Friday, October 29, 2004

Redemption and some humble pie

I don't know what to say.

The events of the last two weeks have me flabbergasted and unable to think or write or speak clearly.

The Boston Red Sox

Are the


Read those last three lines again. I'll wait.

Did you read it? What do you think? It's unfuckingbelievable, that's what I think.

I finally read my last entry and it was pretty damn hopeless. The Sox had just gotten smoked, my uncle was dying (more on this in a bit) and I was in depression. A lot of stuff has happened since then. I'm not going to do it justice, but I am going to try and recap the last ten days.

Sunday, October 17:
I am determined to keep my crappy mood going. I don't go to the Pats, I don't go to the concert and I sleep real late. Aly and I meet my folks and both of them try to cheer me up. It works, to a degree. I decide that I'm not watching Game Four. Too painful, we're going to a movie instead. Can't find one we want to see. Whatever, we'll rent one. Aly's VCR is busted.

We watch TV for a bit, Aly falls asleep around 10:30, I start flipping between the game and something else. The Sox are down by one with an inning to go. What the fuck, I'll see how the last inning goes. Here comes Rivera. Millar is up first (easy strikeout I think) he walks. Dave Roberts pinch runs and steals second. Bill Mueller drills a single into center, the Sox tie the game.

The game continues until 1:30 am before David Ortiz wins it with a walk off dinger. Those fuckers, I'm back in. Just like that. I can't fall asleep because I am too excited. Game Five in 14 hours.

Monday, October 18:
For being down 3-1, people around here are pretty excited. The game starts at 5:00 and doesn't end until 11. In that time, I've gone to the gym, tried not to get too excited and then freaked out when they won again. On another hit by Ortiz. Something is happening in Boston. This is really fucked up. Especially considering they were down by two in the eighth and Rivera blew his second save in the row. That has never happened in the post season.

Tuesday, October 19:
They're in the Bronx and Curt Schilling is pitching. This is the same Curt Schilling who was absolutely rocked the week before in game one and is limping on messed up ankle. They actually sutured a tendon in the wrong place so he could pitch. Read that last sentence again.

ARod shows his true colors by trying to slap a ball out of the hand of Sox reliever Bronson Arroyo. Most bush league play I've ever seen. You suck dude, you're a complete and total bull shit artist. Everything you say is carefully scripted until now when you showed your true colors. You don't deserve to wear the red, white and blue of the Boston Red Sox.

And did he ever pitch. Six shut out innings and the Sox scratch a couple of runs off of Jon "Game two hero" Leiber. They win. The series is now tied at 3-3. Game seven tomorrow in the Stadium. There was a game like this last year, can't recall how it ended.

Wednesday, October 20:
Here is the thing, realistically I wanted the Sox to win game four to avoid the sweep.
Then I wanted them to win game five, so the Yanks couldn't celebrate at Fenway.
Then I wanted them to win game six, just so we could go to game seven and see what happens.
Now I wanted them to win game seven, to make history.

Boston is completely off the hook right now. The Yanks are reeling and our boys (they've always been our boys) are moving in for the kill. The Bombers start Kevin Brown we counter with Derek "Just happy to be on the roster" Lowe. Ortiz hits a two-run dinger in the first. Damon hits a grand slam in the second. Lowe pitches brilliantly, the Sox cruise to the win and the team has done something that has never been done before.

The Yankees have choked in amazing fashion. No MLB team has ever come back from being down 0-3 and won a series. None. Zero. Zilch. Until now. Yankee fans are dying, it's awesome. Now they're the cursed team. Couldn't have happened to a better franchise.

In case you forgot, the Sox are going to the World Series. The first time since 1986. Unbelievable. Ryan came over and Drew flew up from DC. We ended up getting completely shit faced and walked to Davis Square. Unfortunately not much was going on down there, but some girl flashed us. That was the second coolest thing of the night.

I had never been flashed before. The next day at work, I was luggage. This was the first time since New Year's Day that I've been hungover. Not fun at all. I showed up late and took a nap in my car at lunch, not good times.

I also found out that my uncle died. My dad took it very well, but he is sad. I could tell he was sad because he didn't say much. Graveside services were held on Monday. It was weird seeing my uncle and aunt, both of whom I haven't seen in almost 20 years. We went out to lunch with them afterwards and it was really awkward. Thank God for Aly, she is really good at talking to people and did a tremendous job at smoothing over the rough spots.

