Baseball exists outside of time.
You can be down to your last inning, or your last out, or your last strike, and there’s always a chance that you can come back and win. Three vivid cases from Red Sox history illustrate this point.
Game 6 of the 1986 World Series. The Red Sox were one strike away from their first World Series since 1918 when a series of hits, errors, and poor relief pitching cost them the game and eventually the series.
Game 5 of the 2008 American League Championship Series. The Tampa Bay Rays were up 7-0 on the Red Sox in the 7th inning, but the Red Sox exploded for eight runs, including JD Drew’s walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth, to win 8-7. (Watch that video- it’s still awesome).
The Mother’s Day Miracle in 2007. Down 5-0 to the Orioles the bottom of the ninth, the Red Sox scored six runs to win on a fielding error that allowed Julio Lugo to score the winning run.
It’s always hard to believe that you can come back and win when you’re facing a big deficit. And the younger you are, the harder it is to believe. But this past Saturday night, a group of young boys, a handful of coaches, and a whole bunch of spectators saw firsthand how true it is, or in the immortal words of Kevin Garnett, how “anything is possible.”
The fact that it was a night game meant that the lights were on at Page Field, and anyone who was anyone in Bedford Baseball was at the field- league commissioners, baseball junkies, friends and family, and just casual baseball fans. Our opponent jumped out to a big lead after a plague of errors and misplays, so entering the last half inning, we were down 8-3 and the prospects were bleak.
Yet somehow, someway, we clawed our way back into the game, one walk at a time, one hit at a time, one wild pitch at a time, and before long it was 8-5 and there was only one out, with the bases full of Diamondbacks.
I watched as kids walked up to the plate with tears in their eyes from the intense emotions. I watched as a boy who hadn’t had a line-drive hit all year stroked a base hit into centerfield to score the 6th run. I watched as my good friend’s son made his way to third base with two outs and the score tied, and watched him sprint home on a wild pitch to score the winning run and send the team into a frenzy. It was a sequence and a moment that was otherworldly, seemingly out of control, absolutely exciting, highly improbable, but completely amazing.
In the postgame lineup, there were tears and long faces on one side, and wild happiness on the other side. On another night, or in one fewer inning, those emotions would have been flip-flopped, and next time these teams meet that might be the case.
But that night, in that crucible of baseball, emotions, wild momentum shifts, and important lessons learned, our boys experienced something neither they, nor I, nor anyone who saw it, will forget for a long, long time.
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