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Sunday, July 16, 2006

Does anyone in Red Sox Nation really wonder, 'What If?'

NESN has been plugging the heck out of their upcoming show, 'What If...', which is purportedly going to answer the question, 'what would have happened if Grady Little had not left Pedro on the mound in Game 7 of the '03 ALCS'.

The ads for this show have been seemingly non-stop. I even heard a promo for it on the radio today, while waiting for the Sox vs A's game to start.

The ads for this show have finally gotten to the point where they are now getting under my skin and I have to wonder, has somebody somewhere at NESN decided that Red Sox Nation is just too happy and content after finally winning the World Series in 04, so they need to stir up some shit and get us all irritated and annoyed by dredging up the outcome of the '03 ALCS and what 'might have happened'?

Does anybody that watched that game really wonder what would have happened? I mean, come on, we all know what would have happened. Why do you think we were all so god-damm pissed off after the game!?

The Sox were up 5-2 in the 8th. Pedro had barely escaped the 7th, and it was obvious to everyone watching the game that he was cooked. I remember watching that game, thinking, 'just get through the 7th and you're done Pedro. Just get through the 7th...' and when he finally did manage to get out of the inning, I felt great. Timlin would be coming in next. We were almost there.

The tandem of Timlin and Williamson had grown to become sure-fire nails for the 8th and 9th innings. Everybody in the entirety of RSN was expecting to see Timlin come in for the bottom of the 8th and I was nothing less than shocked when I saw Pedro come back out for the 8th inning. I remember thinking, 'what is he doing going back out there? Grady, what the hell are you doing here?'

As the 8th inning wore on, I remember I actually felt the presence of 'The Curse', (or whatever you want to call it).

I was not one of those people that went around saying, 'they're cursed, The Sox are cursed,' and I did not go around blaming all of the team's misfortune over the years on that ridiculous 'Curse', but as I watched in disbelief and horror as the 8th inning of that game unfolded, I literally felt it. I could feel the hair on my neck go up. I could not believe what I was watching was happening. It almost did not seem real, like it was some kind of bad dream that you could not wake up from but it was real. What I was seeing was actually really happening. Not only was Pedro in the game in the 8th, but Grady was leaving him in. On purpose. Intentionally. With Timlin's killer arm wasting away in the 'pen, just sitting there waiting to go.

I swear to God could actually feel the presence of that fucking Curse as I watched the Red Sox 5-2 lead wither away and die.

Earlier in the game, my wife had decided she had had enough. She had escaped the insanity and had gone upstairs, leaving me alone to watch the game. I remember pacing around my living room by myself talking to the TV. 'Doesn't he (Grady) know what's on the line? What is he trying to do, help Pedro feel better about himself? It's a little bit late for that kind of stuff now! Timlin in the 8th, Williamson in the 9th, God-Dammit!! Timlin in the 8th, Williamson in the 9th!! GET PEDRO OUT!! GET HIM THE FUCK OUT OF THERE!!'

Here is an extract from an unpublished journal that I kept in 03. Here is part of what I wrote during that game:

Title: Tension and Relief

Abstract: Top of the 8th... ALCS

Body: Tension... and Relief. Tension... and Relief. Relief! As David Ortiz hits a home run off David Wells to make the score 5-2 Red Sox in the top of the 8th. A little breathing room with Timmlan coming up.

When the Yankees are at bat, it is tension. Waiting for Pedro to throw strikes. Hoping nobody gets a hit or a home run.

Relief comes when the Sox get up. I can relax a little. Nothing bad can happen when we are at bat, only good things like, hopefully, runs coming across the plate.

Now we are back to tension. The Sox got one in the 8th and are done. Pedro is coming back out. I don't know if that is such a good move. He gave up a homer in the 7th. Looked a little tired. I'd rather just go with Timmlan here. Tension starts. 2 more innings left (I hope!)


I can't believe what I just watched. I just cant believe it. They left Pedro in in the 8th. He gave up three runs. Now it is a tie game going into the 9th. I just cant understand / believe it. Why didn't they bring in the closers. They just blew this game. I... just... cant.. believe it.



I remember somewhere during the extra-innings, I went to bed. The game was not over but I just knew in my gut The Sox were done and I could not stand to watch it. I tried to go to sleep but I couldn't and I tossed and turned in bed wondering what had happened. Finally at some point in the early morning I got up and put the TV on to try and find out. The first thing that came up when the TV came on were two anchor-people for ABC News, both of them wearing those shiny blue Yankees jackets and wearing big smiles. I just turned the TV back off.

Here's another excerpt from my '03 journal:

Title: They lost

Abstract: Loss in extra innings

Body: Well the Red Sox lost the game. They blew it. Thanks Grady. Way to go. They lost in extra innings. I am too disgusted to write more about it.

And finally:

Title: Aftermath

Abstract: Still feeling the pain

Body: Well it's been over a week now since game 7 and what will be forever known in Red Sox lore as 'The 8th inning'. I still find it mind-boggling what I witnessed. Unbelievable! However, I am not alone. Millions of people feel the same way. Grady will probably be fired (or whatever) this Monday. I still feel a dull kind of ache over it.

Watching the Pats beat the Dolphins in Miami (for the first time ever!) in overtime helped take the sting away though.

I guess the other good news is the Yankees are down 3 games to 2 in the World Series to the Florida Marlins. Another year hoping for the Yankees to lose.



Quit trying to stir us up with the bad old days NESN. We like being happy. As my Wife so eloquently put it, 'Didn't The Red Sox win the Series in 04?'

Yes. Yes, they did. Thank God.


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easy, there, killer. maybe the show will actually try to say that the sox WOULDN'T have won anyway. or it will, but either way it's a damn sight better than that fishing show.

i personally have been BEGGING NESN for more original red sox programming. i think they should get rid of boston vs. new york poker and all that other shit nobody watches and put on more shows like this. also, this show is only the first in a series--a series for which they are taking suggestions. if you think there'd be a better subject for the show, you can tell them.

i agree the ads have been nonstop and that's pretty annoying. but i think any new original programming on the red sox is a step in the right direction for NESN.

Hi Beth!

Yeah I hear ya about some of the filler shows NESN has on, especially all the poker shows. I hate those.

Personally I wish they would do more with The Patriots, but maybe they can't due to broadcasting / licencing, etc.

And they certainly have their share of annoying ads and promos (Comcast vending machine, arg!) but that 'What If..' thing really bugs me. When I started hearing it on the radio too, that was the final straw, thus the rant ;)

I guess you are right, it could come out that The Sox lost the game anyway, but I really doubt that it will. I will be amazed if it comes out that The Yankees still win.

For the record I actually like Charlie Moore, even though his 'job' is to hang out and go fishing all day with guys from the Pats and Sox. And Ted Nugent. Bastard.

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