Lovin' the upset

ERIC FRANCIS -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 7:29 AM ET

You don't have to be a baseball fan to appreciate what happened at Yankee Stadium last night. You just have to have a pulse.

In a game several baseball experts dubbed the most anticipated contest the sport has ever seen, the Boston Red Sox lived up to the hype, responding with what can only be described as the greatest comeback in sports history.

Bouncing back from a Game 3 shellacking in front of their home fans, the BoSox capped off four of the longest, grittiest wins in baseball lore with last night's 10-3 series clincher in the most hostile of environs.

Say what you want about a sport that holds little appeal in Canada until the fall but with this sort of drama being played out nightly, who could possibly miss the NHL?

Even the most casual of sports fans had to be intrigued by the overwhelming odds the BoSox battled to keep the series alive so long, let alone win it.

The Red Sox had never won a Game 7 on the road, no baseball team had ever come back from a 3-0 series deficit and only two pro sports teams (both in the NHL) had ever completed the four-game comeback.

Throw the Curse of the Bambino in there, a Yankee starter named Kevin Brown and the Bronx Zoo as a backdrop and there was little reason to believe the most improbable of comebacks could be completed.

As record audiences tuned into last night's Game 7, the fear for all those who invested so much time and energy into rooting against George Steinbrenner's Evil Empire was the series would still end as it always does when these two meet -- with Beantown crying.

(Actually, an argument can be made the two teams haven't in fact been rivals since the '20s as that would suggest each team wins its share of meetings. Instead, it has been an exercise in futility for the Sox.)

But suddenly, after showing no sign things would change after the first three games, the BoSox now have another chance to end all talk of Bill Buckner, The Curse and everything else that goes with being a fan of baseball in Boston.

Couple it with a NLCS that will play its deciding game tonight after back-to-back walk-off home runs and you've got more drama than a Meryl Streep film festival.

As baseball's playoff mantra goes: I live for this.

Put aside the fact the Yanks and Sox are two of the most expensive teams ever assembled in sport, this series exemplified the pure beauty of competition -- a celebration of the best the sport has to offer, including world-class officiating that also took its turn in the spotlight.

It's worth pointing out the brilliance with which the umpires handled two controversial Game 6 calls that saw the crew huddle up before reversing field and getting it right.

The notable exception to the savvy exhibited came last night from BoSox manager Terry Francona, who gave the Yankees a chance to claw their way back by foolishly inserting starter Pedro Martinez into the game in the seventh inning, waking up Yankee bats and fans.

Still, by night's end, Johnny Damon's heroics erased a lifetime of frustration with two of the biggest home runs in Sox lore.

As another noted Damon from Boston once asked, "How do you like them apples?" What's not to like?


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