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We're Off The Hook!

Forget Bartman.

Forget Alex Gonzalez.

For that matter, forget the last week of this season.

The New York Yankees have replaced the Cubs in the pantheon of baseball history, with the greatest collapse EVER, and no, I'm not throwing that phrase around lightly.

Not only did the Yankees have a three-games-to-none lead... they had a one-run lead WITH THREE OUTS TO GO IN GAME FOUR.

And they had a TWO-RUN lead with SIX OUTS TO GO IN GAME FIVE.

That's a far, far larger collapse than the Cubs had in last year's NLCS, or for that matter, the Red Sox had in last year's ALCS.

Mike e-mailed me yesterday afternoon, in the wake of the umpiring calls that were changed (correctly) in game six:

If Boston wins tonight, it better be a no-brainer, I shudder to think what might happen at that park if the game is decided dramatically at the end against the Yankees.

The Red Sox obliged, beating the Yankees decisively 10-3, with the only bizarre moment being Terry Francona's nearly inexplicable use of Pedro Martinez for an inning, getting the Yankee crowd to chant "Who's Your Daddy" so loud that it for a time drowned out the Fox-TV announcers (not that that's a bad thing), and almost getting New York back into the game at 8-3.

During this series I'd been finishing up the Bill Clinton autobiography I've been slogging through for the last couple of months -- it's 957 pages long, only slightly longer than the ALCS -- and I finished it up while glancing at the first couple of innings, getting excited when Johnny Damon hit the grand slam, and with Derek Lowe nearly unhittable, I figured the game was -- shhh! -- in the bag, and it was.

Oh, incidentally, the Clinton biography? Well, you don't learn all that much about him, other than his early life. Most of the book, once he gets into public life, is a history of the public life.

The Red Sox have sort of been a surrogate for us Cubs fans for many years, sort of our "big brothers" -- the team that does occasionally make it to the World Series, only to lose there as well. All four of the WS that Boston has reached since 1918 have ended in 4-3 losses.

You know what this reminds me of? The Brooklyn Dodgers lost five straight World Series to the Yankees (1941, 1947, 1949, 1952, and 1953) before finally winning a seven-game series -- just as last night, in a seventh game at Yankee Stadium.

Similarly, the Yankees have stopped the Red Sox four other times from reaching the World Series -- in 1949, winning the last game of the regular season, 1978, in the famous Bucky Dent playoff game for the AL East title (the Yankees even dragged Dent out to throw out a ceremonial first pitch last night), and then in 1999 and 2003, defeating them in the ALCS.

But no more. As I wrote yesterday, now baseball history, 138 seven-game series' worth, has been rewritten, and now any team who goes down three-games-to-none can say, as the Red Sox did this year (and yes, they swiped the slogan from last year's Cubs) -- "Why Not Us?"

And, for you numerologists out there, here is a sequence of the number of years in between Red Sox World Series appearances since 1946:

19-8-11-18

Look at the first and last number in that sequence... and when was the last time the Red Sox won it all?

It's time. Go Red Sox.