7 of the ALCS.
The sting of the "Grady Little game" will never go away for Red Sox fans, just like the epic Steve Bartman-induced meltdown will never be forgotten by cursed Cubs fans.
I knew that any championship by the Red Sox would be earned the hard way, and the Red Sox certainly had reached this World Series the hard way, having to rebound from a humiliating 19-8 pounding in Game 3 of the ALCS that had put Boston in a 3-0 hole against the Yankees. The New York ghosts were finally exorcised in a triumphant Game 7 win in the Bronx, and soon, I hoped, so would the demons from the 1946 and 1967 World Series losses to the Cardinals.
Then Reggie Sanders walked. Alan Embree came in for the Red Sox, and Sanders stole second. The fans at Busch Stadium, desperate for anything to cheer for on a night when Derek Lowe was in command from the first pitch, roared like a college football crowd. The countdown, which had started in the third inning after Trot Nixon's bases-loaded double, was stuck at five. Please, please, please, please, please. Not again.
But Embree struck out pinch-hitter Hector Luna, and the red-hot Larry Walker popped up to short. The high-fives with my new best buddies in Section 316 turned into high-fours and high-threes with each passing out.
When reliever Keith Foulke stabbed Edgar Renteria's comebacker to clinch the Series, the emotions erupted -- on the field, in section 316, in New England and in bars all over the world, from Aruba to London. Red Sox fans took over the concourses at Busch Stadium, lined the third base line and screamed for any and all Red Sox personnel remaining on the Busch Stadium field.
"What do we do now?" a middle-aged Red Sox fan screamed out next to me, beaming with delight and chuckling to himself. "What happens now? What do we do now?"
We save the ticket stub, frame it and hang it on the wall as a reminder of the greatest game we've ever seen.
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