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The Nation Rejoices And The Empire Falls october 21 2004, 01:31 am
submitted by: normal mc

Without a single RBI from Manny Ramirez, on Mickey Mantle’s birthday… they did it. Red Sox nation climbed on the flogged and almost martyred back of Johnny of Nazareth and made history. So for a brief moment, savor this, baseball fans. Forget your allegiances, grudges and damn the ‘curses’ and appreciate this for what it is: the single greatest comeback in the history of team sports.

If you’re the Red Sox, from here on out you might think you are ‘playing with house money’. You were left for dead, New England was ready to look to next year. Then Papi happened. The he happened again and you felt the air flow back into your lungs. You put up a valiant effort, made your stand at home and you left Game 6 in the hands of your ace. From there on out, it was all gravy.

Then Curt happened. He happened in a big motherfucking way. With less than his best stuff, gimpy and bloody, he became a Boston sports icon. The Yankees got chippy and whiny – very un-Yankee like in the Joe Torre era. You held on and suddenly ’19-8’ and ‘three games to zero’ felt like a lifetime ago. And despite Terry Francona almost managing himself out of a pennant (Pedro? In relief), you got it done. Without anyone to carry the load after Schilling imploded in Game 1, without a real bullpen stopper, you managed to do the unthinkable.

So this Sox team, as loose a cast of characters as we’ve seen since baseball’s last golden age (the 80’s), are now cast as ‘world beaters’. They’re the Bad New Bears of the 2004 postseason. They are LaRusso vs. Cobra Kai, the most unlikely and unbelievable comeback since ‘Eddie and the Cruisers II: Eddie Lives!’. And yes, Red Sox Nation, you should be proud. You should enjoy it. The Empire has fallen, the wicked witch is dead and ‘the curse’ (which doesn’t exist) might be over. But remember this… it’s all meaningless when you lose the World Series. Which they will, I believe. If they somehow win it, that will be quite the big shock. The biggest shock? No.

The biggest shock – bigger than 6 fantastic innings from much-maligned Derek Lowe, bigger than Schilling channeling Willis Reed, bigger than Mo blowing two saves, bigger even than A-Rod going one for his last 15 – was the fact that the Yankees didn’t even show up last night.

But is that really a shock? It shouldn’t be. 2000 was a million years ago if you’re the Yankees. You have no spark, no identity. You’re a collection of talented players with no gel. Torre, the master motivator/tactician could do nothing with them. The line-up is flawed, with no one to set the tables and do the little things. Sure, a middle core of A-Rod, Sheff, Posada, etc. should be enough… but all the shortcomings eventually are exposed in the postseason. And all year they worried about their staff. They whiffed on the Big Unit and counted on a game but overmatched Jon Lieber in Game 6. Heading into a decisive Game 7, you had loose cannon Kevin Brown and wallflower Javy Vazquez as your options? No wonder you blew it.

There are not enough employees at Yankee Stadium for Steinbrenner to fire. He’ll start with GM Brian Cashman, and he’s dumb enough to keep going from there. I get an odd feeling that Torre’s head will roll for this, and that’s unfortunate. But hey, we’ve got an opening over in Flushing…

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dj tanner
dj tanner 4789 posts
comment no. 1

What a fantastic article! I wish I had something insightful to add, but since I don't, I'll offer this:

For those of us who were at The Deuce on Saturday night we all remember the arrogance that seemed to flow continuously from Yankee fan to Yankee fan. It was everywhere! At one point I remember Norm telling us about a Yankee fan he saw take a picture with his cell phone of a Boston fan wearing a Red Sox cap with his face in his hands in disbelief. Oh my, how the tables have turned!

farlupulous 3353 posts
comment no. 2

Its awesome because its like "A bunch of Landscapers playing baseball"

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