Thursday, October 21, 2004

An added benefit to last night's win

By jacking up the cosmic balance, Americans everywhere gain two additional benefits: the worst collapse in baseball history wipes the smirk off of the obnoxious Yankee fans and their sense of smug entitlement. And the amazing comeback should mostly wipe out all those narcissistic pronouncements of romantic suffering from self-obsessed Sox fans. (But you know, you still got to let us Sox fans have our day. If you aren't moved by this thread, expressing all the dashed hopes of generations of Sox fans who didn't live to see this moment, your last name is probably Cheney.)

Are the Yanks now cursed by A-Rod? If I believed in curses, then maybe. I like the line about how the Sox were like Michael Corleone, taking out 86 years of vengeance last night in great final hurrah. Aura and Mystique, slain in one night.

Last navel-gazing suffering Sox fan link: this Peter King column is really good.

Bring on the _______!

Reversing the Curse

I still can't believe it.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

The burden of history

One team's like Dodi, the dude who's got the billionaire dad, the smooth, practiced charm of a man born to wealth and privilege, and the princess as his date. The other is like the awkward guy on the other side of the tracks who's always making the move just when the girl falls in love with someone else.

It's an old story. The Pinstripes against the Dirt Dogs. The clean-cut, buttoned-down pretty boys led by golden boys A-Fraud (to quote Sports Guy, a guy who'd turn over an 'R' in Scrabble and pretend it's a blank letter) and Captain Intangibles vs. the scruffy, unkempt working class types symbolized by unwashed baseball caps and dreadlocks.

Overblown metaphors and superstitions aside, tonight will see the most intense rivalry in sports, with a new script but the same old actors. On one side you have the Yankees, the most decorated franchise in sports, with a $180 million payroll and a couple of the most fearsome hitters in baseball, a team who, in the course of the season, has made miraculous comebacks seem expected -- routine even. On the other, a team synonomous with snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, for teasing fans with hope only to break their hearts in ways nobody can imagine.

Game 6 saw one of the most heroic performances I've ever seen in sports. Curt Schilling had his skin sutured to his bone to prevent his tendon from popping. With his right sock soaked in his own blood (appropriately, Mr. Red Sock), he pitched 7 crafty innings, locating his pitches to keep the Yankees at bay and give the depleted Sox bullpen a needed breather. It saw calls the Yankees always get -- interference, home-runs that never were -- reversed. Correctly. And in the last three games we've seen those damn Yankees, all those legendary "clutch" players, falter in key situations time and again. Even Captain Intangibles himself, Derek Jeter, choked.

To this point, this series has seen a reversal of roles, with the Yankees on the verge of the biggest collapse in baseball history, and the Sox on the brink of an improbable comeback. No team has ever come back from 3-0 to force a 7 game in baseball history. The Red Sox have done it, in three of the most dramatic games anyone has ever seen. Win this last game, and they can wash away that entire dubious history of missed ground balls, people stealing home, and the 8th inning collapses. They would hang on their hated rivals a scarlet "C" -- the title of the biggest chokers in baseball history. If you believe in curses, this is the "reverse the curse" game, the culmination of the entire rivalry all in one game.

But the baseball gods are cruel. Like television writers, they usually manage a way to get to the same ending in new ways. And this might be the cruelest season yet, coming up with the most dramatic scenario imaginable to tease Sox fans only to see the Sox fumble away their best chance to overcome history.

Dear Baseball Gods: We've seen DerekJeter leap out of the dugout with his right arm raised one too many times. It is tiresome. If you do it again, this program will have jumped the shark. Please do something different, like the time when Tom beat Jerry. That one episode was awesome.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Who said baseball was boring?

What an amazing night of baseball. After that 14 inning marathon between the Sox and the Yanks, I feel like my stomach's been chopped into Chinese sausages. That was epic baseball. Missed opportunities. Botched running plays. Bad calls. A double that bounced into the seat, saving the Sox's season. And above all, a heroic performance from a shot bullpen, with guys bringing absolutely nothing and still getting those vital outs. Timlin, Embree, Foulke, Arroyo, Myers, and above all, Wakefield were the big heroes. As always, the Sports Guy captures the fragile psyche of Red Sox Nation last night.

On the NL side, a well pitched game which ended in dramatic fashion, courtesy of Jeff Kent. But Carlos Beltran is the real difference-maker in that series, making that spectacular catch in CF and distracting Isringhausen on the basepaths that led to the fat pitch to Kent. Beltran is the superstar of the postseason thus far.

As I had been telling everyone over the weekend, I had been trying to emotionally divest myself of the Sox, who looked like they wouldn't even put up a fight. But everyone time I try to get out, they pull me back in. They squeezed two wins out in the most dramatic fashion possible, and I now spent the day pondering relief pitcher availability (the Sox basically need Schilling to go 6 or 7, and hope to scratch together a couple of innings from Mendoza, Lescanic, and possibly Lowe), and scouring every post on Sons of Sam Horn.

This is a special team. It's still likely the Sox will lose this Game 6, with healthy Sox nemesis Jon Lieber on the mound at home against a gimpy Schilling. But if the Sox's long and storied history of heartbreak ends this year, there's no better way to do it than to mount the greatest comeback in postseason history against their hated rivals.

Who knows? Maybe I'll even allow myself to hope. Just a little.

Monday, October 18, 2004

I wish capes would come back in fashion.

When's the last time it was acceptable for a guy to wear a cape? 19th century Italy? Whenever it was, the cape has been unfairly gathering dust in history's Salvation Army pile, treated like the powdered wig or the monacle. In fact, it is among the most dashing and heroic articles of clothing around. Thinking about it, I really wish someone would bring back the cape for men. Donning a cape, you'll feel like a cross between Napolean and Superman. Imagine how cool you'll feel when your cape flows in the wind. Or indulge in the stylistic flair of pulling your cape back, like a modern day Count Dracula.

Consider the other benefits:

* You can discreetly scratch your private areas when the cape drapes down over your body.

* You can chivalrically lay the cape over a puddle of water for your date to walk across.

* It can double as a pancho in case of unexpected rain.

* Tired of being decked out in the same striped button down worn by every other trendoid? No one's gonna mistake you -- a cool cape wearing fool -- for that tool spilling his beer on the dance floor.

* You can use it as a blanket at the movie theater to give your date more freedom to roam his/her hands around your lap.

* Using the bulletproof cloth Batman uses, you can block stray bullets if you're in a war zone or in a dangerous urban environs.

* A burgundy cape will add a dash of Bavarian flamboyance to the standard white shirt dark slacks.

* A teal cape and matching boots -- a Nineteenth century European officer look, if you're looking for military chic -- beats the bejeesus off the idiotic camouflage cap and pants explosion of 2002.

When the cape comes back in fashion, I will be a prime mover.