Thursday, October 23, 2008
Friday, October 17, 2008
I don't care how many times The Red Sox have come back in an ALCS Series, (and, for the record, the answer is twice) for lifelong Red Sox fans, you never, never shake the feeling that they'll break your heart. For this new generation of Red Sox fans, these pink hat cheerleaders, the come-back has become routine, a final theatrical act. But for those of us that remember Buckner and Boone (and Bucky and beyond), and the winters of heartache that followed, Thursday night seemed be fixing toward a merciful exit: The Sox soundly beaten by a better team.
For a man who grew up knowing that the pretty girl's smile is never followed by a kiss, I refuse to get strung along. The anomolies of 2004 and 2007 were the most unlikeliest of lays. Those were the "I smiled at the beautiful woman and it just so happened she was so drunk she slept with me" moments. It was the baseball version of Knocked Up. Twice.
Yes. I want to see Josh Beckett be the Josh Beckett of 2007 tomorrow night. I want to go out and feel proud when a drunken fan tells me I look like him. But I don't expect it. And I never will.
Here's the deal: I went to bed. I was convinced they lost.
Part of growing up as a Red Sox fan was learning, at an early age, to deal with disappointment. I'm not sure if this is an Eastern or Western idea, or something I stole from a Bukowski poem, but the only way to assure that one is not disappointed is to NOT have expectations. I've learned that much as a Red Sox fan---although I feel like a shit-heel saying this in the presence of any Cubs fans who might be reading this.
So I expect nothing from the Sox tomorrow night. Logic and statistics tells me that James Shields will be nothing but "Big Game James." Recent history tells me that Beckett is hurt, and the Sox brass are mum. Will The Sox win tomorrow? Will we see another Bloody Sock?
If you jumped on the bus in 2003 or 2004, when The Idiots became vogue and a pink hat became sexy, cue up your Neil Diamond and Dropkick Murphy's CDs and wait for a celebration. Call your up B.U. buddies from Long Island, or text them, tell 'em that you're having a playoff party. "And, hey, did you hear, Cody got tickets!"
For the rest of us, we'll chew our thumbs and know Longoria and Upton and Shields aren't accidents; we'll know that comebacks are both magical and whimsical; we'll try to realize what Gatsby never learned: you can never recreate the past.
And in the process, we'll throw the middle finger at Manny and Damon and Nomar, who are all at home, bathing in bucks, watching the game with us.
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
The Philadelphia Phillies. Other than the fact that Ryan Howard may be one of the largest and most dangerous black men since The Sandman in Mike Tyson's Punchout---does anyone remember that son of a bitch? I blame my inability to show love in my adult life on the beatings I took from him---I really know very little about this team. Let's see. There's Chase Utley. Has there ever been a whiter name than Chase Utley? He sounds like he should doing crew at Phillips-Exeter Academy. "Hey, Chase, can you explain to me what a sub-prime loan really is?" But The Phillies took The Mets out of the playoffs, so they get props for making the city of New York a little more miserable this winter. Other than that, I got nothing. Like I said, The NL is not a real league. For me, they might as well be Hobbits competing in some strange game that involves a wicker basket and a yarn ball where Leonard Nemoy does both the play-by-play and analysis.
My pick: The Dodgers in 6 games.
The Tampa Bay Rays. What happened to the Devil in the old Devil Rays? I liked the Devil, loved him even. Now the Devil is gone, and in its place is this strange team that seems to have come out nowhere. Actually, that's not true. At first, I thought they were sent by some Prime Mover who controls all that is good and evil in the baseball world (hence, the dumping The Devil) simply to teach The New York Yankees a lesson about avarice by having The Rays finish ahead of them. But as I waited and waited for their Lindsay Lohan-like collapse, it never happened. Now they've become analogous to that girl in high school who was pimply, a little overweight and on the bad side of butt-ugly, who shows up at the 10-year reunion trimmed-down, made-over and showing her enough cleavage to make you painfully aware of the fact that she'll never, regardless of the circumstance, ever sleep with your sad, flabby, drunken ass, nor any of your now-loser buddies who are organizing a Beirut tournament at an afterhours party. Did I say never? Oh yeah, and she changed her name, too. I spent the past ten years making fun of the Rays, now I'm staring at the very real possibility that they might eliminate my Sox, dash their dreams of becoming the first team in nearly a decade to win back-to-back World Series (I can't remember the last the team). To finish my analogy, let's say Crawford is the left tit; Longoria the right one; Carlos Pena the bush (groomed to a landing strip); Garza the left leg; Shields the right; Kazmir the tight ass; and shimmying in a little slink dress, pulling it all together, there's Joe Madden. Okay, Joe Madden's face on a female body just ruined it. Reciprocally, I hope I just ruined The Rays.