Friday, September 30, 2005
One down and...
two to go. I know some of you reading this, are not from this section of America or even from this country. However , for those who do reside in the asshole of the east coast, baseball to many people at this time of year, becomes religion. I know it sounds a little trite and a tad cliche, but last year’s ALCS playoffs really did give some people something to believe in. Over the past 5-7 years, I have fallen back in love with baseball and more specifically, The Boston Red Sox.
After the crushing defeat in 86' my heart was so badly broken and my levels of disbelief and discouragement were at their peaks. The years following, New England sports fans didn't have too much to talk about that was positive. In 85, the Patriots took such a momentous ass-whooppin' from the Chicago Bears, it is still talked about today. There was still some excitement over the Celtics, but people new better than to bring up the Sox or the Bruins. As Baseball is America's national past time, there was certainly more Sox coverage than Bruins, at least on television.
I remember being a small boy and sitting on the living room floor with a brown grocery bag of baseball cards. Not yet able to comprehend the athletic prowess of one athlete from another. I knew that there was not a chance the tv would show anything other than Red Sox games if my dad was home on the weekend. He would always ask me to come and watch with him. If you have a basic understanding of baseball, it may keep your attention if not, chances are you will be bored to tears in mere minutes, especially in the case of a pitchers duel. Summer after summer I watched my dad come in from mowing the lawn, sit down with a cool drink and eventually fall asleep cause once again the Red Sox had derailed their own train.
My dad was the only guy I know who could watch baseball through his nostrils, mainly cause he was asleep in the recliner and yet, still had control over the television. As I got older, I started to become more familiar with the players, other teams and even a small amount of strategy. Occasionally my dad would take me to his friend Cappy's house and we would watch the game together. It was a small living room, two chairs and a love seat, and I never felt cooler than when there was a night game or a double-header and I got to stay up way past my bed time. Cappy was a fan of the New York Yankees which made things interesting. He was neither born in nor ever lived in New York so my dad was never able to explain why he wouldn't cheer the Sox.
I remember watching the 86 Series at Cappy's with a legion of butterflies in my stomach, just praying for the damn game to end. I still to this day remember the glee-filled cackle that echoed in the smallest living room ever. Buckner had just let the grounder go through his legs and Cappy, my dad and me were in disbelief for no more than a second. In the grand scheme of things it was probably like 5. Then the laughter started and my dad put his drink down, stood up and with very well controlled anger, thanked Cappy for the hospitality. "Come on Jim, time to go home." I knew something horrible had just transpired but couldn't wrap my head around it. The Red Sox had never been to the big game in the 12 years I had been alive. Cappy laughed all the way to the front door as he walked us out.
The dodge that was going to take us home, was the same color of the mood in the car, shit brown. "What happened Dad?" I asked. "That's it Jim, it's all over. They blew it again. Maybe next year." My dad's breakdown of the game was in terms I understood and in a way I think he did it more to calm himself and talk to me rather than get all fired up. "Yeah, maybe next year" my throat felt tight like a vice and the tears welling in my eyes came do fast and so hot, there was no way to stop them. My dad rubbed my shoulder and told me everything would be alright and then he said something I'll never forget, "Now, you are a true Red Sox fan."
There have been many seasons of excitement and heartbreak since 86. Joy and pain, happiness and sorrow victory and defeat. However with the Red Sox pulling off the greatest comeback in sport’s history, defeating the hated, New York Yankees in the house that Ruth built, was enough to not only rekindle thousands of Red Sox fans interest, it gave them a glimmer of hope and more importantly something to believe in. The World Series Championship was great, there is no doubt about that. However, the fact that David went to Goliath’s house, knocked on his door, and when he came out, kicked his ass up and down the street, well that there is just sheer poetry.
This year’s team is still a bunch of idiots, but not the same bunch to take it all last year. Whether or not the Boston Red Sox can survive the storm this year remains to be seen. We can all count on one thing though, these athletes, our team, the idiots, won’t go down with out a fight. If they do go down, it will be swinging for the fences.
I hope those in the Red Sox Nation (as well as everyone else) is well.