Because Papi's blast, which came off Yankees reliever Paul Quantrill in the 12th inning and ended a relentlessly tense 5-hour 2-minute game, instantly turned Fenway's collective exhaustion into exhilaration. Because it allowed you to cling a shred of hope. Because it prevented the smug Yankees from completing a sweep. Because it was a warning shot signaling that the Red Sox were not going to surrender without a fight. Because it triggered the improbable magic of the following several days and nights. Because without it, the dream would never have been possible.
(Globe File Photo / Jim Davis)