Column: Love that dirty water
Published: Monday, October 14, 2013
Updated: Monday, October 14, 2013 23:10
On Sunday afternoon, Tom Brady and the New England Patriots were locked in battle with Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints.
Throughout the game, New England looked like the Patriots that fans are used to seeing. The offense was producing and the defense was locking down one of the great quarterbacks of our generation.
Joy turned to panic in the final minutes. Brees and the Saints stormed down the field to take the lead. Brady threw an interception. Nothing was going right for New England.
All seemed lost, but then the Saints, much to the dismay of defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, gave the Patriots the ball back with 73 seconds to play.
Never let Tom Brady have the last word.
Brady showed why he is one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game. With no timeouts and 70 yards to gain, the three-time Super Bowl champion drove his team down the field. Using only Julian Edelman, new signee Austin Collie and rookies Kenbrell Thompkins and Aaron Dobson, Brady got the Patriots in the end zone with five seconds to play, giving them a 30-27 win.
A couple hours later, 40 minutes down the road, all was quiet inside Fenway Park.
The Detroit Tigers had dominated the Boston Red Sox the night before. In Game 1 of the American League Championship Series, the Tigers did not allow a hit until there was one out in the ninth inning, taking a 1-0 series lead with a 1-0 victory.
Game 2 was much of the same. Max Scherzer went over five innings without allowing a hit. Detroit’s lineup came alive with a five-run attack in the middle of the game. The Tigers were well on their way to a 2-0 series lead, putting one foot into the World Series.
All seemed lost, but then with two outs in the bottom of the eighth and the Tigers up 5-1, Detroit’s Al Alburquerque gave up a single to Dustin Pedroia to load the bases for David Ortiz.
Never let David Ortiz step up to the plate in a clutch situation in October.
The man known simply as Big Papi took the first pitch from Joaquin Benoit into the Red Sox bullpen, sending everyone from the Boston police officer in the bullpen to the obnoxious kid in Hubbard Hall down at UConn, into a frenzy.
Less than 30 minutes later, Jarrod Saltalamacchia slapped a single to left field, Jonny Gomes scampered across home plate, the Red Sox poured out of the dugout, the Fenway Faithful poured out onto Yawkey Way, and the ticker at the bottom of the scoreboard on Fox said, “Series tied 1-1.”
This is Boston sports at its finest, be it the Red Sox, Patriots, Bruins or Celtics. It is never easy, never. They make you scream. They make you throw things against the wall. They make you cry. They make you wonder why your family brought you up with a love for these teams.
But then, right when you have given up all hope, as I very nearly did twice on Sunday, they grab you by the heartstrings and come crawling back into your life.
The Sox did it back in 2004, trailing the Yankees 3-0 in the ALCS before becoming the first baseball team to ever come back and win four straight games.
The Bruins did it on May 13, when they were down 4-1 with 11 minutes to play in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Maple Leafs. In the blink of an eye, the Bruins were pouring onto the ice towards Patrice Bergeron after his game-winning overtime goal clinched the series.
Growing up a Boston fan, I have grown accustomed to misery; it is a regular thing for all Boston fans.
It is easy for Boston fans to think of all the miserable sports moments of their lives. Bucky Dent’s home run in 1978. Johnny Pesky holding the ball as Enos Slaughter rounded third in 1946. Tony Conigliaro having his career come to a sudden halt. Bill Buckner. David Tyree. The 2013 Stanley Cup Finals. The final month of the 2011 MLB season. Aaron Boone. The 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Every series against LeBron James and the Miami Heat.
The misery goes on and on.
But Boston fans are resilient. In general, we are a bunch of Italian and Irish New Englanders that are too prideful to let anything faze us. Our passion for the games and teams that we love is unparalleled. Despite all the hard times, we stick around and wait, knowing that nights like Sunday are always around the corner.
Dustin Pedoria said it best on Sunday. “When you back us into a wall,” Pedroia said,
“you either do two things: cave or fight. We’re gonna fight.”
With the magical endings on Sunday for two teams that desperately needed to win, you can be sure that as long as that dirty water keeps on flowing, Boston will always put up a fight.
Follow Tim on Twitter @Tim_Fontenault