31 million watch Red Sox win pennant -- It was the highest-rated American League game in 18 years

By Gary Susman
Updated October 22, 2004 at 04:00 AM EDT

Forget the sultry suburbanites of Desperate Housewives or the castaways of Lost — the darlings of the fall season so far may be the Boston Red Sox. According to Nielsen, a striking 31.4 million viewers watched Fox’s broadcast of their pennant-winning victory over the New York Yankees on Wednesday, the climax of an unprecedented come-from-behind triumph after having lost the first three games of the best-of-seven championship series. It was the most-watched seventh game of any league championship series since 1990, and the highest-rated American League contest since the Sox beat the then-California Angels in Game 7 in 1986. Of course, the Red Sox followed that game with an unforgettable World Series against the New York Mets, managing to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory with Bill Buckner’s notorious error in Game 6. Until now, Boston hasn’t been back to play in the Fall Classic since. Can the team finally end its 86-year-long World Series drought when it goes up against the St. Louis Cardinals, beginning Saturday? Fox is certainly counting on masochistic Red Sox fans nationwide being unable to look away.