WARNING: This post contains subject matter of an athletic nature. More music tomorrow.
You knew it was coming. Regardless of the outcome, you knew that I wouldn't let the opportunity pass to write about my beloved Red Sox in the World Series. To be fair, I waited as long as I possibly could. But the time has come. If it bothers you, I apologize in advance. Check back tomorrow and I promise we'll be back on track. The rest of you can feel free to continue reading and bask in the afterglow. Shall we?
For the three of you who are still reading, it's actually kind of sad, isn't it? Seven months and 176 games after we started, it's all over. To be sure, the outcome could not possibly have been better. A division title, another post-season collapse in the Bronx, a thrilling championship series and an absolute rout to capture our second title in four years. And still, it's bittersweet.
For me, and legions of fans of all (pin)stripes like me, baseball really is a pastime. Due to the marathon length of the regular season, rabidly following a team through all its ups and downs is a recipe for madness. As such, baseball is a game that rewards the casual fan. Seven innings here. A few innings there over dinner. Joe Castiglione's familiar nasal timbre crackling through a car stereo on a Sunday afternoon. In many respects, the game itself becomes part of the fabric of summer. But, as Dane Cook obnoxiously pointed out roughly 13,474 times in the last three weeks, "There's only one October." And now it's over. Presumably, so are those asinine commercials — so we've got that going for us, which is nice. But I sense a disturbance in the Force.
On more than one occasion in the last few days, I had this conversation:
Red Sox fan #1: "You know, it'd be really great if the team would lose a couple games so that they could finally win one at home."
Red Sox fan #2: "Yeah. Totally, dude."
Dan: "Fuck you."
Ultimately, the exchange points to the emergence of a new breed of Sox fan, spoiled by the team's recent successes — and likely those of their football counterparts in Foxboro. It used to be that we were cursed. Now we're entitled.
Could you imagine that statement being uttered in 2004? Or, God forbid, 1986? We've gone from America's beloved underdog, to something much, much worse: we've become Yankees fans. And perhaps, the Evil Empire is much closer to home than we ever thought.
I was only three months old when Bucky "bleepin'" Dent broke the hearts of Red Sox Nation — decades before the faux-nationalism concept even existed. But I'm pretty sure I experienced it through osmosis. I do, however, remember Bill Buckner. And I still have nightmares about Aaron 'bleepin'" Boone. I remember the last time the Red Sox won their division. And how they promptly collapsed in the playoffs, swept by none other than the Cleveland Indians.
But I also remember how the Sox battled back in 2004 to do the unthinkable and take four straight against the rival Yanks and then blow through St. Louis en route to their first title in 86 years. And I'll remember this season just as fondly — and graciously.
It doesn't get any better than it is right now, folks, regardless of where the team actually wins. And there's no shame in hopping on the bandwagon. Just be sure you know the road it's traveled before you do. We take nothing for granted, here in the Nation.
So baseball is over, and summer with it. And now, just like everyone else, we too have nothing left to do but to wait 'till next year. And that's just fine with me.