Four Days In October Doc of the Week

Four Days In October

It was one of the most remarkable comebacks in sporting history. Trailing 3-0 against the New York Yankees, the Boston Red Sox won four-in-a-row to become the first team in Major League Baseball history to win a seven-match series after losing the first three games. This is the inside story of how they defied the odds to claim victory and a place in the 2004 World Series. BT Sport ESPN, Sun, Oct 29th 00.00

There are few greater rivalries in baseball, or in any other sport for that matter, than that between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees. They don’t like each other much. For Red Sox fans, the only thing worse than losing is losing to the Yankees and vice-versa. It is the bitterest of all pills.

The Red Sox-Yankees rivalry goes back almost a century to 1919 when the Boston outfit unexpectedly sold star man Babe Ruth to the New Yorkers. The Red Sox were one of the dominant forces in baseball at the time. They had won the World Series the year before but, with the exit of Ruth and several other big name players, their fortunes changed and they wouldn’t see another pennant for 86 years - or 2004 to be exact.


Their fall from grace was attributed to the ‘Curse of the Bambino’ (Ruth’s nickname) and it dominated the Red Sox narrative until those four fateful days in October when it was finally expunged forever. It was the sweetest revenge for the Boston faithful after so many years of hurt and they went on to hammer the St Louis Cardinals 4-0 in the World Series later that month to end the season on an eight-game winning streak.

Setting the scene

Four Days in October tells the story of their remarkable triumph. It first sets the scene with some highlights of the Yankees–Red Sox rivalry over the years to illustrate what the 2004 play-off series would have meant to both players and fans alike. This was serious business. Next up we get some highlights from Game 3 which the Yankees dominated, winning easily by 19–8 at Fenway Park in Boston.


Then it’s down to the real drama with Game 4. The Yankees, with their star-studded line-up which included such names as Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, and Gary Sheffield, just needed one win from the next four games to seal their 40th World Series appearance. They led 4-3 at the bottom of the ninth innings, but the Red Sox managed to steal a single to tie the game. It would prove to be the turning point of the entire series and a double home run from David Ortiz in the twelfth innings secured victory.

Reborn

It was all Red Sox after that and, after winning the next two games, they clinched the series with an emphatic victory at Yankee Stadium. The Red Sox had been on their knees at the beginning of Game 4 as the ‘Curse of the Bambino’ looked likely to be extended for another year at least. By the time Game 7 was completed, they had been reborn. The whole thing took just 96 hours.


“Our mission with Four Days In October was to capture the symbolic essence of the Boston Red Sox unprecedented 2004 ALCS comeback victory against their arch- rivals, the New York Yankees,” a statement from Major League Baseball Productions, the company behind the documentary, explained. “Our aim was to take fans back in time and place them in the bubble that was October 17th-20th 2004 to capture the day-by-day transformation of an entire franchise and its hard core fan base known as the ‘Red Sox Nation’.

“These Four Days In October wiped away 86 years of curses, frustration and near-misses - and it was done in a way that not even Hollywood would have been able to script. Their miraculous achievement will always serve as a benchmark for future sports teams who find themselves in a similar predicament. Any team down three-games-to-none can always utter the words that became the Red Sox rallying cry: "Why Not Us?"

Why not indeed!


Images: Getty

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