[Rough Draft]

A weblog about god, doubt, insomnia, culture, baseball

4.02.2004

my old olde towne team

it's odd starting a season w/o a "hometown 9" for the first time in 3 summers. when we moved to boston, i already loved the red sox, but as my friend todd pointed out, if the sox matched up w/ the braves/cubs . . . then my sox loyalty had run out all the tether. but the first season i got to watch practically every game on nesn or fox13 or wb38 or wherever the game happened to be that night, i was hooked. when i was younger my family always traveled to a series a year that one of my favorite clubs was participating in, usually atlanta or maybe the texas rangers and whoever. now i had a hometown team! these were my guys! i woke up and checked the globe for the box score if they'd been on the (irredeemedly evil) west coast the night before. lifesize pictures of these guys were on the windows of my dunkin' donuts. they raised money for the jimmy fund and even for that stupid hot dog safari thing fat old tongue-tied eddie andelman hawked every summer (i'll never forgive him for the "yankee elimination pahty" debacle). they went on sports sunday late @ night to talk to the same guys who would interview them the next day on weei or 1510thezone, and the same guys were out there listening. we think football is somehow holy in the south? we have no idea (except maybe the bengal tigahs and their "daah da daaaaaaaah dah!!"). the red sox are a religion, and it's adherents are cab drivers and millionaires, 8-year-olds and guys who haven't missed a game @ fenway since that williams kid was a rook, cape codders and guys from southie (even a transplanted family from way, way down southie in the land of cotton).

i write all this b/c i miss it so. and i can't even think of what mental duress i would suffer were the sox blessed enough to win a series this year when i'm stranded away from the fens! but that's what guys like dennis, girls like renee' (she's more rabid than me, for chrissake), and guys like the gentleman on the other end of the phone @ directv when i place that call tomorrow are for.

i admit, though, that i toyed w/ not bringing up curses @ all. i don't particularly care to sell any more books for shaughnessey, to be right up front about it. and my friend, brian birkey, commented tonight that he finds himself in the camp w/ bill littlefield who wrote in the globe last week: Boston fans are not rooting for a team that's cursed. They are rooting for a team that's blessed, if they'd only see it — a team better than any other at generating the sort of tales the ancients used to tell one another around flickering fires — not easy tales of annual triumph but long, episodic, sustaining stories of struggle, promise and promise subverted, frailty, cowardice, terrible surprise, failure, and loss; in short, tales of each of us and of all of us. i also like littlefield's recounting of the line, and probably not an apocryphal one @ that, spoken by the barkeep who shut off the TV and said in the dumb hush that followed the last out, "The sons of bitches killed our fathers, and now they're coming after us." That's said to have happened in Connecticut after the '78 playoff game against the Yankees, but it doesn't matter, does it? It could have happened in '67, or '75, or '86, or '03.

nope. it doesn't matter. whether i'm in boston or oxford or tokyo, i'll be watching the sox on sunday night. and i'll listen to some webradio on monday to hear all the cryin' and spittin' and whinin' and (simultaneously) "the yanks are done" ballyhoo that 'al from the cape' of whatever infamous radio pseudo-personality blurts on the air. and i'll be in heaven. which, after much theological reflection, i understand to be a little like fenway. but w/ not as good italian sausage and wine instead of beer.

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