Boston's season was over. Down three games to one and down by 7 runs with less than half a game to play. Most of the team, players, and coaches were probably focused on tomorrow's tee time or the beginning of contract negotiations. The Fenway crowd--forget about it. What was left at that point was the appearance of a team. The players were on the field, playing baseball. The fans were in the stands, watching a game. Something wasn't quite right. The season of limitless expectations was about to end. And then all hell broke loose. The next thing you know, Boston ends up winning 8-7 in a highly improbable comeback. For most sports fans, they will have to relive this moment through ESPN and YouTube. For those that wouldn't give up on the Sox, you got what you deserved--one of the greatest comebacks in sports history. The Sox need to win two more games for this win to mean anything, but it was a treat for the fans nonetheless.
What strikes me as the most interesting thing about this game is what must have been going through the heads of the Red Sox players and coaches. Maybe I'm being naive and they thought they were going to win no matter how seemingly insurmountable the Rays' lead had become. Maybe they just got lucky. Either way, I'm most interested in the shift in mindset that must have occured when the Sox put up their first runs. There must have been a feeling of rebirth for those players. What they once thought was impossible became metaphysical certitude with the swing of a bat. .
I am not a very big fan of baseball, nor a student of the game, but I love watching it come playoff time. There is a tension in every pitch, every play of the game. There is drama in every aspect of the game--a drama that can not be matched, from first pitch to last out, by any other sport. My Dodgers were knocked out of the playoffs earlier this week. I'm upset with the loss. I had high hopes for this team. I'm most upset, however, about being robbed of the experience of watching my team play in the World Series. I won't be sitting on the edge of my couch hoping for an extra bases hit from Manny or Furcal or Martin. I won't be praying for Lowe or Kuroda to strike out the side. I won't be hearing Vin Scully call the game.
These feelings of emptiness, for me, validate the importance of America's game. Without the longing for your team's success, this game wouldn't have the luster that it currently has. I feel pain, but it only serves as a reminder that baseball is awesome.