Joe Posnanski
Friday October 17th, 2008

I had another post more or less ready to go, a congratulatory post to the Tampa Bay Rays. It dies in the same trash bin where my Yankees-win-the-2001-World-Series column, my Memphis-wins-the-national-championship column and my Greg Norman-wins-the-Masters column now have book club meetings.

So this post won't be long. That was unbelievable. That's all. I just watched the Red Sox come back from 7-0 in the final innings of an elimination playoff game. And I never saw anything quite like it. Yes, the Red Sox have had all those incredible moments, of course. Came back from three games down against the Yankees. Came back from three to one against the Tribe. But this was different, this was ridiculous ... you know what this was like? This was like something out of a kid's dream. Do you remember being a kid and concocting these fantastic scenarios when your team was losing, these preposterous comebacks that boggled logic and the space-time continuum. I can remember, clear as Fiji Water, watching the Cleveland Browns trailing by 17 in the fourth quarter and thinking, "OK, if they score a touchdown here, onside kick, get it, score another touchdown, onside kick again, get the ball again, then all they would need is a field goal."

So it was on a Thursday in Boston.

If they can just get a two-out, two-strike RBI single from Pedroia ...

And if they can get a three-run homer from Papi ...

And if they can get a two-run home from J.D. Drew ...

And if they can get a 254-pitch at-bat from Coco Crisp and then, with a runner at second, let him hit a hard single to Tampa outfielder Gabe Gross who then uncorks the worst playoff outfield throw since Barry ...

Then all they will need, in the bottom of the ninth, is a terrible throw from Evan Longoria and a line shot game winner by Drew over Gross' head.*

*In between there was an intentional walk to Jason Bay. I bring this up because announcer Chip Caray called the move "unconventional." I sat there open mouthed. First base was open. Bay is a right-handed hitter. J.D. Drew, a lefty, was on deck. J.P. Morgan Chase Thurston Howell, a lefty, was pitching. I literally thought, "I have never seen a MORE conventional move in my life. I can't believe he said that." It reminded me of a story I once read where the writer made a very big deal out of the fact that the subject of the story, when he rented a car, put his rental agreement in the glove compartment. I think the point was that the guy was really organized or something. And I thought, "Doesn't EVERY LIVING HUMAN put the rental agreement in the glove compartment?" Same thing here. Caray explained though that it was unconventional because Drew was like 4-for-7 against J.P. I thought that was absurd. But then Drew absolutely mashed a ball off Howell, so maybe Caray was right all along. I mean, maybe not. But maybe.

The insta-poll question after this crazy game is this: Can the Rays recover? And it leads to the bigger question: Is there even such thing as momentum in baseball? I don't know the answer to either of those questions. My gut tells me that the Red Sox probably feel pretty invincible now, and even though Josh Beckett hasn't looked like his post-season self, you know what that guy can do in October. And the Red Sox certainly would feel good with Jon Lester in Game 7. It's hard, at least in my mind, to think that the most dramatic comeback in postseason history will not carry over.

But my memory reminds me: I was there in St. Louis two days after Albert Pujols hit the most staggering home run imaginable off Brad Lidge. And I watched Houston's Roy Oswalt stick it in the Cardinals' ear. It wasn't just that St. Louis lost the game ... the Cardinals were never even in it. And I told myself then to not forget that momentum in baseball is probably 85% myth. And realistically, the Rays have been close to invincible at home, they still have the destiny thing going, and they're too young to know any better anyway.

In other words, I don't know what to expect. Gut says Red Sox. Mind says Rays. Heart says I shouldn't have had that Mexican food. And eyes say its bedtime. God, I love baseball.

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide - from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Seth Davis, and more - delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.