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My Favorite Postseason Moment

Imagine that you're a professional baseball player. You're not the best player in the league, not by a long shot, but you have dedicated your life to achieving the goal of reaching baseball's biggest stage, and you've accomplished it. Now, imagine you get the opportunity to play in the Postseason. You realize that your contribution will be a small one, perhaps as a defensive replacement late in a game or as a pinch runner in a key moment. You relish the chances that you get because they are somewhat few and far between. "Many guys face the same struggle," you tell yourself, "but it's our job to make the most of the opportunities we're given."

Then, suddenly, you are thrust into the spotlight as the one guy who can make a miracle happen. You find yourself alone on an island with 35,000 fans looking directly at you, praying to whomever they worship to give you the speed of Hermes and make you their deliverer. You find the right moment, put every ounce of effort and desire that you possess into the simple motion of running 90 feet, and using the barbaric yawps of the 35,000 lost and desperate souls, you slide into history.

The amazing thing? Your accomplishment didn't win a game, or tie the score. It merely set in motion a course of events that would end with an entire city praising your act as the solitary moment when a mythic curse was finally lifted.

Pretty dramatic stuff, huh?

As all of you surely know by now, the moment I'm describing is Dave Roberts' stolen base in game four of the 2004 ALCS. The Red Sox were down three games to none, were trailing 4-3 in the bottom of the ninth inning, and just happened to be facing the greatest closer in baseball history, Mariano Rivera. In short, their season appeared to be over. It would be another heart-wrenching disappointment. Another year of "Why us?!" from a Boston community convinced that their ancestors must have offended the Gods in some heinous way to deserve the 80 or so years of torment that they had endured.

Then, Kevin Millar drew a walk. No great accomplishment, to be sure, but every Red Sox fan began to feel those torturous pangs of hope creeping back in. They still needed a miracle. Somehow, Millar had to be brought home to tie the score. If that could miraculously happen against Rivera, perhaps anything was possible. Manager Terry Francona then made a decision that was common sense: he needed a pinch runner for Millar.

Roberts entered that game having not seen action in 10 days. He went to first base, stretched a little bit, and then took his lead. He would be attempting the near impossible - to steal a base when everyone in the stadium knows you're going to do it. Stealing bases is tough enough when you still have some small element of surprise. Roberts had been an accomplished base stealer his entire career, but after the midseason trade that brought him to the Red Sox from the Dodgers, his thievery had dried up a bit. He had 45 stolen bases in 2002, 40 in 2003, and 33 in just 68 games in 2004 before the trade. In the 45 games after, he hadswiped just five bags. But in game four of the ALCS, he had to steal his sixth. And everyone knew it.

Rivera tried to pick Roberts off three consecutive times, almost getting him the third time, before he finally delivered a pitch to the plate. Roberts took off, kept his head down the whole way, and slid headfirst into the bag just ahead of the sweeping tag of Derek Jeter. Jorge Posada actually made a great throw, but Roberts jump was just good enough.

Bill Mueller followed with one of the all-time clutch Postseason at-bats, delivering a single to score Roberts and tie the game. The Red Sox would eventually win the game in the 12th inning and begin one of the most remarkable stretches in sports history. They would win seven more games in a row before hoisting the World Series trophy. It is still the only time in baseball history that a team has fought back from a 3-0 deficit in a seven game series to win 4-3.

It was Roberts' steal that was the catalyst for the most dramatic comeback in sports. One play, and a simple one at that, became the most memorable moment in the history of the Red Sox proud franchise. It wasn't a home run or a leaping catch at the wall to end a World Series game seven. It was one man doing something that everyone knew he was going to do. That stolen base allowed the Red Sox and their fans to have a brief glimpse of sunlight after decades in the shadows. For that one moment, as they watched Roberts slide safely into second base, every heart in Boston was lifted and the entire city seemed to cry out in one voice, "WE CAN DO THIS!"

I was 19 years old when that game was played. I remember watching from my house in my college town as Roberts came in for Millar and thinking that this was going to be a special moment. There was a party at my house that night, but it stopped when Millar drew the walk. It didn't matter if you were a Red Sox fan or a Yankee fan, or a baseball fan at all, you inherently grasped the gravity of the situation. When Roberts took off, and Posada's throw arrived just a heartbeat too late, the entire room cried out. You can live your entire life and not get to experience true drama. It is a term that gets thrown around a bit to liberally, in my opinion, but when describing that moment, it's the only word to use. That stolen base was dramatic. It was legendary. And it's my favorite postseason moment.What's your favorite #postseason moment? Tweet me @rwags614 .