Saturday, October 23:
It feels like Christmas. Everywhere you go people are asking, "What are you doing tonight? Where are you watching the game? Are the Cardinals that good?" Aly and I started our evening at a really nice Italian restaurant near her house. It was so good we were thinking about using them for our rehearsal dinner next year. Don't think we're going to, they're very expensive.

We ended up going to Keri and Byrnie's house. Aside from Keri, her friend Heather, and Byrnie, I didn't know anyone. Which was cool with me. They had three TVs showing the game, so I grabbed a couch and started watching. The one problem, it was the "girls'" room, so while I sort of looked like a dork as they talked about weddings, dresses and other stuff, I just zoned in on the game.

The Sox beat the crap out of Woody Williams, but the Cards (especially Larry Walker) smacked around Tim Wakefield. Mark Bellhorn, smacked a game winner two-run dinger off the Pesky Pole. One down, three to go.

Sunday, October 24:
Went to Aly's parents for a nice, home-cooked meal. Saw most of the Pats game, they beat the Jets to improve to 21-0 over the last year (that is unbelievable) and was home in time for the first pitch of game two. It's just me and Aly for this one, no on else is around.

The great Curt Schilling was on the mound again. Another six innings of shut out baseball. This guy is Jesus with a glove. The Sox jump all over Cards start Matt Morris and win again. This seems too easy. As Bon Jovi once said, "Oh, we're half way there ..."

Tuesday, October 26:
We are in St. Louis, where we have been told for the one millionth time that they have the best fans in the world. Ok. Whatever. They are very polite and give Sox starter Pedro Martinez a warm welcome. The Sox score first, and thanks to some base running blunders by Walker (thrown out at home by Manny) and Jeff Suppan (forgot to run home and ultimately doubled off), the Sox win 3-1. Pedro was dominant, setting down the last 15 batters who saw him. Keith Foulke gave up a meaningless homer in the ninth and it's one more win.

I watched this game with Aly, Sara and Sara's new boyfriend Chris. Kind of sucked because Sara was getting pissed when I'd get excited about the Sox. That was really fucking annoying. But, whatever, it's her house. She makes the rules, I guess.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004:
This is it. This is the big day. The Sox are looking to do a bunch of shit tonight. One: be the first team to win eight straight. Two: be the first Red Sox team to win a World Series since 1918. If they do it tonight, it's an end to the curse talk, the 19-18 chants, the highlights of Buckner, Bucky and Boone. Basically, it's a new era for Sox fans. If they win tonight, next year and every year after that is a tabla rasa. Clean slate.

Ryan, Andrew, Eddie, Josh, Keri, Byrnie, Skaus, Sara and a bunch of the latter two couples friends meet up at Olde Magoon's Saloon. We get a table in front. Eddie is to my right, Ryan is to my left, Skaus is two seats behind me and Drew is just about in front of me. I'm drinking, but I'm not going to get drunk. That was last week, this is serious business now. I want to enjoy it.

The first guy up, Damon, laces a homer. 1-0, Sox. Derek Lowe comes out and pitches awesomely. Another seven shut out innings. Trot drives in two more in the third. We're up 3-0. The Sox blow a couple of chances to score, which freaks some folks out (Hi Eddie!) and the Cards strand a few. It's the seventh inning and we're counting outs.

At zero, we go bananas. I mean, the entire place loses their collective shit. Champagne is flying everywhere, I'm hugging everyone in sight, my eyes are misting, Ryan is crying, Drew is crying, I bet Eddie crying. The entire bar is a mob scene, people slapping five, yelling, screaming, dancing, shouting, rejoicing. It is like a scene from a movie. I can't believe it. I'm numb. This is not supposed to happen to the Boston Red Sox. They usually only take us so far, and then they kick us out the door. But they did it. They brought it home. I am in love with everyone I see. I can't believe it.

The aftermath:
Here is the thing about Wednesday night, I have been dreaming about this moment for my entire life. And the funny thing is, is that it came out exactly how I thought it would. I knew I'd be in a bar in Boston (or close to Boston), I knew that Ryan would be to the left of me (that's just how I remember it) and I knew that there would be unbridled joy. Ryan, Eddie, Andrew and myself must've hugged and danced for 15 minutes straight. It was that awesome. I've never been so happy for something in my entire life. Just mind-blowing.

