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Twelve years ago, just a few weeks after 9/11, the Yankees played in a World Series. New Yorkers needed solace. Solace was provided. Never before in Series history had the home team tied a game with a two-out, two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth and then won it in extra innings. But before the yearning thousands who filled Yankee Stadium to overflowing, the Yankees accomplished the miracle in game four. And again in game five.
But mere mortals don't accomplish miracles, do they? So let's simply say the miracle came to pass.
Leading three games to two, the Yankees then lost the Series. They were ahead going into the bottom of the ninth of the seventh game out in Arizona, but they blew their lead. I wrote then, "A God who wouldn't raise a hand to halt one of the colossal acts of evil in human history but turns around and fixes baseball games is not a serious deity. That seventh game obviously was God's way of saying, 'Don't get me wrong. I couldn't care less who wins the series.'" But He'd given New York a moment.
Much the same thing happened Monday night in Boston. The power of Boston Strong lifted the Bruins to within two minutes of forcing a seventh game of the Stanley Cup finals. Then the Blackhawks scored twice in 17 seconds to claim the cup and take it home to Chicago.
Bruins fans who thought they'd win the Stanley Cup because they deserved it more received a jolting lesson in the ways of God and fate. Or perhaps Chicagoans actually had the greater need. I'm certainly not the only person in this city to observe that this Stanley Cup campaign preoccupied Chicago in a way the triumphant 2010 playoffs did not. Something needed to be assuaged. I can't put my finger on what the stakes were, but they were high.