In My Life
There are places I'll remember All my life though some have changed Some forever not for better Some have gone and some remain All these places have their moments With lovers and friends I still can recall Some are dead and some are living In my life I've loved them all
It so happens that I was born in the year 1980. This small happenstance--the simplest of circumstances and yet, on this miraculous night, seeming a reward simply for living--means that I was alive to experience this enormous, inestimable, improbable moment.
To experience Ruben Sierra's clumsy ground ball to second base, where Pokey Reese cradled it in his glove, and taking his time, tossed it to Doug Mientkiewicz.
To experience the camera shot on television from the dugout, the grass shining in the Yankee Stadium lights as dozens of men in grey charged toward the mound, the very essence and picture of joy.
To experience Pedro Martinez, back at Yankee Stadium in Inning 7, Game 7, stalking with a satanic smirk back off the field after recording three outs, a perfect erasure.
To experience Mike Timlin squinting in toward five batters, and defeating them all with pitches borne along on sheer adrenaline.
To experience Derek Lowe, his wide-open swooping delivery, his face suddenly--finally--calm, watching his bewitching sinkers dribble back into the assured gloves of his infielders. I owe that man an apology.
To experience the home runs by Johnny Damon, Mark Bellhorn, and David Ortiz landing in the upper decks, screaming miracles.
To be left speechless by Curt Schilling's bleeding heroism on the mound in Game 6.
To be left rubber-legged by a pair of the most classic games ever played in New England, games 4 and 5 at Fenway Park, the grande dame of them all who has suffered through too much for so long.
To stand in a bar in Lowell, Massachusetts with dozens of screaming strangers, standing together as if we're family, talking as if we're old friends, looking up to watch those men charge the field, to watch the men in the tunnel soaking one another in the champagne that just a year ago was wheeled back again from the losing locker room.
To look on, beaming, then suddenly overcome, as John Henry and Tom Werner reached out to receive the American League trophy.
The symmetry is profound. The most rewarding sights of the night for me were the glimpses I got of Tim Wakefield: first in the dugout, watching the field with Kevin Millar's arm slung around his shoulders, and then lost in the mob on the very mound where he stood just one year ago and became the patsy, the fool, the sacrificial lamb. The very existence of Tim Wakefield has made my heart grow by miles tonight.
There has been a theory that Red Sox fans wouldn't know what to do with a victory like this. The truth is, things are different. But in a way, it feels beautifully natural. It feels like a dawn we've always expected, and through our faith our eyes have been adjusted to the light.
I know it will take me days, months, years to process what I've just witnessed. I know it will take a layering of experience to make this phenomenon tower as it should. And I will admit that my reaction has surprised me; my overwhelming response tonight has not been the bloodthirsty sense of vengeance I expected, or even increased hunger for The Ring, but rather a deep, satisfied, resounding sense of pride.
Johnny Damon looked into the camera tonight on the field, and after thanking the usual suspects, he locked eyes with the lens and gave his heartfelt gratitude to the fans. John Henry, Curt Schilling and all the rest did so as well. To a man, those of us watching here were on their minds. They had carried our hope onto the field and returned it to us renewed, and upon doing so, acknowledged the gift of our faith.
There will, of course, be more to say. In the ensuing days there will be plenty of time to say it all. But for now, in the wee hours of the immortal night of October 20, 2004, the feeling is one of utter, unabashed pride. They are mine, these precious, vaunted men. They are ours, never to be let go. They belong to us, we chosen few, and no one will ever take them away.