Imagine that you're a professional baseball player. You're not the best player in the league, not by a long shot, but you have dedicated your life to achieving the goal of reaching baseball's biggest stage, and you've accomplished it. Now, imagine you get the opportunity to play in the Postseason. You realize that your contribution will be a small one, perhaps as a defensive replacement late in a game or as a pinch runner in a key moment. You relish the chances that you get because they are somewhat few and far between. "Many guys face the same struggle," you tell yourself, "but it's our job to make the most of the opportunities we're given."

Then, suddenly, you are thrust into the spotlight as the one guy who can make a miracle happen. You find yourself alone on an island with 35,000 fans looking directly at you, praying to whomever they worship to give you the speed of Hermes and make you their deliverer. You find the right moment, put every ounce of effort and desire that you possess into the simple motion of running 90 feet, and using the barbaric yawps of the 35,000 lost and desperate souls, you slide into history.

The amazing thing? Your accomplishment didn't win a game, or tie the score. It merely set in motion a course of events that would end with an entire city praising your act as the solitary moment when a mythic curse was finally lifted.

Pretty dramatic stuff, huh?

As all of you surely know by now, the moment I'm describing is Dave Roberts' stolen base in game four of the 2004 ALCS. The Red Sox were down three games to none, were trailing 4-3 in the bottom of the ninth inning, and just happened to be facing the greatest closer in baseball history, Mariano Rivera. In short, their season appeared to be over. It would be another heart-wrenching disappointment. Another year of "Why us?!" from a Boston community convinced that their ancestors must have offended the Gods in some heinous way to deserve the 80 or so years of torment that they had endured.

Then, Kevin Millar drew a walk. No great accomplishment, to be sure, but every Red Sox fan began to feel those torturous pangs of hope creeping back in. They still needed a miracle. Somehow, Millar had to be brought home to tie the score. If that could miraculously happen against Rivera, perhaps anything was possible. Manager Terry Francona then made a decision that was common sense: he needed a pinch runner for Millar.

Roberts entered that game having not seen action in 10 days. He went to first base, stretched a little bit, and then took his lead. He would be attempting the near impossible - to steal a base when everyone in the stadium knows you're going to do it. Stealing bases is tough enough when you still have some small element of surprise. Roberts had been an accomplished base stealer his entire career, but after the midseason trade that brought him to the Red Sox from the Dodgers, his thievery had dried up a bit. He had 45 stolen bases in 2002, 40 in 2003, and 33 in just 68 games in 2004 before the trade. In the 45 games after, he hadswiped just five bags. But in game four of the ALCS, he had to steal his sixth. And everyone knew it.

Rivera tried to pick Roberts off three consecutive times, almost getting him the third time, before he finally delivered a pitch to the plate. Roberts took off, kept his head down the whole way, and slid headfirst into the bag just ahead of the sweeping tag of Derek Jeter. Jorge Posada actually made a great throw, but Roberts jump was just good enough.

Bill Mueller followed with one of the all-time clutch Postseason at-bats, delivering a single to score Roberts and tie the game. The Red Sox would eventually win the game in the 12th inning and begin one of the most remarkable stretches in sports history. They would win seven more games in a row before hoisting the World Series trophy. It is still the only time in baseball history that a team has fought back from a 3-0 deficit in a seven game series to win 4-3.

It was Roberts' steal that was the catalyst for the most dramatic comeback in sports. One play, and a simple one at that, became the most memorable moment in the history of the Red Sox proud franchise. It wasn't a home run or a leaping catch at the wall to end a World Series game seven. It was one man doing something that everyone knew he was going to do. That stolen base allowed the Red Sox and their fans to have a brief glimpse of sunlight after decades in the shadows. For that one moment, as they watched Roberts slide safely into second base, every heart in Boston was lifted and the entire city seemed to cry out in one voice, "WE CAN DO THIS!"

I was 19 years old when that game was played. I remember watching from my house in my college town as Roberts came in for Millar and thinking that this was going to be a special moment. There was a party at my house that night, but it stopped when Millar drew the walk. It didn't matter if you were a Red Sox fan or a Yankee fan, or a baseball fan at all, you inherently grasped the gravity of the situation. When Roberts took off, and Posada's throw arrived just a heartbeat too late, the entire room cried out. You can live your entire life and not get to experience true drama. It is a term that gets thrown around a bit to liberally, in my opinion, but when describing that moment, it's the only word to use. That stolen base was dramatic. It was legendary. And it's my favorite postseason moment.What's your favorite #postseason moment? Tweet me @rwags614 .