After watching the Red Sox beat the Orioles, I watched the Rangers beat the Rays. The Sox win got them into October baseball for the first time since 2009 and the Rays loss knocked the magic number for the Red Sox down to one…one Boston win or Tampa Bay loss and the Red Sox clinch the division.
I know it’s real…but it doesn’t completely feel it yet.
(And now for a God-awful sentence that will hurt the brain of anyone who cares about proper sentence structure:)
Running the risk of sounding absolutely obnoxious, I have to admit that knowing there is a good chance the Red Sox will clinch the division this weekend in Boston…against the team so many experts – including a few in Boston – predicted would be the American League East leader and who isn’t even sniffing a chance to be in the playoffs…makes my heart ridiculously happy.
(Sorry about that but I’m both giddy and tired. I’m lucky I can type, let alone write coherently!)
When the Red Sox won tonight I tweeted that Bobby Valentine could suck it. Really, though, there are a boatload of people I could have tweeted that about because there were a boatload of people who not only didn’t see this happening but who REFUSED to see it happening. Well, it has. The first part anyway. The Sox have one foot in the door. This weekend (hopefully on Friday night. Please let it be on Friday night so I can just enjoy the next week of baseball without any stress) the other foot will cross the threshold and this team will have “shocked the world” one more time.
Completely acknowledging that this just adds to the reasons folks might consider me weird: I bought a ticket to the last regular season game at Fenway and it made me sad. Regardless of whether the Red Sox are in the post season or are getting early starts on their golf games, the end of the regular season makes me so very sad. Some chalk it up to being connected with the end of summer, but I’m not much of a summer fan; I’m much more of a fall girl, so it isn’t that. I just genuinely miss having baseball on my television every night. (And I know there’s still a week of baseball left after the Sox leave Boston…but the last game at Fenway brings it to my mind that there are going to be a lot of last games at ballparks all across MLB on September 29th.)
Although I live in the market for NESN, every season I purchase the Extra Innings package through Comcast (which invariably begets a conversation with a Comcast rep along the lines of “If you’re a Red Sox fan living in Massachusetts why do you need the Extra Innings package?”). Because I like baseball. One of the highlights of being unemployed for three years was that in the summer I watched more baseball than I ever thought humanly possible. One of the downsides of being employed this year is how much baseball I’ve missed. And while the winter months do bring other ways to enjoy baseball, and I partake in as much as I can, nothing, for me, beats watching regular season Major League Baseball.
I’ll be making my yearly trek to Fenway for the last regular season game to say goodbye. (Yes, I make sure I say goodbye to Fenway each year.) I’ve been to six games this year and the only game they won was the first one I saw(Opening Day at Fenway)…I decided they were doing better without me but they’re doing well enough that I can go to this game without feeling like I tanked the season for them
While I AM sad that the regular season is soon over that doesn’t mean that I’m not absolutely overjoyed that, barring something God-awful, we Red Sox fans will still have a rooting interest in the post season. I’m just greedy and want more.
I am superstitious by nature. Well, probably by nurture given how prevalent superstitions were in my family when I was growing up. In any event, while I try to fight most superstitions, I am occasionally seen tossing salt over my shoulder, NOT walking under ladders and, as anyone who knows me will attest, NOT mentioning a no-hitter by name unless it’s being pitched by someone I don’t want to succeed.
Let me share a story I’m sure I’ve shared before. It’s a Sunday in October of 2004 and the Red Sox have lost the first 3 games of the ALCS to the New York Yankees. The third game, having just ended the evening before, was an especially painful thrashing that saw the Red Sox lose 19-8. That Sunday, I went with my family to a birthday party for one of my aunts. Even though the Patriots were also playing and everyone was happy to see each other, it felt more like a wake. All people were talking about was how the Red Sox were going to get swept by the Yankees that night. My parents and I think we’re the only people in the house who aren’t convinced the Red Sox are going to lose, until my cousin’s boyfriend, who was also a bartender around the Fenway Area, starts telling everyone that the Red Sox could win the entire ALCS. He basically spends the afternoon telling everyone the same thing Kevin Millar famously told anyone who would listen at Fenway that day.
“Don’t let us win today. This is a big game. They’ve got to win because if we win we’ve got Pedey coming back today and then Schilling will pitch Game 6 and then you can take that fraud stuff and put it to bed. Don’t let the Sox win this game.”
So while he didn’t use the same words as Millar did above, the sentiment was the same. If the Sox could win on Sunday, Pedro was pitching game five and Schilling was pitching game 6…and it could all come down to game 7. And we all know what happened.
We left that party invigorated and excited for the game to begin. After game 4 went the way it did, I took myself to work the next day…in the same clothes I had worn to the birthday party. (Hey, the game ran late, I got up late and grabbed the clothes I had easiest access to.) I came home that night, didn’t get changed and watched the Red Sox beat the Yankees again. As I sat down to watch game 6, I looked down at my clothes and thought “I really need to go put on what I wore for the last two games” and I did. So for games 4-7 of the 2004 ALCS I wore the same outfit (well, except for the underwear…I figured the Baseball Gods would understand I needed clean underwear…) and things worked out swell for the Sox.
After the Red Sox won it all in 2004, I realized I could let go of a lot of my baseball superstitions. (I will never be able to truly let go of not mentioning a no-hitter by name. I absolutely know this is ridiculous, I promise you.) I’ve spent the better part of the last 9 seasons (including this one) rolling my eyes at people who worry that the same fate will befall the Sox as it has in the years before 2004. But September of 2011 shook me. More than I thought it had. Here I sit, night after night, watching this absolutely amazing Boston Red Sox team come back from deficits, pound good pitching and act like nothing around them fazes them at all and still I worry.
I have three pictures hanging on the walls of my cubicle at work. One is of my niece and the other two you see above. Because of Clay’s plight, I considered taking down those two (I was also tracking Clay’s wins and losses on that photo and wondered if I was testing the Baseball Gods). But I worried that if I took down the pictures of Clay and Jonny that it would somehow mess with the team. (Heck, Clay hasn’t pitched for half the time I’ve had him up, but still…)
So the pictures remain, Clay came back the other night to win his tenth game of the season and Jonny Gomes is doing just fine, thank you. (Because he is, according to this, Bruce Willis from Unbreakable.) And yet I still worry.
Worry is the wrong word. I’m not worried. I believe this team is winning the division and has a damn good chance of winning the World Series. I’m just trying not to mess with anything karmically that could screw things up. What that means specifically, I’m not yet sure…but I’ll say this: Neglecting this blog (as well as not going to nearly as many games in person as I usually do) hasn’t exactly hurt the Sox this season! I have no intentions to purposely stop the blog…but now you know why there might be a few more long periods without an entry!
Of course, all that goes out the window once the post season is here and new superstitions take their place.
Magic number = 8. Single digits, baby!