Sarah D.

Game 4 of the ALCS

During a commercial break, I dashed up to the shower and was forced to part with the hat I had been wearing nonstop, besides showering and sleeping, since the beginning of the ALCS with the Yankees. I was back downstairs, reassured by the soothing presence of my hat on my head, by the time the TV screen showed the aerial view of the ballpark as the players got back on the field. I watched for another half inning, until I ran upstairs and pounced to turn on my radio; fearful of missing a single pitch.

I waited restlessly in my bed for a few tense innings, not knowing what to do with myself. I turned over and over, afraid that if I fell asleep I would miss the game-winner and be forced to tell my grandchildren, "Oh, yes, I was alive for the 2004 ALCS. It was fantastic; unfortunately I was asleep for the final inning of the most important game in Red Sox history." Terrified of this shameful fate, I resorted to sitting up in my bed. At the bottom of the ninth, we were down one run. By then, I had progressed to pacing around the floor of my bedroom, always intent on the clock-radio.

This part of the ninth inning was one of the only parts of the game, the whole ALCS really, where I actually remember exactly how I felt, where I was, and how everything on the field was reflected in my mind. I remember all over my floor, in circles and loops around my room, but not knowing where I was going or anything else that occurred in my life. For these moments, I was hardly in my bedroom at all; my body was simply left behind and the rest of me was at the game, with the radio placed in the middle, a thin, frayed string, bridging the distance between my physical and emotional selves.

Finally, a gasp of life came from the Sox: a walk to Millar from Rivera. Francona sent Dave Roberts to pinch run for Millar. I stopped pacing and stood still, facing the radio. Rivera made a few pick-off attempts at first and then-

There is something disconcerting about the feeling of hearing something without being able to see it. As I listened to the announcers describing Roberts' steal, the exhausting discomfort I felt at not being able to see what was happening on the field was overwhelming. The stealing of a base is a silent act, and I couldn't bear the fact that I couldn't see every glance, every step. But Francona had given Roberts the nod and I resorted to standing still, staring at the radio on my dresser, as though by looking at it I would somehow be able to watch the game unfold. The string connecting my body to the baseball field stretched and quivered in uncertainty as I listened to what happened next.

I never saw Dave Roberts get a good lead off the first, or finally angle his body towards second base and run. I never saw him run, but I could hear the running through the announcers; their sentiment as they realized that Roberts had stepped far enough that there was no chance to turn back. All I could do was hear the passion through their voices that represents the spirit of baseball and of all competitive sports. I could feel Roberts run as though I were watching it on television, or sitting in the stands, or running on the basepath myself. And so the game went on, and Roberts succeeded in stealing second base. I finally exhaled for the first time in the ninth inning. But the game wasn't over, and with a runner on second and no outs, the steal was not an automatic emblem of a victory. But it was a spark, and that was all we needed. Bill Mueller hit a single and scored a run, and we were tied and in extra innings. I don't remember much of this time. I think I got back into bed and laid awake for awhile, until, finally, David Ortiz, our behemoth-hero, walked up to bat with the confidence and solidity of a bear. With Manny on first, Ortiz hit a home run. I don't remember this either, but I remember what happened after it.

I ran into the hallway, internally debating whether I should inform my Sox-fanatic mother, or my indifferent father and sister, about our miraculous victory. Instead I chose to go back to bed. I fell asleep, content in my personal euphoria; the string that had connected me to the game through the radio was now connecting all of Red Sox Nation together, as we shared such inner peace and finally shut our eyes.




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