Friday, October 17, 2008

Another Bloody Sock?

The score was 5-0 in the third inning. Oh God, I thought, why put myself through this? Again.

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.

But no.

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.


Anonymous said...

"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."

It's statements like this that make me despise Cubs and Sox fans alike. The Mariners have never....never...been to a World Series. We've never won more then two games in a championship series. And, to stick up for teams I don't care about it, the Nationals (formally Expos) and Rangers have been around since the 60's and never experienced a World Series and in the Rangers case, even a ALCS. The Phillies have won only one world series in their 100+ year history. Face it, neither the Sox nor Cubs are the unluckiest teams. At least you can watch baseball in October and have a team to root for.

That being said, I am sorry for your loss. I can only imagine it must be heartbreaking to see your team go to game 7 and lose.


Nate Graziano said...

I think you're also forgetting some of the biggest historical collapses in baseball (or professional sports) history on the parts of these franchises, the so-called curses and whatnot. If the Mariner fans invested in baseball, lived, bled and died baseball en masse like the fans in Boston and Chicago, they'd be mentioned on the list. If the Mariners had the simple baseball history of these towns, I'd certainly hear you out (yes, I know about the history of the game and realize, other than the Pacific Coast League, baseball didn't move to The West Coast until the Brooklyn Dodgers packed it up). The point being, as a Sox fan, I need to shut up. And as Mariners fan, don't go there with the Cubs.

And Phillies fans had their "one" in 80s, before it got freakish. And the point of the post, again, was that Sox fans no longer have anything to bitch about, and looking ahead, we still don't.

I'm actually okay with the way things played out. The Sox were beaten by the better team. I believe that.

Anonymous said...

I think it's unfair to say Seattle fans don't live and die baseball. I am obviously biased, but I'd say that M's fans have some of the greatest dedication on the internet in forms of blogs and websites, that rival that of the sox and yankees. For an M's fan living in New England, it gets really hard living with the "pink hatters" as you call them who know nothing of the game and profess that loving teams like the Cubs and Sox make them fans of some old school tradition becuase their teams have had historic flops. How about 2001, Seattle won 116 games, a record, then got embarrsed in the post season by the Yankees. That hurt a lot. And this year seeing a horrible GM trade away his future stars for a pitcher who can't even be called washed-up beucase he didn't have a good year to begin with. It's heartbreaking. I have nothing against the Sox, but it's just this entire generalization that somehow certain teams are destined to be unlucky and what not gets me frsutrated...especially when right now, Boston sports in general are going through a great period. Technically Boston was one of the top four teams in baseball this year and that's fantastic. The mood I get from most of my friends though seems to be that the team underacheived. It makes me jealous. I wish I could be upset about a mere Wild Card birth.

And just a quick mention about "investing" in baseball. The M's were the first team in the history of the sport this year to spend over 100 million and lose over 100 games. We don't get the press of other teams, but that doesn't make us small market. The difference is the Sox have great ownership and management, and not to mention scouting. The reason M's get to spend so much money is becuase our fan base, God help us, are loyal as hell. Maybe one day Howarrd Lincoln and Chuck Armstrong will get their heads out of their asses and give us a team that deserves our respect.

Okay, long rant. I apologize. I enjoy your blog, good to see good baseball discussion.