The Baseball Desert

Monday, October 18, 2004

Down, but not out

Well, the Red Sox decided that they didn’t just want to roll over and let the Yankees walk all over them on their way to the World Series, and, of course, I wasn’t there to see it. It wasn’t that I lost the faith (although the Red Sox gave its fans plenty of reason to do that over the three previous games) – I just simply lost the physical ability to follow the game. I got up at 2am on Saturday morning for the game that never was, then on Saturday night I thought it might be nice to boost morale a little bit by seeing what Roger Clemens might be able to do against the mighty Cardinals. That game ran straight into Game 3 of the Yankees – Red Sox and I stayed right to the end of that one, despite the fact that the game turned into a batting-practice romp for the Yankees. Even at the best of times I’m someone who gets easily ticked off by the cool, calm confidence that the Yankees seem to exude, but Saturday night was the nightmare to end all nightmares. By the time the game was in its fifth inning I was yelling obscenities at every single Yankee who came to the plate, and those normally mildly-annoying mannerisms that they have at the plate (Jeter holding his hand up to the home-plate umpire until he’s ready to face the pitch, Sheffield’s menacing psycho-killer bat-waggle, Matsui’s nervous twitch of the shoulder as he waits for the pitch to arrive) were driving me up the wall.

When the massacre was finally over, I packed up my baseball gear, jumped in the car and headed out to our ballpark for our final game of the season – a third-place playoff game with no real impact on our position in the division (our fate had already been sealed last weekend when we lost the first playoff game to the division winners). Having seen the Red Sox gets their collective rear end kicked only hours before, there was definitely a distinct feeling of déjà vu on the field, as we ended up on the wrong end of a 22-8 scoreline.

So, sleepless night + draining, frustrating ballgame = very little chance to see much baseball last night. I tried to hang in there and catch some of the Astros – Cardinals game, which turned out to be a thriller, but I didn’t make it past the second inning, and then I slept through what sounds like an even better game at Fenway – the Sox tied it in the ninth off Mariano Rivera and then David Ortiz’s walk-off two-run homer in the bottom of the twelfth gave Red Sox Nation reason to believe.

The Red Sox still have a mountain to climb – they are going to have to re–write the record books if they want to progress to the World Series, but they proved last night that they’re still breathing. They’ve needed inspiration all through the season – sometimes it came from “No way!” trades, sometimes it came from brawls on the field, sometimes it came from the fact that these “Idiots” just seemed to be enjoying playing baseball together – so here’s hoping that Ortiz’s home run can light a fire under this team and allow them to accomplish the impossible.