Never before had I been so nervous and excited for a baseball game. The events of approximately one year ago were still fresh in my mind when the Boston Red Sox in Game 7 of the 2003 American League Championship Series were five outs away from going to the World Series and beating the hated New York Yankees in their house.
It was not to be, though, and long-suffering Red Sox had to go through a long, cold winter before getting another chance in 2004. With so many events leading up this night, I just wanted the game to start.
2003's ALCS Game 7 was exciting enough because the Red Sox came back to win Game 6 and force a seventh and deciding game. Unlike 2003, Boston had won three straight to reach Game 7. Never before in baseball history had a Game 7 been played when one team (in this case, New York) had held a 3-0 series lead - but here we were.
I watched the game with my ailing mother in her hospital room and the entire floor could only guess what was going on judging by my loud celebrations.
Pitching, it was Derek Lowe for the Red Sox and Kevin Brown for the Yankees. David Ortiz got things started early by hitting a two-run homer. Most of the floor heard me yelling. A few innings later, still up 2-0, Johnny Damon was up at the plate for the BoSox with the bases loaded. I thought how nice it would be to get a grand slam. Lo and behold, Damon hit the Javier Vazquez pitch deep to right. I thought right-fielder Gary Sheffield would make a play but no - the ball disappeared behind the wall. I screamed in jubilation - 6-0 Red Sox.
As happy as I was, I was not going to smile until that final out. Damon did it again hitting a two-run shot a innings later, then second-baseman Mark Bellhorn got in on the fun hitting his second long-ball in as many nights.
It was 10-3 in the bottom of the ninth, two outs when Ruben Sierra of the Yankees grounded out to second-baseman Pokey Reese, who then threw it to first-baseman Doug Mientkiewicz and that was it - the most stunning comeback in baseball history was complete.
As soon as that last out was made, they showed a dejected Alex Rodriguez, which prompted me to stick up my middle finger to the TV and yell, "F*** you, A-Rod!"
As incredible as that moment was, I could only imagine the faces of all the critics who said the Red Sox would never beat the Yankees or never win the World Series or whatever. There was only one thing that bothered me that night: they never shown Yankee owner George Steinbrenner's face.
My mother told just a few days before how nice it would be for the Red Sox to come back and beat the Yankees and, of course, win the World Series. Although my mother passed away just a few months later, I was happy that she got to witness those events, especially (and I do mean especially) the latter.
But more on that later.