October 20, 2004

Dan Shaughnessy. The Ninth has touched on something that I've been thinking about a lot for two weeks: "The Red Sox have just played two of the most dramatic postseason games in history, on consecutive nights, in one of the most dramatic situations in postseason history. No one can write about it because we're all going insane. You have any idea how difficult it is to sit down in front of a keyboard and approach this team rationally right now?"

In my late teens and early 20s I was a sportswriter and in the early 1990s, I covered concerts for various newspapers and magazines, so I know a little about writing on deadline. The Ninth says Dan Shaughnessy of the Globe "has lately been doing some of the best writing of his career." I usually don't read the CHB -- I'm beyond sick of his Curse-pimping and negative shots at so many Sox players -- but The Ninth is right.

Shaughnessy has been writing the Globe's front page game stories instead of his more opinionated columns. And all throughout this historic week, Shaughnessy has stepped up with poetic, concise, and stirring prose. (I'd love to know his lead time.) I'm really impressed. Check it out:

After Game 4: "Carlton Fisk in 1975. David Ortiz in 2004. Twelfth inning both times. Hold on to those tickets for this afternoon's fifth game of the American League Championship Series. The left-for-dead Red Sox are still breathing. Down three games to none, down 4-3, in the bottom of the ninth, the Sox last night rallied to tie the game against indomitable Yankee closer Mariano Rivera. They won it at 1:22 this morning when Ortiz hit a Paul Quantrill pitch into the Yankee bullpen to give the Red Sox a 6-4 Game 4 victory. A lot of Bostonians will be sleepy-eyed and late for work today. No problem. Everyone in New England will be wide-eyed when Pedro Martinez gets the ball at 5:10 for the start of Game 5. The Sox trail the American League Championship, 3 games to 1, but suddenly momentum has shifted Boston's way."

After Game 5: "New England is at once sleepless, breathless, and full of hope. David Ortiz and the Red Sox just beat the Yankees in two extra-inning playoff games on the same calendar day. This century-long Sox-Yankee show, featuring themes of revenge and redemption, moves back to New York tonight. In perhaps the most thrilling and torturous postseason game in 104 years of Red Sox baseball, the Sox last night beat the Yankees, 5-4, when the mythic Ortiz singled home Johnny Damon from second base in the bottom of the 14th at 10:59 p.m. It was the longest game in League Championship Series history (5 hours 49 minutes) and came less than 23 hours after the same Ortiz cracked a walkoff homer to win Game 4 at 1:22 yesterday morning. The Hub has never seen two days of baseball drama like this."

After Game 6: "Sunday night the Red Sox were three outs from being swept from the playoffs by the hated Yankees. They had lost a playoff game at Fenway Park by the humiliating score of 19-8 Saturday night and some members of their loyal Nation felt betrayed and abandoned. That was just a few long days, sleepless nights, and extra innings ago. But now the 2004 Boston Red Sox -- the wildest of wild-card entries -- are just one victory from hardball heaven and the greatest baseball comeback story ever told."

No comments: