Sox comeback takes Web by storm

Heated baseball playoff games set traffic records on Major League Baseball's

Two dramatic comebacks during the baseball playoffs on Wednesday night sent Web traffic surging, as fans glued themselves to their televisions and their PC monitors.

Last night's Game 7 victory by the Boston Red Sox over their nemesis, the New York Yankees, coupled with the St. Louis Cardinals' extra-inning win against the Houston Astros to force a Game 7, made records on the Web. Major League Baseball's was the greatest beneficiary, racking up a record number of single-day page views.

The Web has become an outlet for fans to vent their passions and to skewer rivals, especially during a heated playoff season.

On Wednesday, 8 million visitors consumed 90 million Web pages on, up 200 percent from last year's American League Championship Series Game 7, Major League Baseball said. The 2003 matchup ended with Yankees third baseman Aaron Boone hitting a 12th-inning walk-off home run that eliminated the Red Sox.

This year, however, fans swarmed to follow the Red Sox as they sealed an improbable comeback to beat the Yankees and reach their first World Series in 18 years. On the brink of elimination and down three games to none, the Red Sox set a precedent by becoming the first team in MLB history to win the next four games and clinch the pennant.

The Red Sox scorched the Yankees 10-3 in an embarrassing defeat for the storied New York franchise. The Red Sox will play the winner of tonight's National League Championship Series match between the Cardinals and the Astros.

America Online last night reported considerable chatter and trash talk in its chat rooms. Sox fans elated by the drubbing clashed with bitter Yankees fans looking to soften their shock and despondency.

"Not only did the Yankees lose, they lost in Yankee Stadium in front of their crowd, and managed to drop (4) in a row," one AOL member wrote. "The only time that has happened in post-season play. This is Boston's year, and the NYC fans hate it! I love it!"

But Yankees fans hung on with their belief that the Sox are a cursed ball club.

"Whoever the Red Sox play, they will only end up losing," another AOL user wrote. "Losing is just what comes natural to them! Go Cards or Astros!!!!!"

Like the Yanks-Sox series, the National League Championship Series has been a tight matchup that will come down to Game 7. Last night, the Cardinals won after outfielder Jim Edmonds hit a walk-off home run at the bottom of the 12th inning, forcing Thursday's deciding game. lets people follow games live through a Macromedia Flash window that feeds real-time information. The site also features news about the games and offers video highlights.

Just yesterday, MLB signed a $650 million deal that will allow XM Satellite Holdings to broadcast games to its listeners.