If you are going to recap one of the greatest seasons in Boston Red Sox history and one of the most improbable comebacks in baseball history, why rehash box scores and the play-by-play that are easily found through an Internet search? Why not get the story straight from the people who experienced it firsthand?
This is the heart of Don’t Let Us Win Tonight, authored by Allan Wood and Bill Nowlin. While the authors set the stage in bringing us back ten years to that magical 2004 postseason, the story unfolds through the words of the players, the manager, the front office, the medical staff, the opposition, and even the bat boy. Nearly every moment is captured, beginning with a quick summary of the season, followed by a recap of each postseason game, and finally to the championship parade that wove through the streets of Boston at the end.
Almost every moment is magnified to a greater degree. Dave Roberts doesn’t just steal second base in Game Four of the ALCS; Wood and Nowlin recreate the entire scene using narratives from Roberts, Kevin Millar, Bill Mueller, Terry Francona, Joe Torre, and even Chris Cundiff, the Red Sox bat boy. Through their words, you can almost feel the cold air of that October night, see the clock inching just past midnight, hear the fans cheering, and see Roberts taking off for second as Mariano Rivera makes his move to the plate, on his way to igniting the comeback.
The authors even take us off the field and outside the lines to discuss the preparations and advanced scouting for each series, the scheduled travel days, and the remarkable surgery performed by Dr. William Morgan that allowed Curt Schilling to pitch two critical games.
Even though we know how the tale ends, with Boston enjoying its first World Series championship in 86 years, we still feel the tension and emotion channeled through the anecdotes and observations that pepper each page, making it an easy and enjoyable read not just for Sox fans but for all baseball fans. Woods and Nowlin have truly woven a timeless narrative that captures the lifeblood of the 2004 Red Sox championship run.
(Disclaimer: I bought this book and did not receive a review copy. I am also friends with Mr. Wood, who writes one of the best Red Sox blogs on the web, The Joy of Sox. Bookmark it.)