On this exact date a year ago, the Red Sox, paced by home runs from Julio Lugo and Jason Varitek (heretofore known as Ruth and Gehrig), secured their spot in the '07 postseason with an 8-6 victory over Tampa Bay at Tropicana Field. Since then, the Rays have dropped the Devil from their nickname and enjoyed a season that, so far, seems to be a gift sent directly from the heavens.
Six days later, on Sept. 28, the Red Sox clinched their first AL East title since 1995, and you may recall that it happened in sort of a bizarre but wildly enjoyable scenario. The Sox defeated the Twins at Fenway, 5-2, to guarantee at least a tie for the division crown. They then waited in the clubhouse and fans watched on the Jumbotron as the Orioles rallied to defeat the second-place Yankees in 10 innings, ensuring that the AL East was theirs alone, and setting off a raucous, if delayed, celebration on Yawkey Way.
Wrote the Globe's Daniel Malloy:
About 2,000 or so fans stuck around to watch the end of the [Yankees-Orioles] game . . .and cheered as the Red Sox -- sporting new T-shirts and hats boasting of their accomplishment, as is the trend these days -- came out and sprayed champagne and beer and danced around. Papelbon -- who at one point was wearing an empty case of Bud Light on his head -- was the most wild participant. He did a rather impressive (and by impressive I mean not impressive) Irish jig on the infield. He eschewed shorts for black spandex, and at one point was wearing goggles. Dustin Pedroia used his smallness to sneak up on several players to give them Korbel showers.
It was quite a party, and as you may recall, not their final one last fall. Tonight, perhaps we'll get our first hint that this autumn will also be memorable.
Just to be safe, don't forget your goggles.
About Touching All The Bases
Irreverence and insight from Chad Finn, a Globe/Boston.com sports writer and media columnist. A winner of several national and regional writing awards, he is the founder and sole contributor to the TATB blog, which launched in December 2004. Yes, he realizes how lucky he is.