But like I said, it didn't sink in until yesterday. During lunch, I went to the beach like I always did and I was listening to the radio ... one of those tributes that has bits and pieces of the season interspliced with a song. I just started to bawl. And cry hard. Baseball is such an important part of my life, and the Red Sox are especially. From February through October, I'm with these guys every day. It feels like I know them, so when they do well I feel great. When they suck, I'm both pissed and sad.

I found out that a lot of my friends cried, including Jay and Brownie, which surprised the shit out of me. Emotional is not a word that I would use to describe either of those guys.

On SoSH, they had a "Win it for ..." thread and I posted in it as well as a thread about 1986. I am going to cut and paste them in here for posterity:

Win it for my mom. The person who taught me how to be a Sox fan and never give up hope.

In a bizarre twist of role reversals (not seen in our home since), it was my mom who told my brother and I to wait out Game Five of the 1986 ALCS, while my father wanted us to come to the table and eat the steaks he cooked. Dave Henderson rewarded our faith with a homer tastier than any steak I've ever had and my mother is the one who started it all.

I remember watching my mom cry when we watched the 1986 Red Sox highlight video in February and coming to the World Series part. I want to laugh with her when we watch the 2004 Red Sox highlight DVD in February and come to the World Series part.

Thanks mom.

I called my mom on Wednesday and thanked her for making me a Sox fan.

Here is the 1986 thing, it is very similar:

1986 was my year too.

I remember really starting to collect baseball cards that spring/summer and wondering why Clemens' Topps card wasn't more "exciting". Riding to Cumberland Farms with $2 in change has never been more fun.

I remember collecting those goofy cartoons of the players that the Globe used to put in the middle of their Sunday comics page.

I remember my mom and dad bringing my brother and I to our first real game as a family in July against the White Sox and marveling at how at ease my dad was in "the big city".

I remember clipping every article, every mention of the Red Sox from three different newspapers in September and pasting them in my scrap book.

I remember my buddy Mike coming to school on Monday and telling me before the doors opened how awesome it was that his uncle took him to Fenway that Sunday so he could watch the Sox clinch the AL East.

I remember thinking, "What the feck" when Schiraldi and the bullpen had their first meltdown in the Angels series.

I remember being hopelessly elated when Hendu hit his dinger.

I remember exactly where I was sitting when the Mets won game six.

I remember being mad that I couldn't stay up to watch Game Seven.

I remember watching my mom cry when we watched the 1986 Red Sox highlight video in February and coming to the World Series part. I remember crying too.

I guess I'm just a sentimental fuck. =)

BTW, there is a reason why I didn't write for 10 days, check it out:

Let me preface this by saying that I don't believe in curses, but I do believe in good mojo. That being said, I did five things since Oct. 17 that I feel were instrumental in this championship.

1. I wore my 1986 Seattle Mariners hat on every game day. Even if it was for three minutes, it worked. During the Yankee series I cycled through my Red Sox hat, my ASU hat and going hatless before settling on the Mariners cap. Don't ask me why it worked ... the ancient Greeks believed that an upside down trident was bad luck. The ancient Greeks never ran into the 2004 Boston Red Sox. 8-0 baby!

2. I wore the same blue windbreaker until today. It was phucking freezing out on some days, but I still wore that stupid thing. Clinging to summer, I suppose.

3. I wore the same black gym shorts all month. No explanation for this, I guess I'm just gross.

4. I didn't write in my Blog since after Game 3. I was so frustrated and tired of them then, that I just didn't want to deal with them. Of course, then Sunday came. I plan on writing a bit tonight.

5. I never told anyone about anything (I did about the hat, because I had to explain why I'm wearing that to the clinching game of the World Series). This includes reading anything in this thread up until now.

Now let me end this entry with an email from my buddy Reddish. This guy is not a sports fan. He doesn't hate them, but he just doesn't have time for it either. Here is what he said about where he was (the Grand Canal in Boston) on Wednesday night:

the scene was just crazy - but not in a destructive way.
i hive fived about 200 people. everyone you walked by was high fiving each other. everyone flocked to fanuiel hall area. there was no road, just people. everyone was just friendly and really happy. as someone here said "it was all love" i didnt go all the way into the madness, i stood on the wall by the jewish memorial. i was already covered in beer from the bar. i thought the bar was gonna be torn apart. just madness when they won.

it was so fun. i so would not have gotten the same experience watching it on tv at home. since im so fairweathered. im more happy for the die hards like you.

That about sums it up.

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