October 30, 2018

"Defeat May Be Victory In Disguise; The Lowest Ebb Is The Turn Of The Tide." Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1882)


Tom Verducci, Sports Illustrated, October 30, 2018:
[F]or all [of the Red Sox's 119] wins it was one defeat that defined the team's soul and spirit. To deeply understand these Red Sox, not just remember them, you have to hear the hidden story of the longest, most grueling, most absurd loss any team ever suffered in 665 World Series games.

It was half past midnight at Dodger Stadium, and more than an hour after the trains in Boston stopped running and the bars stopped serving, when the Red Sox, still jet-lagged from the 2,611-air-mile trip to L.A., trudged back to their clubhouse with a 3–2 walk-off loss that had taken 18 innings and seven hours, 20 minutes, Series records for toil and time.

"Everybody, clubhouse!" Cora shouted in the labyrinth under the first base stands. "Meeting!"

Cora is a rookie manager who abhors team meetings, so the call to gather, especially at such an hour after two fitfully long days, hinted at the importance of the moment. What happened next will make for the best stories these championship brothers tell when they gather years from now, as their bodies and competitive edges soften. ...

"It's a big reason," Holt says, "why we won the next two games. It's a great example of how the whole group played for each other and would do anything to help the team." ...

No team ever invested more in a World Series loss than did the Red Sox in Game 3. It had all the marks of a devastating defeat, one that had cut their Series lead to 2–1 and had given L.A. an apparent edge in Game 4, since Price and Eovaldi had just pitched. Nobody knew who was starting Game 4 ... Most people saw a beaten team. Cora saw a proud one, which is why he called the team meeting. ...

"There were tears," Holt says. Porcello was one of those crying. ...

[Porcello:] "We just lost a World Series game in 18 innings. But after that [meeting], it didn't feel like we lost. It felt like we won."

A short while later, as Cora unwound from the game, he looked up to see a line outside his office. There stood Price, Porcello and Sale, whose combined contracts are worth $332 million. They all told him they were ready to pitch the next game. ...

About 15 minutes [after the final out of Game 5], on the field, Porcello was crying again. During the last week of the season Porcello, Moreland, Price and second baseman Ian Kinsler—all of whom had been to the World Series with other teams and lost—made a vow over "three, four, five, 13 beers," Porcello said, "that we would do everything we could to win it this time. I can't hold back the tears. ... This . . . it's beautiful."
The World Series parade in Boston will begin tomorrow morning at 11:00 AM.

2 comments:

paul hickman said...

In 5-10-20 years from now , assuming The Dump Administration hasn't destroyed the world ........

My memories of 2018 will be of what happened AFTER the Longest Defeat !

Nobody ever had to come back from a Debacle like that & when Steve Pearce hit that bases-clearing Double I knew the Series was OVER & celebrated appropriately - if that had been his only hit , if he had gone 0 for in every game I'd still have given him MVP because THAT was the Kill Shot that finished LA off.

At the time I knew it & in retrospect it will only grow stronger - yeh maybe Kimbrel doesn't give up a 2 run HR in the 9th if he only had a 1 run lead ? But thankfully we will never know

But it's an old cliche for a good reason - the measure of a Champion Team is what it does after a horrible loss or when it is facing a severe defeat

The Sox dealt with both of those in 1 game & 1 swing of Steve's bat twisted the knife & put it in the books for good

There it shall stay !

Franco Capizzo said...

Nice article. I normally stay 100 miles away from SI and ESPN because they’re usually awful, but when your team wins it all, and you have more of a long-form article, you’ll get some good stuff.