In the wake of the disheartening 19-8 debacle in the ALCS Game 3, I wrote on these pages that this Red Sox team had choked and appeared gutless.
I was obviously wrong - very wrong - and seldom so happy that I have been. I apologize to the Red Sox and RSN. This team has guts - win game seven or not - maybe more guts than any previous Sox team.
With the opportunity to completely crush the Red Sox for good, already down three games to none, it has been the Empire that has blinked, choked, and folded in Games 4, 5, and 6. Whether the outcome was ultimately a Win or a Loss in Game 6, Schilling's gutty and completely dominant pitching performance has to go down as one of the great clutch appearances in baseball history - akin to a hobbled Kirk Gibson's immortalized pinch-hit HR against Oakland. Schilling, often a public lightning rod because of his propensity to say what he thinks, offered the ultimate backup for that behavior, and has earned the right to say anything, anytime in my opinion. The Horse, and the leader this team has needed - he leads by doing.
Men In Black
And credit is due to the umpiring crew - after blowing several calls in favor of the Empire so far this Series - they caucussed about Bellhorn's HR and A-Rod's groundout/interference play. They took the time and care to get it right, in a critical situation, so the player's could rightly decide the outcome. Nice job.
Kudos to Tito: he has rallied this team when they could easily have folded after taking a humiliating Game 3 beating, has made the right pitching moves when needed, and gave his players a chance to stay in it. Theo may have been exactly right: he was the right guy for this frenzied town, obsessive press, and freaked-out franchise. Good job - win or lose game 7. Nice job, Tito. I think you earned a return engagement in '05.