In 2004, I was with the Yankees when the Red Sox came back and won four straight against us in the ALCS. I was two outs from realizing my dream of going to the World Series and I never got there.
It wasn’t really until the last inning of Game 7 that I thought we may not make it and it wasn’t until that point. I mean, there was no way. We were two outs away in Game 5; we were up with one out in the eighth the next night. So there’s crazy circumstances, there’s crazy ways the ball bounces. So having gone through it and realizing the emotion that was tied into it and how close we had come has helped me keep this in perspective.
I was with the Red Sox in 2002, so I knew a lot of guys on that ’04 Red Sox team, so I know what they did. They simply came to the ballpark and played. They didn’t listen to the TV or the radio or anything else with regard to the odds they were up against. They knew that if they came to the ballpark that day and took a chance and just played, you never know what might happen.
I mean, we beat the Red Sox 19-8 in Game 3 of that series. Think about that, 19-8. They had every reason to throw in the towel, but the Red Sox didn’t throw in the towel. And I don’t expect our ballclub to, either. We have been resilient all year long. We’ve bucked the trend all year long. We’ve battled all year long. And I don’t expect that to change come tomorrow.
Now if I notice that we get caught up in the TV and the radio and what the percentages are, then, yeah, it’s going to be a tough task. But if we commit ourselves to playing one game, just one game … let it all hang out one game and see what happens. I’ve seen the ball bounce too many funny ways over the course of my career.
So I’m still remarkably hopeful that if we keep our perspective and our focus, we’ve got a chance to get back in this thing. But we’ve got to do it starting tomorrow, one game at a time.