Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Sweet Emotion

That win took balls, heart and pride. That win took determination and the willingness to pull out a game for your teammates. It’s times like that where Johnny Damon decides to step up, make a game-saving catch, then pour seasoning on the chicken by blasting a go-ahead homer. Thank you, Jesus. And it’s Captain Tek never backing down in the ninth, helping lighten the lead with a homer of his own, making it a one run game and keeping me from doing an all-out collapse on the floor. It’s ball-busting moments like Mueller’s double down the line, or Edgah’s hits, or even the "never give up" attitude after Huff’s heart-wrenching salami sandwich. As Tom Petty would say, they won’t back down.

It’s games like these that punch you in the face and make you realize how lucky you were to indulge yourself into the bowels and deep depths of Red Sox Nation. The pitch-by-pitch nervousness, like your life depends on the win and all those guys have to save it. It started with Bucky Freakin Dent, then the 86 Buckner series. You may as well have just shot the Red Sox franchise dead forever. But, no, 2004 came around and it gave up hope. It was the wildest roller coaster ride of any Sox season, counting 1967, just because it ended in the historic choke/comeback, then the clean sweep of the Birds. World Champs, baby. It has a nice ring to it. I’m just happy I became a Sox fan.

Then 2005 came around and the Sox have been through many not so good times. The adventures of Keith Foulke as he jogs out of the bullpen. The complete meltdown of Alan Embree as a dirt dog and Sox reliable pitcher. Manny asking for a trade and hitting around .270. Mark Bellhorn’s struggles, eventually leading to this DL stint. Edgah and Boomah’s slow starts. But there also were the times you want to hug your Billy Mueller statue and jump around. Like Damon’s emergence as the best leadoff hitter in baseball. Or Papi and Manny fighting for the RBI and home run titles. And how bout Teky and Nixon having wicked awesome seasons. You gotta love that dirty water.

Tonight was the best win of the season. Period, no argument. The Red Sox battled through the loss of their Emancipator, Matt Clement, who made it through the Civil War, but couldn’t stand this blast to the head. Our prayers are with you, Matt, and please get better soon. It was just an all out scary play. The ball was roped, smashed and smoked in every way possible and it hit Clement right around the right ear. Apparently, he’s moving, is alert, and in good spirits. Good news.

Manny Delcarmen had a nice debut, leading to a two-run rally in the top of the ninth against solid closer Danys Baez. The two runs in the tenth also came off Baez. But these Schilling closing appearances are bordering Foulkey territory now. It’s never easy with him. Every time he gives up a run he has one of those looks like he just wants to fry his scrotum in a waffle maker. When he gets the job done, like tonight eventually, it’s all good in Sox Nation. But if not…maybe it is time to go to the rotation. Or is he not healthy?

This win may turn around the season. Sure it was against Tampa, but its these wins that unite the team for the stretch run and start off a nice winning streak. That would be like friggin cold medicine for me right now, a nice long streak. Wake takes the hill tomorrow. I expect a blowout.


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