Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Game 150 - Red Sox. Curse This.

Red Sox 3, Devil Rays 2
Record: 88-52
AL East: 5.5 GB NYY
Wild Card: 1st - 2.5 up on Sea

Sox win. Mariners lose. Thank you, sir, may I have another.

Complete game victory for Sir Pedro, who refused to come out of the game in the 9th inning. The offense has carried the team all season, so it's nice to see the pitching staff sucking it up down the stretch. The Sox have only won 6 times when scoring fewer than 4 runs this year, in 38 such games. Mostly, this points out the fact that the offense has scored a silly amount of runs, but the pitching staff hasn't come up large in tight, low-scoring games very often, either.

In September, though, Pedro and Lowe are beginning to resemble the league's best 1-2 combo that Sox fans followed last year. In their last 6 combined starts, they're 5-0 with a 1.84 ERA. The Sox have won all 6 games, and a combined 11 of the last 13 Pedro/Lowe starts. Pedro's 3-0, 1.17 with 24 Ks and 4BB in 23 innings in September, and he's gone 8 and 9 innings in his last 2 starts. Lowe's sucked it up and battled through some bad luck to keep the Sox in his games in the last month. The studs that the Sox need to take them deep into the postseason are peaking at exactly the right time.

Starting pitching - check. Offense - check. Bullpen - umm, check, please (but at least they're rested).

In somewhat related news, HBO aired 'The Curse of the Bambino' last night. The documentary, which was basically about Sox fans and the disappointments they've suffered since 1918, alternately pissed me off, made me laugh, and broke my heart. The producers mixed the recollections of a series of public figures and diehard Sox fans with game footage to describe the masochistic existence of Red Sox Nation.

I found myself connecting deeply with the memories of my fellow fans, famous (like Denis Leary, actor Michael Chiklis, and comedian Lenny Clarke) and not (several heretofore anonymous New Englanders). When the focus moved to Game 6 of the 1986 World Series, I laughed in amazed solidarity as person after person recounted their individual experiences on that night, and damn near cried as the producers showed the awful events of the bottom of the 10th inning. The looks on the faces of the Sox players as they first felt assured of victory and then crumbled in defeat were mirrored by the patrons of a Back Bay bar, who went from delirium to sick, numbing pain in a matter of minutes.

I was more irritated by the comments of most of the professional observers, most notably Boston radio personality Eddie Andelman, who had the single worst quote of the film. Andelman said that he wanted his tombstone to read, "He never saw the Red Sox win the World Series." That sort of New England Puritan hairshirt-wearing crap makes me wall-climbing insane. Other journalists suggested that the Sox would lose all meaning, all sense of story and drama if they were to win a championship. I'm sorry you won't be able to make any more money from your book, Mr. Shaughnessy.

By the end of the hour, when the interviewees were trying to describe in advance their feelings when the Sox win the World Series, my eyes were moist. It's that feeling of shared pain, of unrequited but passionate love that separates Red Sox fans from most others. They will win someday, and the catharsis will be staggering. I can't wait.

Oh, and lotta games left. Stay on target.

No comments: