This column will not become an NFT. I think.
I’m a big fan of NBA Top Shot, largely because they make it very easy to make money. But the discrete commodification of sports moments naturally got me thinking about the Red Sox, and what moments of theirs I’d pay to “own,” such as it as. Here are the 10 recent-ish Sox playoff moments that I’d say are worth owning a digital portion of, ranked from least to most desirable:
10. Chris Sale closes out the World Series (2018)
It’s hard to reach the point of dominance where the whole world stops to watch you run to the playing field, but that’s what happened with Chris Sale in the final moments of Game Five of the 2018 World Series, where he ended the game, extremely pointedly, as a closer. It ended wonderfully, of course, for the fans of this blog:
9. Derek Lowe strikes out Terrence Long on the nastiest two-seamer you’ll ever see (2003)
2003 was supposed to be the year the Sox won it all, and we’re all supposed to be “over” it, almost 20 years later, because 2004 was, in reality, the year in question. Balderdash! We can still be mad. Anyhow, this is how the ALDS ended, in a park far from Fenway, in a moment that didn’t make me mad:
8. Koji Uehara picks off Kolten Wong to end Game Four of the World Series (2013)
This one gets a “hell yeah.” After a Game Three that ended on a questionable play at home plate in the Cardinals’s favor, Koji came up huge in this one, saving us the non-traditional way:
7. Manny Ramirez takes Francisco Rodriguez to the outer regions of the solar system in the playoffs (2007)
6. David Ortiz saves the iconic 20014 Red Sox from elimination on October 17, part 1/2) (2004)
The further out we get from this the crazier it seems. This and the following clip happened in the same calendar day. Lunacy! The whole Sox comeback against the Yankees occurred over five days total, and changed the entire landscape of baseball forever in ways that have not been changed back. And this is how it all started:
5. David Ortiz saves the iconic 2004 Red Sox from elimination on October 17 (part 2/2) (2004)
Later that day, there was this:
4. J.D. Drew hits a grand slam in Game Four of the ALCS (2007)
This one’s for Chad, Drew family enthusiast:
3. David Ortiz hits a grand slam against the Tigers in the ALCS that sends Torii Hunter head over heels in pursuit of a catch he does not make, while a Boston Police officer cheers, you’ve seen it, you know (2013)
2. Andrew Benintendi makes a series-altering and -defining catch against the Astros in the ALCS (2018)
Beni may be gone, but he’s not forgotten, and will never be, because of this play. It’s hard to imagine what happens if he doesn’t come up with this, but thankfully we don’t have to imagine it, because he did. The only thing we can say is HOO BOY, THAT WAS CLOSE, and NEXT TIME, IT WOULD BE BETTER IF IT WAS LESS CLOSE. Witness:
I gotta say, watching it over and over in the service of this column, I think it’s gonna drop. And for most teams it’d be the No. 1 moment. But of course it’s not for us, because that’s…
1. Dave Roberts steals second in the ALCS (2004)
There’s nothing like this in the history of baseball, and for a variety of reasons, there will never be anything like this again. It’s not just that the Red Sox hadn’t won the World Series in 86 years; it’s that they hadn’t, and every time they came close, they got too near the flame, and burnt out. This was when it all pivoted. This was The Moment. It’s especially amusing because the Sox have been so averse to base-stealing throughout their history, but owe everything from 2004 on to a single swiped bag.
Here it is, for your records:
It does not, it cannot, get better than that. And so we must go.