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Feud, Part One…
Three, 2004 ALCS — The Lowest of the Low
score: Yankees 19, Red Sox 8
Yankees had administered a crushing, demoralizing 19-8 thrashing in front of
what remained of a thoroughly disheartened Fenway Park crowd and what remained
of an equally deflated TV audience that extended throughout Red Sox Nation, from
Nova Scotia to Nantucket and well beyond. Over the three games, the Yankees had
a team batting average of .377, while the Red Sox pitching staff was embarrassed
by an ERA of 11.52. The Red Sox were teetering on the brink of a humiliating
Series sweep. By the time the final out was recorded, Fenway Park was all but
empty. Those disillusioned fans that remained showered their former heroes with
vitriol that would almost have made Yankee Stadium look welcoming.
battle in the ancient blood feud between the two venerable American League
franchises from New York and Boston seemed destined to end with a whimper and
not a wallop.
shows in Boston were alive with invective, venom, finger pointing, and
defeatism. There were calls for Terry Francona’s head on a platter. He was being
called another Grady Little, a name tantamount to Benedict Arnold in its infamy
throughout these benighted colonies. In New York, radio stations and tabloids
were crowing loud and long about yet another Boston choke . . . like the one in
2003, the one in 1986, the one in 1978 . . . and on and on. The only Sox fans
heard from, though, were those who still had enough energy left.
were beaten down, subdued. There was no chance now.
again, we were reminded that no team, ever, had come back from a 0-3 deficit to
win the final four games. For the second year in a row, it looked like the
Yankees would whip the Red Sox and go on to represent the American League in the
World Series, but this time without even a respectable challenge by the Sox.
Game Four of the 2004 American League Championship Series was poised like a
rusty guillotine above the bowed necks of Red Sox Nation. With the New York
Yankees leading the ALCS three games to none—the last game a disheartening,
embarrassing, soul-destroying slaughter in front of their own fans at Fenway
Park—the only thing remaining was the final, fateful blow. At least the end
would be quick.
as if the Red Sox had not lost before, but they had always managed to make it
excruciatingly close, to come within five outs—or even one strike—of victory.
This time was embarrassing. Humiliating. This time it was nothing but a rout.
Could anything conceivably be worse for a Sox fan? We’re used to defeat, but
this was shameful. 19-8. A sinking feeling that could sink no lower. Boston had
bottomed out. We were reminded time and time again that no team had ever come
back from such depths. We were condemned to another long winter, and another
spring and summer of “19-18” taunts and T-shirts. The next season would find us
all bewildered, groping to find any semblance of self-respect as Sox fans. At
least there was some healing over the months after 2003’s Game Seven. If the
2004 Sox were swept by the Evil Empire, the wound was going to sting and fester
and might never heal. If it scarred over at all, the scars were going to run
How did it
all come to this? Let’s step back and review a little of the history between
these two teams, before resuming the story of the 2004 American League pennant
forces drove two grown men to write an entire book on the Sox/Yankees rivalry
from the Sox point of view? Is God a Red Sox Fan? Find out next week, in another
Boston Dirt Dogs exclusive excerpt from Blood Feud: The Red Sox, the Yankees, and the Struggle
of Good versus Evil. And to get the full story, pick up your copy of
Blood Feud, available this March at fine bookstores everywhere and online