Thursday, October 28, 2004

World Series Game 4

Final Score:

Boston Red Sox 3, St. Louis Cardinals 0

It's been almost twelve hours since the Red Sox became the baseball champions of the world for the first time since 1918 and I still can't entirely wrap my mind around it, let alone have any sort of perspective. Of course, as I've proven numerous times this season, this journal isn't about perspective, it's about feeling...and feeling is one thing I've got a lot of right now. I watched the replay of last nights of SportsCenter this morning and got all weepy just watching the highlights from the game. I get weepy watching Nike's commercial showing two Red Sox fans going from little boys to old men in seats along the first base line at Fenway over a span of 86 years. Hell, I get teared up just thinking about getting weepy. All season I got choked up just thinking what would happen if the Sox did what really had been the impossible and won and wondered how I'd react. I still don't know how to do so.

So many little things from last night coming together. Derek Lowe pulled the hat trick of cinchers last night, by completing the hat trick of incredible Red Sox starting pitching during this World Series. Seven innings, no runs, three hits, one walk, four strikeouts. Set down thirteen or fourteen in a row at one point. Johnny Damon leading off the game with a homerun into the right field seats to grab the lead for the start YET AGAIN. Trot Nixon getting THREE doubles, including one that put the Sox ahead 3 - 0. Keith Foulke, who went from blowing it for the A's last post-season to becoming Rivera-like this post-season, closing out the ninth and catching that chopper from Renteria, staring at it in astonishment, as if surprised to find the winning ball in his glove, then tossing it to Doug Mientkiewiecz to end the game.

Emotional moments as both Robin and I broke down for several minutes, then wandered around the apartment talking to the multitude of people who wanted to celebrate by phone. Talking to my father, up in New Hampshire with a group of Red Sox fans. Talking to my sister, out in Ohio, discussing the Red Sox tattoo she was planning to get this morning. Talking to my grandfather, who had called the necessity for the Nomar trade several years ago and turned out to be very, very right. Talking to my mother, who had a premonition the Sox would win the World Series during the game 3. After three shots in rapid succession, talking to my friend Jeff in a drunken slur about how incredible it all was while watching an episode of Scrubs. Hanging out in the bar downstairs with Nikki, Ryan and Robin and not knowing what to say for the toasts that accompanied those shots. And I'm still not entirely able to believe that it all actually happened.

Simultaneously, some realizations; an attempt to put some logic into the situation: this was the first year that I came even close to listening to or watching every game, even over last year. This was the first year Robin and I watched or listened to games together consistently (we have a perfect post-season record when we watch games together, by the way). This was the first year I kept this diary. So much that I could attribute to a win, just as I'm sure many other fans across the country and the world are doing right now.

More firsts: for the first time in my life, I don't have to listen to chants of "1918" and not have an answer, I don't have to have Yankees fans tell me they feel bad that I'm a Red Sox fan, I don't have to say, "maybe next year" or "why does this always happen to us?" because my team, the world champions, made history by coming back from the impossibly deep hole, winning an unprecedented eight post-season games in a row and becoming the first World Series winners in Boston since the end of World War One. Like Bill Simmons put it, " Now the 1918 jokes are done. Now TV networks can't ruin our playoff games anymore. Now we can watch Red Sox games without waiting for the Other Shoe. Now we don't have to deal with manipulative books and documentaries, or hear about Buckner, Zimmer, Grady, Pesky, Torrez, Stanley and Schiraldi ever again. It's a clean slate. We're like those ugly contestants who show up on "The Swan," get fifty grand worth of plastic surgery, then start sobbing in front of a full-length mirror when they see themselves. That's every Red Sox fan right now. Eighty-six years wiped away. Just like that."

I think back to listening to pre-season games back in March in my old apartment, starting this blog at the end of April, suffering through that awful June, the fight in July that turned the season around, hearing about the news of the trade and wondering what the management was thinking, cursing Terry Francona more times than I can count, the magic hot streak in August, coming so close to taking first place in September, beating the Angels in three for the ALDS, beating the Yankees in seven for the ALCS after the incredible turn-around in game 4 and finally all of last night. Over those seven months, 25 or so strangers became like a weird extension of my family and as promised when I started this journal, there was much suffering and much joy. I want to thank the Boston Red Sox and all of the people who were fans with me (or supported my being a fan, as crazy as it was) and all of the people, like my father, who taught me what it was to be a Red Sox fan for this's truly a blessing.

I guess with that sentiment, I'll close out this volume of the Diary of a Red Sox fan. I'll be back soon with announcements about who's being resigned, who's been traded and all the hot stove talk that make up the long cold winter as I wait for the next season to begin and the fun (and these regular posts) to start again. I'm looking forward to more from the dynamic duo of Manny and Big Papi, more thrillers from Schilling, the continued blossoming of Arroyo, Johnny Damon having another great year leading off and the composition of the team next year. I'm looking forward to watching baseball without sports' equivalent of the Sword of Damocles hanging over my head. It's gonna be fun. GOOOOOOOOOOO SOOOOOOOOOOOX!!!!!!!!