Tuesday, September 02, 2003

Game 137 - Red Sox, or Punch Drunk Love

Red Sox 13, Phillies 9
Record: 79-58
AL East: 4.5 GB NYY
Wild Card: 1 GB Sea

Behold the power of positive thinking! As the Sox were fighting a deeply flawed, but highly compelling, battle with the Phils, I fought a battle no less compelling with my own demons. Time and time again, the Sox tempted me to explode with rage over issues large (like Jeff Suppan's inability to get outs, or Grady Little's death-by-1000-cuts mismanagement style) and small (like David Ortiz' failure to slide into home, or Nomar's sling-and-hope wild throw to first). Time and time again, though, I kept my cool, enjoying a baseball game for the sake of enjoying a baseball game.

There were no thrown objects, no tortured screams. When things got bleak, and Scott Sauerbeck loaded the bases with no outs in the 7th (and, for what it's worth, he should not see meaningful game action for the rest of this season), I simply gathered up my daughter and went outside to play on the swingset. 30 minutes later, I returned just in time to watch Ortiz smash a double to center to give the Sox a lead. Point, me.

Then, after Grady let Mike Timlin load the bases again, and Jim Thome smoked a single to center to give the Phils a 9-7 lead, I felt my blood begin to boil. Two days ago, I would have stayed in the basement, screaming and ranting. Today, I jumped on my bike and set out on a cleansing 45-minute workout. I returned home to watch ESPNews recap the Sox' 6-run 9th inning, topped by Trot Nixon's grand slam. I was exhausted, thrilled, and a newly minted believer in the value of positivity over negativity. Damn, I love this team, all except Scott Sauerbeck.

The Sox play 2 against the smoking hot White Sox, while the Yankees get Toronto, Oakland has Baltimore, and Seattle beats up on Tampa Bay. The tough part of the schedule ends on Sunday after the Sox head to New York for the final three games of the season with the Yanks. If the Sox are within 2 games of the wild card after 9/7, I like their chances.

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