October 17th, 2008

(no subject)

From Roger Angell, in the New Yorker:
Anything seemed possible last night as the Sox batters systematically did away with three Tampa Bay relievers, featured by a three-run, two-out, seventh-inning homer by designated hitter David Ortiz, who had been floundering at the plate. The blast shortened the lead to 7–4, still a seemingly unlikely margin until right fielder J. D. Drew delivered a two-run shot in the eighth. The winning run came home shortly after midnight, to ecstatic Fenway celebrations, on a ninth-inning single to deep right by Drew, after the previous batter, Kevin Youkilis, reached second on a single and a throwing error.

Postgame reappraisals among a panel of TBS television experts were divided about whether the key blow had been a two-out, seventh-inning single by Dustin Pedroia, which brought home the first Sox run, or Drew’s terminating knock, against closer J. D. Howell. This sleep-deprived fan will hold out for the ten-pitch, eighth-inning at-bat of the Boston center fielder Coco Crisp, whose stance begins with his chin oddly propped on his front shoulder, in imitation of Junior Griffey. Crisp’s relentless, unflustered five foul balls, four of them in a row, looked like the expert chisel-tappings of a celebrated safe cracker before the great underground door swings open. His single tied the game and foretold its end.

Boston’s comeback is the second-best October turnabout in major-league history, topped only by an eight-run seventh inning by the Philadelphia Athletics in 1929, which won the fourth game and put the White Elephants (as the A’s were called then) on their way to a five-game championship win over the Chicago Cubs. That game and inning are well remembered by this writer (who, at nine, could scarcely handle the yard-and-a half-wide sports pages of the time)—especially an inside-the-park homer by Mule Haas. A teammate of his in the dugout was so transported by the blow that he clapped his skinny, elderly Hall of Fame manager, Connie Mack, on the back, sending him to his knees amid the bats. Mack forgave him.

Those were the days. So are these.