| September 6, 2011

New York Yankees fans probably have innings eight through eleven recorded on a VHS tape labelled ALCS 2003 Game 7, Aaron Boone!!! , or Who’s your daddy, Pedro? Their VCRs were set for when, as Derek Jeter put it, the ghosts would show up and bring them closer to restoring the Yankees to their rightful place as champions.
Fans up in New England also had their VCRs set, ready to capture the beginning of the end of the ugly 85-year-old curse that plagued generations of faithful fans. Their labels might have been left clean or maybe not, but whatever was on that tape was probably replaced by the next year’s triumphs, because on October 16, 2003, the ghosts came out to play at least one more time.
Game 7 of the American League Championship Series really set the stage for drama: The old Yankee Stadium, the house that Ruth built, holding 56,279 avaricious fans with the word DESTINY held all over in the stands by fans whose faith had been rewarded over and over again. On top of that, the starting pitchers were two of the most-revered in MLB history, Roger Clemens and Pedro Martrinez. Clemens, a 7-time Cy Young Award winner, had anchored the Red Sox pitching staff for his first 12 years in the majors, while Pedro Martinez, with three Cy Young awards himself, had thrown Yankees bench coach Don Zimmer to the ground in a Game 3 scuffle on the mound at Fenway.
Major League Baseball has pulled from its archives the ten most unforgettable baseball games ever for the series Baseball’s Greatest Games. Its a beautiful thing for a baseball fan to have the full broadcast (remastered) of a game so full of tension, a game that turned their guts into mush, a game that defines the words iconic and historic.
Aaron Boone’s 11th inning, first pitch, walk-off homerun is a genuinely unbelievable and thrilling moment, and it doesn’t just have a place in a compartmentalized section in our brain labeled “sports;” it becomes our own personal great moment. And the thrill comes rushing back each time we watch that ball leave the park.
But, its not only Aaron Boone and his heroic home-run. Its Pedro Martinez telling Grady Little that he was good to pitch to Hideki Matsui, its stoic Jorge Posada tying the game and standing on second while screaming with both fists clenched and about to burst as he knocks out Martinez, who walks into the dugout with boos that could have set him on fire, especially after the Don Zimmer incident in Game 3. Its Mariano Rivera pitching three scoreless innings and falling on the mound after Boone officially sent them to the World Series.
Baseball is the most storybook sport in the world. Maybe it has something to do with it being an innings game and not a minutes games. Maybe they serve more like chapters. It is hard to encapsulate the magic that baseball sometimes provides us, but the Greatest Games collection offers us a complete and official record of a few of the most iconic games every played. But keep your VHS videos, because some of us have hours of post-game coverage that these DVDs, for as much as they offer by way of preservation, sadly do not include.

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