Reposten

I don't think that I'll get a chance to revive the Spec server anytime soon, so there are a couple of posts in non-backed-up limbo. One of them was my lamb couscous recipe, which is a shame. Another was Dave's post-LCS Red Sox post, which is somewhat dated now, but still deserves to be on the Internet. I had that one saved in my email, so here it is (again).

I have received several emails and calls expressing people's well wishing regarding the Red Sox's dramatic come from behind victory over the New York Yankees. Many of these I have yet to respond to, so I feel compelled to express what is going through my head today at this historic time in baseball and my life. Maybe you have had all you can take of the melodramatic whining and pontificating of long-suffering Red Sox fans. If you have, simply delete this email. Otherwise read on.....

To clear an issue up, I did not see most of this series in real time. Only the bad games. After the 19 run beat down that the weather was nice enough to delay until after Shabbos, I had enough and only occasionally checked in to see what was happening in Game 4. If you want to judge me in retrospect and claim that I have no faith in my team, you can... but you would be misunderstanding how 86 years of conditioning effects your faith in a team. (I know I have not been alive for 86 years, but when you have to go back to silent films to get the playback of your team's last world series victory.....) Losing the Red Sox way occurs in both the epic and the personal. There is an epic defeat that only a cross between Sophecles and David Halberstam could dream up. And it effects you personally, in a "Why does this happen to me." So with Marino Rivera (Kornheiser rightly refers to him as the "Hammer of G-d") coming in in the 8th inning with a lead in a deciding Game FOUR, I decided I had enough and lay down in my bed, thinking "Why don't they just break five bats on the sideline and give him the save." Sharon kept watching on mute.

Then a lot of strange things happened. First Rivera walked someone. Then the Red Sox inserted a pinch runner, who knew how to steal a base. (I have never seen that ever, in all of my Red Sox following.) And then Rivera blew his 4th post-season save ever. Since that moment, I have spent the majority of the series in another room as Sharon confused substitutions and tried to pronounce "Mientkiewicz" I thought the charm worked so well that when Pedro pitched the next day, I turned on the TV and went into the other room, when no one else was home. (Form sports historians will know that there is precedence for this method. I spent a lot of the Pats first Super-Bowl victory only listening on the radio.)

You probably have read a lot about what happened in the remaining games and are just as frustrated as I am that I, being of the Ashkenazi Jewish tradition, cannot name my child "David Ortiz Form." But here are some strange things that only Red Sox fans will know about. Most baseball fans react to given game situations in terms of percentages. Red Sox fans think about it terms of narratives of losing. That means when Tony Clark is up with two men on in the bottom of the ninth, you begin to think, "Oh great. Tony Clark. He is only in there because of Olereud's injury. He only hit 2 home runs when he was with the Red Sox when he was signed to put up power numbers. He is going to be the next Bucky Dent or Aaron Boone. And I am going to hear about it for the rest of my life, ruminating over how this bust for the Sox turns into a Yankee hero." But he struck out.

In that same game, TWO, not one, but TWO blatantly incorrect calls were corrected in the Red Sox favor. That never EVER happens. The Yankees always get those calls. ALWAYS! ALWAYS! ALWAYS! When you see those calls initially all you can think about is bitching about it for the rest of your life, weakly protesting Yankee fan's gibes about the 2004 ALCS. But they were reversed to correctly go the Sox way.

Johnny Damon popped up a bunt in the same extra inning game that he was thrown out trying to steal. And that was not the worst part. Ortiz was wrongly called out at 2nd, recalling the two blown Offerman/Knoblauch calls of the 1999 ALCS. I thought for sure this was the break the Yankees were going to use to finish this series. And then, Sheffield got on base STRIKING OUT. Then Mastsui reached on a fielder's choice and got around to 3rd on passed balls. The potential narrative of losing: Bitching about the Ortiz call for the rest of my life while knowing that the Yankee's scored the series' winning run without getting a hit. But they did not win.

How bad is the mind of the Red Sox fan? I was screaming about Damon getting thrown out last night on a base running blunder, looking away from the TV when Ortiz hit the first home run.

Anyway, I am going to skip all the parts about Wakefield, Schilling, Belhorn, Damon and Lowe redeeming themselves.

The bottom line is that I have lived in New York for 6 of the last 7 years and experienced fall after fall of Yankee playoffs. (Sometimes in the West End with that gong going off whenever the Yankee's scored on a passed ball.) I have been forced to cheer for teams younger than myself to beat them. (And the Angles.) I ride the subway with Yankee headline after Yankee headline, describing Javier Vazquez's 6 strong innings of work against the Devil Rays as a newsworthy event. I have to watch the YES network to see the Yankees play the Red Sox. And above all else, in the vast majority of my social environments, I have had to take trash talk from Yankee fans who know nothing but winning. Being held captive by Yankee fans' reminders of my team's failure is the entire nexus of my approach to this event.

And so my life has changed. No longer will they be able to bring up the Red Sox failures without me making a choking noise. The Red Sox beat the Yankees and it occurred in an embarrassing way. Do I see this more as a Red Sox victory or a Yankee choke job? Choke job. Did I want the Red Sox to win as much as I wanted the Yankees to lose. In all honesty, I wanted the Yankees to lose. Is this bitter? Yes. Maybe if I have lived amongst other Red Sox fans in Boston for these years, it would have been different. But I have lived in New York, wearing my Sox cap and never had a come back to any trash talking line about Dent, Boone, or Babe Ruth. All that has changed. It was the Yankee at the end of the series that were becoming superstitious, dressing up like ghosts and having Dent throw out the first pitch. And it was them who were left wondering, "How does this happen? How does this happen to me?" And I feel great. I do not love my team any more than the last day, but I love being known as the guy who cheers for them more than ever.

Go Sox,

Dave

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