No amount of angst that the Sox gave us was worse than 1986. It was a minor miracle the Sox made it to the series that year. The Angels had the Sox beat. Up 5-2 in the 9th with two outs, they were about to beat the Sox in 5 games, but then Don Baylor hit a 2-run homerun, followed soon afterward by another 2-run shot by Henderson, and the Sox took an improbable 6-5 lead. Angels tied it up in the 9th, but a sac fly in the 11th by Henderson ended up being the game winner. The Angels then were toast, and the Sox won the next 2 games easily. And then in game 6 of the World Series, Sox broke a tie in the top the 10th, taking a 2-run lead. They had the World Series won. They had the Mets beat. Two outs, nobody on, they had the damned World Series won. Something was about to happen that we as Red Sox fans were told would never happen: the Sox were about to win a World Series. In our lifetime. And then the bottom fell out, just like it did for the Angels in the ALCS. Three straight singles, a wild pitch to tie the game, and a ball through Buckner's leg, and the game was lost, and like the Angels, the Sox were toast afterwards.
After '86 it seemed as if the Sox were truly cursed. Not by any sort of Curse of the Bambino, but by a curse of expectation. The weight of finally winning a World Series seemed to heavy for any team to handle. In '03, the Sox had the Yankees beat in the ALCS, until they didn't because Grady Little had to leave a fatigued Pedro Martinez in the game too long.
2004 was when everything changed. It took a group of players who labeled themselves 'the idiots' to finally deliver a World Series, but the drama of those playoffs were the ALCS. The Yankees had the Sox beat. They had the Sox down three games to none, and no major league baseball team had ever come back from that deficit. Yankees had a 4-3 lead in the 9th with the best closer to ever play the game, Mariano Rivera, on the mound. But a walk, a stolen base, and a single tied it up, and a 2-run homerun by Ortiz won it in the 11th. Sox ended up besting Rivera again in game 5 and winning in the 14th inning with an RBI single by Ortiz. Then game 6 was Curt Schilling's bloody sox game, and game 7 a blowout. The Sox then steamrolled the Cards in 4 straight. Every Sox fan felt both joy and an unbelievable relief with that World Series win. The weight of failure and disappointment was finally taken off the Sox. And to prove it they won again in '07.
Nothing can ever beat for a Sox fan the feeling of '04, but this World Series win was something special also. In '11 the Sox were supposed to be a 100-win team, until they fell apart in September. And then in '12 they were awful. Beyond awful. But to turn it around the way they did this year with all their come-from-behind wins, and Ortiz's grandslam in game 2 of the ALCS (when it looked like the Sox were dead in the water) was remarkable. When Koji Uehera struck out Carpenter to end the series, you just had to smile.
"Dave Zeltserman has had to put himself in the shoes of any number of disreputable types in his estimable noir novels - hit men, out-of-control cops, old coots who think they’re saving the world by weeding a field. Now, in “A Killer’s Essence,’’ comes the ultimate in empathizing with the dark side. Zeltserman, who lives and dies with the Red Sox, creates a protagonist who - the horror - is a Yankees fan."
Anyone who wants to read a very unique supernatural crime thriller and at the same time relive the 2004 ALCS should look for this book!
"It took you getting sent off to prison for the Sox to finally win a World Series. Could you imagine if we were running books in New York when the Sox were down three nothing to the Yankees? We would’ve cleaned up. Nothing I like better than taking money off asshole Yankee fans."
One of Willis's victims is a Sox fan.