Deja vu all over again...
The Seattle Mariners were in town, and their ace, one of the dominant starting pitchers in baseball, was on the mound, and pitching well. The Sox starter was less effective, and they went to the bottom of the ninth at Fenway with Boston trailing 7-2. But the Seattle bullpen struggled, and a couple of hits and a walk later, the Red Sox were still alive. Eventually, having scored a couple of runs, they loaded the bases, and the left-handed hitting first baseman drove a pitch over the outfielders' heads, and the Red Sox, with the number 3 hitter in the lineup scoring the final run, walked off with a dramatic and unexpected come-from-behind victory, much to the delight of the fans remaining.Everything in that summary is true of last night's game. But that's not the game that I'm actually writing about. The Red Sox and Mariners have done this before. 15 years ago.
The date was April 10, 1998.
The ace was Randy Johnson, not Felix Hernandez. The left-handed hitting 1st baseman was Mo Vaughn1, not Daniel Nava. Nava hit the ball to center, Vaughn to right. And Vaughn's ball left the park, for a 9-7 win, not 8-7. But still, I awoke this morning to the highlights and a sense of extreme deja vu.
April 10, 1998 was Good Friday (and the start of Passover), and the game was played in the middle of the afternoon (a rare 3:00 Fenway start, I think) so as not to conflict with noon and evening services. I was on my way to church to sing, but the traffic wasn't bad, so I was in early, before I could get evening rates in the garage, or at least before I needed to be there, so I was sitting on Bowdoin Street, just below the State House on the back side of Beacon Hill, in a non-parking space, just waiting, reading (Fermat's Last Theorum) and listening to the game. The Red Sox have played over 2500 games in the last 15 years, and, due to the totality of the circumstances of the day, there probably aren't a dozen that I remember better than that one. So, when I see that the Red Sox have beaten the Mariners at Fenway after trailing 7-2 headed to the bottom of the ninth, my first thoughts are of Randy Johnson and Mo Vaughn.
Boston 9, Seattle 7 (4/10/1998)
Last night's game will not be as memorable for me, because I wasn't awake when it happened. I was shocked by the "Red Sox Walk-off" on the NESN screen when my TV turned on at 4:30 this morning, and wondered for a minute whether they accidentally had yesterday's graphics up. But no, it was all new. And so, instead of dropping into a virtual first-place tie percentage points behind the Rays, the Red Sox move a full game up in the standings.
1 - I believe that it was after that game that Vaughn made his "price keeps going up" comments, but I'm not certain of it.