Sometime late in the night of October 17, 2004, the world changed. Up became down. Losers became winners. Winners became losers.
From the rocky shores of Maine to the tiny towns of New England to the Hub that is Boston, the change was felt.
Throughout the metropolitan area and the five boroughs of New York, especially in the Bronx, the earth moved.
Red Sox nation felt the change. So did the Yankee empire. And the world hasn’t been the same since.
What a colossal change. From the time they purchased Babe Ruth from the Red Sox before the 1920 season right up until that fateful 2004 ALCS, the Yankees dominated this rivalry. (And many argued that Yankees-Red Sox really wasn’t even a rivalry — it was a nail vs. a hammer, and the Bronx bombers did all the hammering.)
Curse of the Bambino
It was the Curse of the Bambino, a phrase first coined by columnist Dan Shaughnessy of the Boston Globe. A curse that lasted longer than a lifetime.
Oh sure the Red Sox had their moments, American League pennants in 1946, 1967, 1975 and 1986. But they went 86 years without winning a World Series.
Meanwhile, the Yankees built dynasty upon dynasty, 39 pennants and 26 World Championships between 1921 and 2000. And they had their way with the Red Sox in every big game, like 1949 and 1978 and 2003 and so many others.
Then came Game 4, 2004 ALCS, when the Red Sox rallied to beat the Yankees in 12 innings and began the most improbable playoff run in baseball history. One bloody sock and three games later, the Sawx were American League champions and on their way to their first World Series triumph since 1918.
Red Sox Rule the World
Boston won another World Series in 2007.
Meanwhile the Yankees, in a reversal of roles, have failed to win a playoff series since, failed to even make the playoffs last year.
And so far this year, the Red Sox have played the Yankees eight times — and won all eight games. Blowouts and comebacks, shutouts and one-run decisions, Boston has won them all.
The Red Sox grind out at-bats and get the big hits; the Yankees leave runners in scoring position. The Yankee bullpen falters; Boston holds the fort. New York starters sometimes fail to get out of the third inning; Boston gets a good pitching performance almost all the time. And when they don’t, they simply outslug the once-vaunted Bombers.
Yes, it’s a different world now.