Wednesday, October 13, 2004: You know what? This might be typical Sox fan rationalization, but that was about as productive a loss as you could imagine — interesting, because it could have been the worst imaginable loss. Had we lost 8 or 10 to 0 with Mussina twirling a no-hitter or perfect game, I’d say that might be so crushing that we might go down in 5. But this loss? Jesus — that Yankee Stadium crowd just died. It was 8-0. Then in the space of an inning it was 8-7. Our guys never relented. Timlin choked, but not as bad as Tito did in keeping him in when Myers was available to pitch to a lefty, which would have had Timlin out of the game and someone else in who may not have given up a two run double. That’s a different game if Nixon does not have to go up there in the ninth hacking at the first pitch to try to get us one run closer with one swing.

Yes, in pro sports there are no good losses, no moral victories, but as great as Sox fans are, anyone who was not counting this as a loss, hoping for a Pedro rebound, wondering what our psyche would be like is either lying or is eight years old and thus full of irrational thoughts. The game nearly killed me. I was an emotional wreck. For 6+ innings I was disconsolate. But the key is that we did what this team has done all year — we never gave up hope, we never faded, we never stopped fighting. There are no good losses, but this loss could have been a lot worse, and I expect what we did in the 7th and 8th inning to carry over to today. (But don’t you wish Ortiz was just a little faster, or that he had gotten one more pound per square inch of force on that ball?)
The thing is, Mussina took a perfecto into the 7th, our leadoff hitter struck out four times, our manager forgot what game they were playing, and even when things did go well, Ortiz’s ball manages to stay in the park. Schilling was awful, likely because of the ankle injury. The bullpen was inconsistent when not simply mismanaged. And yet with all of that, we almost came back and won. Surely we’ll improve in many areas tonight. Surely they know how big this is — game one is never a must win, and no one thought Schill would not find a way to pull it out. Now the guys know what the situation is, and it is as close to a must win as things get. This series will go deep, it will go back to New York, and we all knew that would be the case.
Now, in maybe the ultimate sports cliché, we just have to take one game at a time. The most important game is the next one. If we win with Pedro on the mound, we have earned a split in Yankee Stadium and this becomes a five game series with us having home field advantage. If I’d been offered that scenario on Sunday, I’d have taken it, as would any sane Sox fan, and even most of us insane ones.
I think some of the edge might be off for me now. Yesterday was tough — I was pretty much worthless once I finished running errands. Now, though, I can deal. I still want 7:00 to roll around, of course, but with somewhat less of the desperation of yesterday. Then again, for the last hour or so, all I have done is deal with baseball. So maybe I am just kidding myself. Yes. I am kidding myself. I won’t function right for the next three weeks. I am a Red Sox fan. That is the reality.
We win today. Pedro may think the Yankees are his Daddy. But there comes a time in a boy’s life when he needs to whoop Daddy in one-on-one, to show that the boy is a man. Tonight Daddy gets that whuppin’.

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