Wow, if you didn't see the Red Sox/Rays game 5 of the ALCS on Thursday night (10/16/08), you need to stop reading this post and go watch it, from the seventh inning on. No seriously, it was that good. I will give you a minute to stop reading this and pull up another browser and search for the game.
Now that you are up to speed, let's continue. The experience of Thursday night is dear to my baseball heart, and was the single greatest baseball ALCS comeback in 79 years. Previous to the game, the Red Sox were losing the series 3 games to 1, meaning that this game 5 was an elimination game. It was the 171st game of the season for the BoSox, and possibly the last. To say things started rocky would be a litotes- Daisuke got worked, good. The bullpen didn't offer much assistance either, and two hours into the game the Sox were losing 7-0. Did you know that the last time the Red Sox got shut out at home in the postseason was in 1918? But no, not this year, not in our house! Booyah! With two outs in the seventh, and men at 1st and 3rd base, MVP-candidate Pedroia stepped up to the plate. He worked a good count, and hit a single, eliminating a shutout and setting the stage for a Papi blast. And that, my good friends, is exactly what happened. David Ortiz, the Gojilla of baseball, absolutely creamed a Grant Balfour pitch into the right field bleachers, scoring behind two other baserunners. I bet Grant Balfour had wished he had in fact granted a ball four to Papi! (That's a Dave original, and has been my favorite joke of this series.) The seventh inning ended with the score still 7-4. But now it was time for the bullpen to wake the heck up. Papelbon, the most intense closer you will ever see in your life, shut the Rays down and primed the game for an unbelievable Red Sox comeback. In the eighth inning, the "Wheel"-er came loose (My second favorite series joke, if you don't get it, don't worry about it) and Bay walked on four straight pitches. Then Drew, the beloved and silent Drew, stepped up to the plate and absolutely destroyed a pitch to the same location as Ortiz' the inning before! HA HA! "Bedlam in Boston" as TBS claimed. All of a sudden it was 7-6 Rays. Do you think we were done?! NEVER. After Lowrie flied out and Casey struck out (2 outs, we do our best work with 2 outs), Mark Kostsay got a double (which bounced off Upton's glove in centerfield). Then it was Coco Crisp's turn. Yes, for all you baseball non-aficionados, his name is Coco Crisp (Covelli Crisp actually). Coco had an enduring 10 pitch battle with Wheeler before he got a hit on the 11th pitch and scored Kotsay, tieing the game. Masterson, the young, tall, strikingly handsome, high-Red Socks-wearing reliever came on in the 9th, and forced the Rays to hit into a double play, and pretty much just shut them down. Now for the top of the ninth. Keep in mind, I was going insane at this point of the game. I couldn't stand still; I was pacing all over, bouncing my knees, fiddling with my keys, blinking uncontrollably and talking incessantly. In the top of the ninth, with two outs (I love 2 outs...) Kevin Youkilis got to second base on a gift, with J.D. Drew up again. That amazing, emotionless J.D. Drew. And can you guess what he did? HE SMACKED THE BALL INTO RIGHT FIELD SCORING YOUKILIS! The Red Sox won the game! They won! They won! They won! They won! It was utter bliss! I went nutso with my brother and our friends! Oh wow, that was a game for the ages. But you know that, you watched it.