Thursday, October 19, 2006
SPARKING A HISTORIC COMEBACK
1 ALCS, 0 Abs, 1SB IN BOTTOM OF NINTH OF GAME 4 VS. YANKEES IN 2004,
WITH RED SOX DOWN A RUN AND FACING ELIMINATION
In that situation, you have to be 100% sure you’re going to make it. There were a lot of thing going through my head, like, If I get thrown out, I’m going to be the next Billy Buckner. But I also thought, Do I want to be under the radar and not make an impact - or do I take a chance and see if something special can happen? First base coach Lynn Jones assumed Billy Mueller was going to bunt. I said, “No, I’m going to steal this base.” Billy steps out of the box and they do the signs. They’re looking at the bench and Terry Francona gives the green light. I tip my hat to Terry. Most managers would bunt you over, especially with Mariano on the mound. I’d watched a lot of video on Rivera. I knew he was going to try to hold the ball on me, wait me out. But Maury Wills always said, “Get the maximum lead and get a good jump. Don’t worry about the pitcher or the catcher.” Rivera threw over three times, and then I went on the first pitch. It was a fastball up and away, a great pitch for Posada to throw on. Once I got my jump, I had a good feeling I was going to be safe, but I didn’t realize how close it was. It was bang-bang. We had so many superstars on that team, from Ortiz to Manny to Schilling to Pedro to Johnny, on and on. That was my opportunity to pull my weight.