“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!