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Balanced Fare: We Report, You Deride

Sunday, July 21, 2002

Bill Buckner Lives! Or, Impeach Nixon!

Another thriller in the Bronx on Sunday, as 55,000 screaming maniacs head for home delighted with the Yankees 9-8 victory over their dreaded AL East rivals, the Red Sox. The Red Sox show good character by twice overcoming deficits and taking the lead, but reveal their true character in a thrilling bottom of the ninth.

The Yankees are trailing 8-7 to start the bottom of the ninth. The Stadium is rocking as the crowd stand and pleads for a rally. Jason Giambi works back from an 0-2 count to tap a checked-swing single down the left field line on a 3-2 pitch; Enrique Wilson comes in to run for him. Bernie Williams then singles to right. First and third, nobody out? NO! Rightfielder Trot Nixon chooses this moment to pay a personal homage to '86 Series goat Bill Buckner by allowing the ball to roll under his glove and back to the right field wall. The two base error allows Wilson to score from first as Williams chugs into third.

Holy Cow! Score tied at 8, a man on third, nobody out. The Sox elect to intentionally walk the next two batters and load the bases. Then, with the Stadium in bedlam, the Sox show that this "walk" idea can be taken to far by walking Jorge Posada on a 3-2 pitch, forcing Williams in from third. "Start spreading the word. I'm leaving today. I want to be a part of it..." as a full house roars its approval.

A great three game set that exceeded the hype. And how can the Sox lift "The Curse"? Got me. Maybe spread Ted Williams' ashes, or ice chips, around Fenway. But talk about a good team that is not quite good enough...

UPDATE: Can we get some quotes, please? How about from Jeff Weaver, a newly acquired Yankee from the Tigers. Weaver tied a Yankee record by giving up five homers and then sat in the dugout to watch as his teammates bailed him out of the "L":

"If you struggle and your team pulls you through, that's what it's all about," said Weaver, who failed to protect leads of 5-1 and 7-6. "That's the best three games I've seen in professional baseball, no doubt about it."

And from Red Sox manager and baseball fan at heart, Grady Little:

"You can call them heartbreakers if you want to, but this was one of the most exciting weekends I've ever spent in the game of baseball."

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