BY JOHN McALEAVEY | I didn’t really know what I wanted to write about when I sat down for this week’s My 2 Sense. The idea I started kicking around in my head was something sports related that I was thankful for-tomorrow is Thanksgiving after all. It took a while, but when news broke that the Los Angeles Dodgers had found their new manager, Dave Roberts, I had my inspiration. He is the man who authored one of my most thankful baseball moments ever—an iconic 90-foot sprint that changed everything for a game, a team, a franchise, a nation (“Red Sox Nation”), and me.
At the 2004 Major League Baseball trade deadline, Boston General Manager, Theo Epstein, traded for the speedy Roberts. He was 32-years old and had already played five seasons of big league outfield for the Cleveland Indians and Los Angeles Dodgers. Who could ever have guessed that this seemingly innocuous transaction would wind up playing an enormous part in finally ending the franchise’s 86-year World Series drought, otherwise known as the Curse of the Bambino? Certainly not I. Roberts will never have to buy a drink in New England for the rest of his life because of something he did that took just a shade over three seconds to accomplish. I’m referring to “the steal” of course. The Yankees held a 3-0 advantage in the 2004 ALCS and were ahead 4-3 in game 4 with the best closer on the planet on the mound. Insurmountable right? Somehow, Kevin Millar bested Mariano Rivera for a walk leading off the bottom of the 9th inning. This set up Roberts’ pinch-running heroics. Everyone in the world knew he was going to try and swipe second base; it was why he was acquired in the first place. So, off he went on pitch #1; and I held my breath until the umpire signaled safe. Unbelievable! The tying run was in scoring position; he did his job. Of course, Bill Mueller followed with a rocket up the middle that knocked Mo on his rear end and evened the score. From there Big Papi took over, providing clutch hit after clutch hit; and Boston went on to win 8 straight games (the ALCS and World Series over the St. Louis Cardinals).
The Red Sox have won two more World Series Championships (2007 and 2013) since the magical 2004 season; so their fortunes have certainly turned for the better. I often wonder. What if Roberts didn’t get such a great jump. What if Jorge Posada’s throw arrived a split second sooner. Would history be dramatically different? Thank goodness we don’t have to find out. Amazingly, I am so very thankful for someone who did not have a single at-bat in the ALCS and never appeared in the World Series. Dave’s dash was that devine! Good luck as the skipper of the Dodgers, Dave!
And that is My 2 Sense for this week. Thanks for reading my blog each week, and for all of the good folks here at More Sports Now, Happy Thanksgiving!