This was the year. I knew it. It had to be. Red Sox Nation had been waiting too long for this day to come. And quite frankly, about this past week, I don’t know whether I’m still dreaming or if this is for real. I think that is the general feeling around Boston right now. The Sox made me change my fantasy pick to “Red Sox in Seven” – from “Red Sox in Six.” Having seen the best team in baseball all season long, perhaps I was one of the few who defied the odds, the statistics, the history, the Bill Simmons’ and disgruntled, albeit typical Boston fans. You wouldn’t believe me if I told you, but I knew from the beginning that this team was just too good to go down 0-4 in the much-anticipated American League Championship Series. I had seen that all season. In a scenario that even Major League Baseball or Fox could not script, the 2004 ALCS was the best ever. No matter who you are, except maybe a certain franchise in New York, you’ve gotta love the Red Sox. How can you not love this group of self-proclaimed “idiots” – the idiots who rallied together from a 0-3 deficit to defeat what even Fox has declared as the “Evil Empire” and changed the history books forever?So, here are my picks for heroes. Although David Ortiz’s bat made the Yankees think twice about who their “Big Papi” really was, I think of those who really saved the day when it mattered most, going back to Game Four. It’s Millar time – patient and drawing a walk from Mariano Rivera, Kevin Millar’s diligence at the plate – oh, you read Moneyball too? – set up for pinch runner Dave Roberts, at a time when the Sox were three outs away from complete elimination. There would be no Game Five without the speed of Dave Roberts, one of the finest and fastest of base runners in baseball history. This was bigger than Ortiz’s Carlton Fisk-like home run. The speedy Roberts, formerly the leadoff man for the Dodgers, came to the Red Sox in a July, midsummer classic trade that sent Nomar Garciaparra packing to Chicago. It was absolutely imperative for Roberts to steal second that night to reach scoring position and give the Sox another chance. With Roberts barely stealing the base safely, and in the wildest of Sox dreams, who steps up to the plate but Bill Mueller, who has had some uncommon success against Rivera this year. With the greatest swing of his career, he hit one up the middle to bring Roberts in and tie the game. Thanks to general manager Theo Epstein, that trade is looking really good right now. How can I write this piece without talking about Curt Schilling? I think that night in pivotal Game Six, Curt Schilling’s performance gave me everything to convince me to become a great doctor. Bill Morgan, head doctor for the Red Sox, sutured Schilling’s ankle together in a largely unprecedented medical procedure, completely unknown to the Yankees. Call up JAMA and New England Journal of Medicine – you’re going to be famous forever in sports medicine. Anyway, it’s always good to have some secrets in October. Seeing him pitch with the bloodied ankle that night of Game Six and pitching the Sox to victory against the Empire was the stuff of Red Sox legends, right up there with Fisk, Cy Young, The Kid, Yaz and so many of the great others who are the essence and soul of the Red Sox. That night, Curt Schilling was among their ranks. Schilling took the pain and went above his duty to bring Boston to a World Series, and I’m not ever going to forget that – even 50 years from now. Now, this whole week I’ve seen a spectacle that has not taken place since 1918. I don’t know how I’ve gone through the week. I watched every pitch, biting off my nails with every hit and I think someone needs to teach me how to breathe again. A World Series in Boston? Holy &%@#! That’s right – same way I feel. I’ve got more intensity right now in my life than I ever bargained for. Arguably, this is the best Red Sox team in any era, and this is the year we retired 1918. It had to be – I’ve waited for this. Godiwala can be reached at

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