Originally posted on October 15, 2003.
October 15, 2003
5:20 pm (not sure what time zone)
I am flying on a plane as I write this, on my way to Tucson for the “24 Hours for Africa” women’s baseball marathon. I shouldn’t even be typing this because my elbow hurts, typing aggravates it, and I should be saving my arm for the game. But dammit I’m bored and the pilot just announced that the Yankees have lost Game 6 of the ALCS to Boston by a score of 9-6.
You knew that when these two teams got together there would need to be at least one slug-fest, and I guess that was it. I watched the crucial, awful inning from the Texas Stadium Sports bar in the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport while changing planes. Soriano and Jeter on second and third and one out and neither Giambi nor Bernie could cash them in. Then Nomar and Manny both whacked Contreras hard, on two pitches, Matsui threw a ball into the jetstream (is there some kind of wild wind at the stadium today? even the umpire’s shirt was flapping in it and Jeter kept squinting like a hairdryer was blowing in his face…), Heredia got squeezed by the home plate umpire and the score went from 6-4 Yankees to 7-6 Red Sox while I sat there.
For those of you who are monitoring my emotional state, after that last entry where I was channeling the urge to do severe damage to any fragile thing, I am okay with this. Yes, of course I want the Yankees to win. But you know, how could it come out any other way but for this series to go to a game seven? Fox TV must be loving this, both the Cubs series and this series pushed to seven games.
The way things unraveled for the Cubs last night was unbelievable. I was packing for my trip at the time, up in my bedroom on the third floor of the house. The bag I was trying to pack was too small for everything I need to bring (two pairs of baseball pants, glove, cleats, sunscreen, etc…). The Marlins had tied the game at three when I decided I needed a bigger bag. I went down to the basement to get one. When I got back upstairs, the Marlins had scored five more times (five!) to make it 8-3. So yeah, it can turn quickly on you.
The game I am going to Arizona to play won’t turn so quickly, I am betting. It’s going to be a 24 hour long game, and could be as many as 100 innings. So giving up eight runs in an inning won’t be insurmountable. Anyone want to take bets on the final score? Playing through the wee hours of the morning I would not be surprised if we don’t see some weak fielding and pitching which could run the score up considerably. I think it’s going to be 75-60. But I could be completely wrong about that.
So the Yankees and Red Sox play tomorrow for winner take all. It will be a rematch of Pedro-Clemens. High drama indeed. Is it fate? All I can say is what I said the other night as corwin and I were leaving the sports bar where we watched the Yankees take a 3-2 lead. “If the Red Sox can go to New York and beat us twice, they deserve to go to the World Series.”
I told some friends of mine that if the Red Sox did make the World Series, that I’d root for them, but right now I’m not sure if I can. I think I may have too many hard feelings regarding the Pedro-gone-mad incident. Not to mention at this point I am not sure I want to be associated with the people who overturned cars in Kenmore Square after the ALDS win. Trust me, I don’t believe all Yankees fans are saints, and I know many many knowledgeable and non-destructive Red Sox fans. But the feeling persists. I have a Red Sox visor I got as a giveaway at a game at Fenway earlier this season. But right now I don’t see myself wearing it.
Especially since for years the Cubs have been my underdog team. I believe all Yankees fans should adopt an underdog team to root for, to get the full experience of highs and lows of being a baseball fan, to keep us humble. How ironic would it be if the Cubs advance but the Yankees do not?
The Cubs game should be underway right now. It’s probably the second inning. After the tremendous let down last night, you have to hope Dusty Baker had some managerial magic to pump them up with. Maybe having Kerry Wood on the mound is enough to do that. Damn Fish.
So, say the Cubs win. If the Red Sox win, as I said, they deserve a place in the World Series. And for the Cubs to face the Red Sox? A dream match-up. Even as I write this, i can’t quite believe it can really happen. I’ve been joking about a Cubs-Sox series for so long, years and years, that for it to suddenly not be a joke and be real… it is like if Frodo and Gandalf walked out of the movie screen and into the theater at the end of the Lord of the Rings. It’s like a solar eclipse and Halley’s Comet and the planetary alignment all at once. It would be worth the Yankees losing if I could see a Cubs-Sox World Series in my lifetime.
I would love to see Yankees-Cubs also, of course. We had a little “preview” of it in interleague play this year, of course, Clemens trying to win #300 facing Wood, endless media mentions of the Babe’s “called shot.”
But the Marlins might mess it all up with a win tonight. Yankees-Marlins I would also not mind one bit, though it lacks the drama of Yankees-Cubs or Sox-Cubs. And then there could be Sox-Marlins, which would be ho-hum in my estimation. Oh it would be exciting, because the question would be, can the Sox either finally break the Curse or will the suffering continue as they are beat by an expansion team? Both dramatic outcomes, of course. The World Series is always high stakes.
So we’ll wait and see what happens tonight and tomorrow. I keep telling myself I am at peace with whatever happens in the Yankees-Sox series (especially if the Cubs pull it off). But then again, I told myself that in 2001, before Game 7 of the World Series. And I told myself after the loss, that night, that I was okay with it. Then the next day the crying started and I cried for a week. Yeah, okay, that dark time will bever be separable from September 11th, and the loss probably has less to do with the depression that set in than the pent up grief I had over the whole tragedy. The quick exit in 2002 didn’t even make me bat an eyelash. A flash of disappointment but then “wait til next year” came on.
So, I’m okay. No more urge to smash things. it helps that I have something else to focus on right now. I have my own at bats to worry about this weekend, my own fielding. I don’t even know what position I’ll play, so when I’m sitting in the plane and in airports and waiting for shuttles I do my positive visualization exercises. Sometimes I am at second base. Sometimes I am in right field. Sometimes I am at the plate. In every visualization I see the ball clearly. It is bright white, coming at me like it is a magnet and I am metal. I feel the ball inside my glove, in my hand, I hear the ping of the bat (we use aluminum).
I hear the ping of the bat and I watch a line drive sail between first and second and drop into right field. The runner on second scores as I chug into first.
Plating the 66th run of the game.
More from Arizona when I get a chance. I better stop typing now and save my arm.
(Did you enjoy reading this blog entry? Please consider buying me a hot dog.)