This Day in History

ap_varitek_arod_080727_ssv5 years ago today the fortunes of the Boston Red Sox changed forever. As a birthday present from my lovely sisters, we went to the last game of a series between the Red Sox and Yankees. Every game was heated, full of passion and dislike for the opposing side.

When we got to the stadium it wasn’t 100% that the game was going to be played. Rain had come through during the night and stuck around, but fortunately by mid-afternoon it had disappeared.

With Bronson Arroyo on the mound facing off against Tanyon Sturtze all of us in attendance knew we were in for a pitching duel…

Under the overhang, about 35 rows from the Pesky Pole, my sisters and I got into the game. With 2 outs in the top of the 3rd inning, up 3-0, Alex Rodriguez strode to the plate. With adrenaline pumping, Arroyo ended up flinging a pitch in that struck A-Rod on the shoulder. Alex took exception to that, despite him struggling at the plate; he believed that the pitch was purposeful. It wasn’t. After jawing at Bronson for a moment, catcher Jason Varitek stood up and got in Alex’s face. A-Rod challenged Varitek, the two of them threw some F-bombs in each other’s face and then BOOM, ‘Tek’s mitt and fist met in the middle of A-Rod’s face and the brawl was on.

I stood up on my chair quite literally screaming for blood. “I WANT TO SEE A-ROD BLLLEEEEEEEEEEEED,” hurled forth from me. “A-Rod is a Tool” was my next chant and I got my whole section in on it. The brawl was excellent, the Red Sox took command of the situation but they still remained behind in runs.

The game got crazy from there, entering the 9th with the Yankees still up, although the lead was whittled down to 9-8. Mariano Rivera, Mr Automatic came in to boos and disgust from the Fenway Faithful. Our exuberance from the fight still was there but the back-and-forth of the game had left many drained. Did the Sox have a little more moxie in them?

Entering the game, Rivera was in the midst of one of the greatest seasons by a closer, his ERA was a miniscule 0.89, in 50 innings all season he had given up 1 HR. In his entire career Rivera had given up 1 walk-off home run. With Dave McCarty on first, still down a run, and with 1 out, up came Bill Mueller. Before he got to the plate I turned to my sisters and said, “Watch this, he’s going to hit a home run.” Mostly all wishful thinking, I wanted the Sox win and I had Mueller on my Fantasy team and could really have used the HR. Down in the count 3-1, Rivera let loose with another of his famous cutters.

The pitch comes in, CRACK! The ball flies in the air; stuck under the pavilion I couldn’t see the flight of the ball, so I RAN down the aisle tracking it in the air. I reached the edge of the roof just in time to see the ball sail into the Red Sox bullpen. YES! WE WIN! I start screaming. I high-5 the rando standing in his seat next to me, he’s going crazy. I’m going crazy! I run up the aisle high-5’ing everyone. The stadium is ROCKING, the entire building is alive. We came back. It was the single best game of baseball I’ve ever been to.

Of course, that single game changed everything. The mystique was gone, Rivera was mortal. When the ALCS rolled around and it came down to the bottom of the 9th in game 4, once more it was Bill Mueller up against Rivera. The memory of July 24th rang out in my brain. “We’re going to do it!” I knew we would come back. We had to. It was meant to be.

All thanks to July 24th, 2004, the date of the best baseball game I’ve ever been to and I was there.


1 Response to “This Day in History”

  1. 1 The Other Sister
    July 24, 2009 at 4:20 pm

    Best. Game. Ever.

    I still cannot believe I had to leave early to make a flight to Philly for a bachelorette party. And, I can still feel the pain of getting on a flight and not knowing if we had come back. But, the voicemail you left for me when I landed says it all: “[Sounds of loud cheering in the background] THIS IS THE SOUND OF A WIN!!!!!”

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