It was exciting and agonizing and really cold and I hate Buchholz and Punto, though Punto made it better at the end and it was tiring and aggravating and thrilling and and and and…
I want to go again.
A longer write-up…whenever. I’m too tired now to do it right.
This’ll do for now.
For the first time, tomorrow, I’m going to a Red Sox game.
I’m excited. Really excited. I fell like this is what I’ve been preparing for all this time. This experience.
I’ve read about the history of baseball. I’ve watched documentaries and news clips and autobiographies and biographies and articles. I’ve watched it live and taped and listened to it on the radio. I’ve met (briefly) old players and walked along the infield and even sat in the dugout at Fenway.
And now, just now, I’m going to go to a game.
Lately, I haven’t been feeling that excited about baseball lately. Now, I know what you’re thinking. “Dylan, you’re just depressed after that 18-3 loss to the Rangers. And then the subsequent loss after that. And the loss that preceded that one.” To which I say, “Yeah.”
But that’s not the entire reason. I can’t really watch the games, since I don’t have a TV and I’m usually working when the games are on. So I have to listen to the radio. It’s a good way to enjoy the game, if that’s your only option, but I miss watching it and seeing what’s going on. I feel distanced from the game, which is frustrating since the games play less than a mile from where I work.
So, today, when I found out that Fenway was holding an open house, I ran on down like I was on fire. It’s been a while since my Fenway tour and it’ll be more than a week before I can go to a game. This was a great way to get back into the baseball atmosphere quick and cheap as free.
I’m so glad I went. I met some players (Gary Bell thinks I’m old enough to have an eight year old kid). I got covered in infield dirt. I got to sit in the dugout. I was surrounded by Sox fans. I saw hundreds of jerseys that said Damon and Pedroia and Ramirez and Ortiz and Schilling. I saw Luis Tiant signing autographs for fans out in the parking lot, even though he could have totally just run for his car and driven off, cackling.
The author pretty close to home plate looking concerned.
On some level, aside from the wins and the losses, baseball makes me happy and today reminded me of that.
Of course, if, tomorrow, the Sox would please paste the Highlanders like they did 100 years ago, I would much appreciate it.
“A .300 hitter, that rarest of breeds these days, goes through life with the certainty that he will fail at his job seven out of ten times.”
As you may be aware, I’ve been immersing myself in baseball in an attempt to fit in more into Boston culture. I’ve read about the successes and failures of teams throughout the decades. I’ve watched clips of Bill Buckner’s error and read about Merkle’s Boner (that’s a term that has not aged well). A friend of mine has warned me about following the Red Sox. He speaks of the collapse last September like other people talk about the exact moment they realized their marriage had failed or when they heard about JFK being assassinated. He told me that it would be hard being a Red Sox fan.
I’ll be honest: I laughed at him. After all, I was well aware of the pain and suffering of the average Sox fan. They’ve bobbled away the World Series. They’ve failed, time and again, when it mattered the most. They’ve lost, even when they’ve had the best men in the league on their team. I know all of this and I thought I could handle any loss or losing streak with the knowledge that baseball, like all things, moves in cycles. Even if they’re not on top this year, there’s always next year. Even if they’re in a slump NOW, there’s always next game. There are 160 games in a season. Losing one game is no big deal, not really.
I was wrong.
I’ve been enraged (See The Vernacular of Sports). I’ve been depressed. I’ve screamed at the radio. I’ve curled into a little ball on the floor and cried softly. Six games in and they’ve won exactly one.
There is, as I think I’ve mentioned before, a big difference between reading about the Red Sox and following them as a fan. And I don’t even have the burned-out, jaded cynical perspective to protect me. I go into each game with the cheerful, freckle-faced innocence of a young babe, assuming that this time it’ll be all right.
And you know what? They WILL be.
They’re in a slump. A small slump. They’ll get it together. It’s (unfortunately) like last year. They just need to get warmed up and then they’re going to unleash Hell.
Go Red Sox!