Boston — Tim Wakefield thought back to that awful moment a year ago, when Aaron Boone sent Wakefield's first pitch of the 11th inning soaring into Yankee Stadium's left-field seats.
That seems so long ago and so far away.
Now that the Red Sox finally have beaten the New York Yankees, the knuckleballer will start for the Red Sox against the St. Louis Cardinals' Woody Williams tonight in the first World Series game at Fenway Park in exactly 18 years.
As they worked out Friday, Wakefield and the rest of the Red Sox were still basking in their accomplishment in Game 7 Wednesday night.
"I feel like I let everybody down," he had said after Boone's homer on Oct. 16 last year.
Now, he wanted to celebrate. When the 10-3 victory was over and the World Series berth was assured, Wakefield lingered on the Yankee Stadium mound.
"Having to walk off the mound a loser last year and getting the chance to celebrate on the same field that we lost last year was a huge honor for us," he said.
His three shutout innings in Game 5 enabled the Red Sox to win in 14 innings, one of the keys to Boston's comeback. Last year, before he came into Game 7 in relief, he had been told he would start the Series opener against Florida if Boston had won without using him.
"It's kind of nice that we run into the same situation again," he said. "So I'm going to try to take full advantage of the opportunity that I have tomorrow night and try to bring this city a world championship."