October 21, 2004

Dispatches From a Parallel Universe

Today's Musical Selection: "Unbelievable" by EMF

So, how do you like that? Really, how do you like that? For those of you who've been living under a rock for the last week or so, the Boston Red Sox just pulled off the greatest comeback in sports history, rallying from a 3-0 ALCS deficit to defeat the mighty imperial New York Yankees, giving them a shot at their first Series win since 1918.

So when did you start to believe? Did you assume, as I did, that the usual fates were asserting themselves when Damon got thrown out at home? How about when Cairo got on with that phantom hit-by-pitch, stole second and scored? How about when Francona inexplicably yanked Lowe and brought in, of all people, Pedro? How about when Pedro started melting down, with the "1918" signs and "Who's Your Daddy?" chants rattling the stadium and clearly ringing in Pedro's ears? Did you lose faith then?

I'll admit I lost faith with the Pedro move. Normally, even a worrywart fan like me is comfortable with a seven-run lead, but these are the Red Sox, and these are the Yankees. Lowe was clearly working his magic; the Yanks barely touched him. To yank him after only six innings was absurd. To replace him with a tired, flaky pitcher with a bad history against the Yanks was worse. To bring in the guy who'd made one of the most ill-advised quotes in baseball, one that would bring a pretty much dormant crowd back to life... well, it was just plain stupid. Stupid and mystifying.

And when the Yanks greeted him with back-to-back doubles... well, I said to myself, "So this is how it's going to come apart." Francona sat there in the dugout, apparently blissfully unaware of the fact that the sad history of the Red Sox was about to claim him in its wake. How could he be so stupid? How could he make the one move that could cause an 8-1 lead to disappear? Why does this always happen to the Red Sox?

Except, of course, it didn't. For once, the Red Sox didn't choke when it counted. For once, they came up strong with the chips on the line. (My friend the Gamer Girl compares them to John Kerry: they won't put up much of a fight until they're backed into a corner, and then there's no stopping them.)

I watched the game in the company of my dad, noted Yankee fan. Since I was rooting openly for the Red Sox, this had the potential to be ugly (not call-out-the-riot-police ugly, but definitely unpleasant). Fortunately, though, Dad was in a good humor about it, mocking the struggles of his Yanks right along with me. Although he did make one of the funniest statements I have heard in a long time. "If we had 9 Miguel Cairos, we'd have won this thing." I'm reasonably sure that this is the first time this sentence has been uttered in world history. And it's definitely amusing that a fan of a team with a $200 million payroll was openly pining for a team full of Miguel Cairos. But the funniest thing, I think, was that he was absolutely right. Cairo was the only Yankee to exert a consistent effort the entire series.

My sister, who has adopted the Sawx since moving to New Hampshire, called my dad in the fifth inning to taunt him. Dad replied, "Yeah, thanks, I needed an update on how the game was going." Obviously my sister hasn't been a Boston fan long; no true Sox fan would call to taunt anyone in the middle of a game. Anything can happen.

I would like to state for the record that I deserve a small bit of credit for Boston's victory. On Sunday afternoon I visited Barnes and Noble and purchased "The Last Night of the Yankee Dynasty" by Buster Olney. Of course, I immediately dashed over to my parents' house and tormented my dad with it. At the time, sitting on a 3-0 cushion, he dismissed it pretty breezily. In fact, he said, "You know, I hope Houston and St. Louis go seven. We can use the rest." The Yankees haven't won since. New England, you're welcome.

What a wild week. For five straight nights, it's been tension and adrenaline and lost sleep. I feel like I've grabbed hold of a live wire and I've just let go of it. I'm drained, yet somehow still wired. When you come down off the tightrope like that, you just feel hollowed out. I can't even imagine what it feels like to be a Red Sox fan. Boston, enjoy the party!

As for me, I need to start catching up on all that sleep I've been missing. See you tomorrow!

Posted by Fred at October 21, 2004 01:13 AM

This is a bit confusing Mediocre Fred. You say this is a blog from a parallel universe. But it doesn't seem like it

Posted by: Chip Zoobie at May 23, 2005 09:15 PM
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