Friday, September 23, 2005

"They May Be Bums, But They're Our Bums"

Whenever a week like this goes by, Danny Kaye's words, though they be about another team and another time, always ring true.

Would it blow your mind, if I told you all the times this week that I've sat down to write this post, numbered in the double digits? Because I have. But the Red Sox have gotten in the way. Every time I thought I had a handle, thought I had a grasp on the character of this week, they threw me a knuckler.

Last week, baseball helped carry me through all the usual unusual changes of going back to school. If I got homesick, I turned on Joe and Jerry and, instant calm.

One would think it would be the same this week, that baseball might provide a respite for the tangible and financial crazy that is the first week of classes. As it turned out, class was a refuge from the Red Sox.

I've gone from angry to elated to sad to numb to hopeful to rationalizing to hopeful again all over the space of four days. And am not ruling out a similar journey in the next 48 hours.

It is something that only a few other sports cities can understand, like (from personal experience) Philadelphia. That somehow this team metamorphoses into something like a person. And if not a person, maybe at least a sentient being. Or at least we feel like it does. One that's capable of manipulation, love and betrayal, and everything in between.

For example A, see the Surviving Grady Message Board on the Monday night game. At about the 8th inning, things had gotten so bad, there was a mass threat to move to France. (Do not ask. We had our reasons, and they were good.) But the moment, Papi hit a two-out homer in the top of the ninth, hope flowed back into the words being written. Yet just as quickly, that hope dissipated with Manny's game-ending strikeout. But the fact that it was there says something very important.

One of the reasons that Boston is a complicated and difficult place to play, is that Red Sox Nation feels things so incredibly deeply. It's also a reason why it can be a great place to play, and why it alternates between the two so quickly.

But most importantly, it's why we stay. It's why we are so freaked out at falling a game back of first place.
It's also why we'll tell anybody who'll listen that when the dust clears on October 3rd, we'll be the last team standing.
We may not believe it as strongly as we did, but damn if we're going to let anyone else deny it.

String Bean v. Cabrera, 7:35. This would be a hell of a time for a little bit of that All-Powerful Vegetable Mojo, baby boy.