The Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees have a historic rivalry that’s seen a lot of blood, sweat and tears over the years.
When the two teams squared off in the 2004 American League Championship series, a year after Boston was eliminated in Game 7 on the same stage, Red Sox fans quickly became pessimistic after the team found itself down 3-0 to the Yankees.
It looked as if the Bronx Bombers were well on their way to another World Series. But we all know how that season ended.
Then-Yankees manager Joe Torre had a successful tenure during his time in New York, leading the club to playoff appearances in each of his 12 seasons while adding four World Series titles. But 2004 was his biggest setback when his team blew the three-game lead and got eliminated in the ALCS by Boston.
Looking back on the series, Torre only has one regret.
“I think the only thing I could’ve questioned myself about – and really I’m not totally sold on it – was before (Mariano) Mariano went out for the 9th inning, knowing that (Kevin) Millar was the first hitter, I was going to tell him not to get too fancy,” Torre said, via Boston.com’s Hayden Bird. “It was just a sense, to go after him. I just changed my mind because the last time he’d faced Millar, he’d struck him out I think on four or five pitches at Yankee Stadium, so I stayed away.
“I didn’t really talk to pitchers who were in the game anyway. But in retrospect you look back in realize Fenway Park is not Yankee Stadium,” he added. “In Yankee Stadium, you have a little more freedom, because in the confines of Fenway, you have to be a little more careful and Mariano was trying to make perfect pitches.”
Rivera surrendered a walk to Millar which sparked the ninth-inning rally before the Red Sox sealed the win in extra innings. And after they completed the comeback, the Sox went on to win the 2004 World Series.
Thumbnail photo via Richard Mackson/USA TODAY Sports Images
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