As many of you may know, baseball is launching "The MLB Network" on January 1st. It's going to be baseball stuff 24/7, and I can't wait to see what it will be like. (And I read that the lovely and talented Hazel Mae will be a part of it. More incentive for me to watch.)
The NFL launched "The NFL Network" a few years back, and has taken all kinds of criticism because it is generally unavailable on most cable outlets. From Thanksgiving until the end of the season, they show a Thursday night game every week. You have to have DirecTV in NYC to see it. But you can also get it if you have Verizon Fios. I just got that a couple of weeks ago (and I definitely recommend it).
On Fios, there's a preview channel for the MLB Network, and they've showing baseball stuff on it until it officially debuts on New Year's Day. (I don't know if the MLB Network will be on most major cable outlets.) So far they've shown the 2005 World Series Film, an MLB video about the best players and postseason moments (can't recall the name of it offhand) and the other night I discovered another they've started showing: The 2004 World Series Film.
Yep, that's the one that Yours Truly and a number of my friends make a few brief cameo appearances in. As the Red Sox are about to win the 2004 World Series in the film, they show a group of fans rooting the Sox home to victory, and you can see me in it wearing my Red Sox home jersey and hat. It's really special to be part of it, and it's still incredible to watch it, four years after it happened.
But here's a secret about those clips: they DIDN'T happen the night of Game 4 of the World Series. They actually occurred during Game 5 of the ALCS at the Riviera in Manhattan.
I remember being interviewed by a crew from MLB before that game happened, and they stayed around for the whole game. I also recall seeing them behind the bar during extra innings of that game. When I first saw the video, I knew it wasn't the night the Sox won it all because I'm wearing the Red Sox home jersey. (I have a superstition in the postseason: I wear the Red Sox home jersey for home games, and the road one for road games, so I knew it wasn't that night.) And besides, I wasn't sitting at the bar when the Sox won it all (I was in a crowd behind the seats), and in the video, a couple of friends of mine are wearing rally caps, and they wouldn't be wearing them when the Cardinals were up in the ninth.
But that's OK. MLB said they loved the footage and decided to use it anyway. That's cool with me.
I watched most of the 2004 World Series film again last night. I have two very different emotions when the Red Sox win the AL pennant, and then the World Series. Winning the pennant still makes me raise my fist in triumph, and I always think to myself (or sometimes yell out): "Take that, you bastards!"(or words to that effect, as sometimes they are a little more colorful) at those Yankee fans who were present who had to burn all their beloved curse crap after that game concluded. (And it is still my favorite baseball game on all-time, with Game 4 of the World Series an extremely close second.)
And speaking of the World Series win, I get a very different emotion when I see that: a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes. No anger towards the Cardinals or their fans (who handled that day with nothing but class) but just shear joy at one of the best nights of my entire life. The video brings back that night in the Riviera so clearly, and the afterparty at the Tavern on Jane, my friend Horton's place in the West Village. It was simply a stunning night filled with a roller coaster ride of all types of feelings and emotions. Every time I watch it, I'm brought back to that night.
It's now been four years, but it absolutely never gets old watching that video. I am proud that I have a little part in it, and I'm sure that in 20 years, I'll still have the same emotions when I watch it. It's one of the most historic baseball (as well as sports) postseasons ever, and it will grow in stature as the years go on.
I'll treasure that for the rest of my life.
As the Sox fans at Busch Stadium chanted after Game 4 ended: "Thank you, Red Sox."