Before the seventh game of the 2003 American League Championship Series with the Boston Red Sox, Mariano Rivera, the New York Yankees star who is widely considered the greatest relief pitcher in the history of baseball, said a prayer. Rivera, a deeply religious man, prays with his family before every home game. But this was a special prayer, which he delivered within himself, because the two teams, so evenly matched, had fought their way down to this final contest. Rivera’s prayers remained unanswered until the bottom of the eighth inning, when, in one of the great comebacks in playoff history, the Yankees scored three runs against Boston’s ace, Pedro Martinez, to tie the game. Before heading for the mound, Rivera, the most stoical of athletes, had to leave the bullpen for a little shed nearby, where he proceeded, astonishingly, to weep.