Tuesday, July 18, 2006


Game 91 – Red Sox

Red Sox 5, Royals 4
Record: 55-36

I snapped. It happens once or twice every season, and last night, after 4 days of indifferent baseball that coincided with 4 days of peace and quiet in my house (albeit lonely peace and quiet) I lost it with the Red Sox. The results were surprisingly refreshing.

My wife took the kids to see her parents last week, returning last night just a few minutes before Tim Wakefield threw out the game’s first pitch. My daughters, 4 and 2 years of age, were a lethal combination of overtired and overexcited when they walked in the door (and cute, can’t forget cute). Joyous hugs turned into frenzied screaming became earsplitting crying in the span of about 15 minutes.

In a case of baseball imitating life, Timmy Wake’s outing paralleled the chaos in my living room neatly, as a tidy first inning was followed in the next frame by a bogus hit batsman, a seeing eye grounder, 2 walks, and a Joey Gathright squib single to give the Royals a 3-0 lead. Fuck it, I’m done. And off I went to throw the girls into the tub, fully prepared to not watch any more baseball for the evening.

An hour or so later, girls fast asleep and my blood pressure moderated slightly, I took a deep breath and flipped back to NESN. 4-0 Royals. These asshats are gonna lose to the Kansas City Fucking Royals. I can’t watch this.

Another 30 minutes or so passed, and I was content to read Seth Mnookin’s Feeding the Monster, sating my Sox addiction with the story of John W. Henry’s purchase of the Sox and the subsequent tale of the rise and near fall of baseball’s most unique front office. Curiosity got the better of me though, and I turned quickly back to the game, finger poised on the recall button, fully ready to exhale another expletive and leave the Sox for dead. Lo and behold, the game was tied at 4, and Manny Ramirez was at the plate with nobody out in the 8th inning and the go-ahead run on 3rd.

I changed channels for an instant, as if to make a point to the Sox that I can quit any time I want, then turned back in time to watch Manny bring home the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly to left. Continuing the parallel themes, I made a similar point to a bottle of wine while my family was out of town, leaving an empty glass on the coffee table for a full 15 minutes on Saturday night – taught that sumbitch a lesson.

With the Sox properly chastened, I deigned to watch the final frame and ended the evening 180 degrees from where I’d started after Jonathan Papelbon blew away Doug Mientkiewicz on a pop to the catcher to end the game. From clinically insane to the picture of stability in 3 short hours. Maybe NESN could use that as a tag line.

(Oh, and speaking of NESN, watch this space for a profanity-laced rant in the next several days if they don’t reverse their recently adopted policy of blacking out pre- and post-game coverage for non-local subscribers. Every other regional sports network has paid the appropriate fees to MLB to continue to provide full content to their satellite-based subscribers outside their region. I’ll give NESN a few days to come to their senses and then I’ll let loose an ineffectual stream of bile that’ll knock your socks right off.)

No comments: