A Long Day’s Journey into Immortality
That game, game seven, not only lived up to the expectations, it surpassed them. I remember that night. I was going to college deep in the heart of New Hampshire; Sox fans were ubiquitous. In every room, TV’s beamed lights onto nervous but excited faces. By the seventh inning stretch, those same faces were beaming right back.
The Sox were up 4-1, and Pedro was cruising. And this time, the Sox had plenty of quality arms if and when Pedro got in trouble. When the fans sang about the good times never having felt so good, even during this away game, they meant the exact moment they were in.
I was having a hard time. It appears that I had done a lot of taunting during the previous six game stretch and tomorrows menu seemed certain to read: Fresh Crow, no waiting. In an attempt to change the Yankees luck in the fifth inning, I walked across the Green to the common room in the main hall, as if a different TV would tell a different story.
Taking it Personally
It only made things worse. Happy, excited Sox fans were trying to control their emotions lest they offend the gods again. But their quiet, confident giddiness was more annoying than any outright cock-surety.
By the time I returned to my room for the certain denouement, I felt as if I had heard all of New England take part in the largest Neil Diamond karaoke performance of all time.
That all changed in the bottom of the eighth. A lot of things changed in the bottom of the eighth. That’s when that much-anticipated trouble came for Pedro, and that of the long-suffering Sox fans was hard behind.
Boston began the bottom of the inning with a 5-2 lead, but that lead was threatened after Pedro retired the first batter.
First, Jeter doubled, followed by a single from Bernie; that scored Derek. The game was now 5-3. Still-excited voices hoped that Red Sox manager, Grady Little, would call upon a reliever. Little did go to the mound, but not the bullpen.
That move was controversial but not unprecedented. Pedro was his best pitcher, the team still had a two run lead, and there was only one man on. But when Martinez promptly gave up a grounds rule double to Matsui, putting Yankees on second and third with one out, it seemed to all observers that it was time to pull Pedro.