Friday, October 07, 2011

Stop Me If You've Heard This One Before

"Tito, we hardly knew ye''

By now, all you 'pink hat' wearing Red Sox fans are just climbing back down from the ledge and going back to your happy lives. After an epic fail September, historic for any team outside Boston, the Old Ball Team has missed their chance to fail in the 2011 playoffs and not make it to the World Series. After a very strong season on balance, the Sox went something like 7-20 in September to let the Tampa Bay Rays catch and eat them to take over the wild card spot. Some of you newer fans, who seem to think the Red Sox will always win, appeared suprised. I mean, Christ, at the beginning of the month, the Sox had a 9 game lead in the wild card race. Only a bunch of idiots could blow a lead like that, right? And I don't mean 'idiots' like the 2004 Johnny Damon idiots. I mean real idiots. A team would have to either be on the take or completely implode to lose a lead like that. Or be from Boston. Some of us knew though, Yes we did. I knew. Sully from Southie knew. Norm from Canton knew. We'd seen it all happen before.

Listen to my words you ''pink hatters', that is what we do here in Boston. That is what we have always done. Let me tell you a story. In 1978, I was a freshy freshman at Nokomis Regional High distracted from my studies by the baseball pennant race. In late July, the Sox had a seemingly insurmountable 14-1/2 game lead in the American League East. There was absolutely no doubt they would take the division and go to the World Series. Alas, on September 7, incredibly, their lead was down to 4 games entering a final four game series with the Jeezily New York Yankees. As you may have known or can guess, the Yanks went on a rampage in the series, scoring 42 runs on 67 hits, while the Red Flops commited a dozen errors and were uncerimoniously swept. That, children, forced a very rare one game playoff to break the tie and see who would go to the playoffs. The Sox of course lost the game, painfully and dramatically, off the bat of the Yankees diminutive shortstop, known as Russell Earl ''Bucky Fucking'' Dent. He homered, and my childhood hero Carl Yastrzemki watched it sail over the Green Monster. I saw it all unfold, right there in Mr. Lane's biology classroom. He brought in a TV and let us watch, thus scarring us for life. Thanks Mr. Lane.

In any event, 1978 was not the first year the Sox choked on such an epic scale. Review your baseball history books. In 1941, the Red Sox painfully folded against the Cards. You remember, Peskey held the ball. In 1967, same thing, same team. Cards ace bob Gibson kick the Sox asses and again the Sox fold. What is this, some kind of a curse? In 1975, the Red Sox played in what many consider the best World Series ever. They lose painfully and dramatically to the Big Red Cincinnati Machine. Later in Red Sox history, there would be even more epic fails. In 1986 there would be Bill Buckner and Mooky ''Fucking'' Wilson. In 2003, there was Aaron''Fucking'' Boone. Must be the curse.

Then there was 2004. And 2007. Great yes. Historic, yes. Life altering, you bet. But alas, Boston is still Boston. As great as the two world championships were, it is kind of comforting to be back in the drama. I t must be why people like Opera. Nothing like a good tragedy.

Anyway, whatever happened to precipitate such an enormous implosion this year, causing the Bosox' early exit, is just as elusive as the causes of 1978 or 1986 chokes. Maybe the pitching staff was out of shape, or drunk, or both. Maybe it was the pitching coaching staff. Maybe it was Papelbon. Maybe it was Francona. He always has been a ''player's manager'' and a little soft. Maybe it was the fat lazy complacent overpaid superstars who just could not be concerned enough to play hard or play together. Maybe it was wonderkind GM Theo Epstein, whose every off season and free agent deal amounted to about doodly squat. I mean, seriously, Carl Crawford has had less than a career year. And Erik Bedard? Fugetaboutit! It really doesn't matter. The iportant thing is that somebody has got to pay. Even though Francona is really not to blame, he must be ridden out of town on a rail. Who in Hell we are going to replace him with is an irrelevent consideration. Theo needs to go too. Probably he'll head to Chicago. Hell, why not take Tito with him. Win them a World Series. They're due. Papelbon? His head needs to be on a pike at the city limits. Okay, well, at least don't renew his contract. We'll have to keep Papi andWakefield-just because.

Yes, Red Sox nubes, changes are needed. Change is in the air. Sports talk in Boston will be heating up the hot stove early this year. This is what it was always like, every year, before 2004. Perhaps you hadn't heard. You'd better get used to it. At least now maybe I can get seats to a game at Fenway for under $200. It'll be just like old times.

I wonder if I still have Grady Little's number.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You had Mr. Lane for Biology? Jahaha....nice post, Bigfoot! Love....L'il Hubie