The Red Sox had entered ALCS five days before, on October 12, full of swagger and fire. But they ended up losing Games One and Two. Then came Game Three, on October 16th, which they didn't just lose; they got decimated, 19-8.
Former Red Sox General Manager Theo Epstein called it a "colossal defeat." The Boston Globe's Dan Shaughnessy said that in Game Three the Yankees "stripped the Red Sox of all dignity." Every reporter covering the series made it a point to remind Red Sox Nation that no team in baseball history had ever been down 3-0 in a postseason series and came back to win.
Then came the next night, October 17th. It's Game Four, bottom of the ninth, and the Sox are trailing 4-3. They have only one half-inning to keep the series alive. If they don’t, they go home.
That was just a start, of course. But a start that lead to a Sox victory in Game Five. And Game Six. And Game Seven. And so, the Red Sox, after being down 3-0, won the ALCS and headed to the World Series—where they reversed an eighty-six-year “curse” by sweeping the St. Louis Cardinals in four games.
So what does this have to do with the 2012 Red Sox? Simple: it’s all about the story. You see, to me, the story of the Red Sox 2004 postseason is not just about a team clawing its way out of a pit; it’s about the pit itself.
Say if the Red Sox weren’t down those first three games? Say if they didn’t suffer the “colossal defeat” of Game Three, the one they lost by eleven runs? Would the Game Four victory, and the three wins that came after it, be as sweet?
Sox fans have endless stream of words to describe the feeling of finally winning a World Series after eighty-six years: unforgettable, historic, redemptive. But when describing the actual 2004 World Series itself, one term keeps coming up: "anti-climactic."
Or how about their next visit to the World Series? Let’s face it: the Red Sox's 2007 season and postseason didn't have anywhere near the drama of 2004. For most of the season, they were in first place. Hard to get a story out of that, you know?
Once again, what does this have to do with 2012? Basically, the 2012 season, taken as a whole, is like Game Three of the 2004 ALCS, with innings 1-8 of Game Four thrown in. In other words, it was the pits.
The story of the Red Sox isn’t finished. Yeah, they’re still in the pit, but they’ll crawl out. And when they do, we’ll love them all the more because of it. Aristotle, after all, said so… and I’m pretty sure he was a Sox fan.