Thursday, October 14, 2004
So. The Red Sox. ALCS.
Pretty much the only good thing I can say about these last two games is that I've been watching them with a bunch of people, as opposed to tearing myself to pieces in solitary confinement. Game 1 I watched with Brad and George. Game 2 I was just going to watch with Beth, but then Jun and James came over. Ryan popped in and out to taunt me as he saw fit. Then Beth left, and George came over. Then Pam came over (although not, admittedly, for the baseball. I think she just wanted popsicles). Then Brad came over. So it was a merry crowd of people crammed into my room, watching me completely lose my mind as the Red Sox offense completely lost their collective ability to hit.
There was much happy speculation about which Yankee player we hated the most. Matsui was high on the list, due to his apparent ability to destroy any ball thrown at him in Game 1, Olerud was up there just because of the silliness of his wearing a batting helmet in the field, Posada for being the goofiest-looking catcher in baseball, A-Rod for being A-Rod, pretty much everyone, actually. Derek Jeter had the high distinction of being unanimously voted the Most Evil Player on the Most Evil Team and Therefore the Most Evil Player in All of Baseball by the General Committee of 5202 Couzens. If you go to Michigan, you now know where I live. Red Sox fans always welcome.
Pam inquired, innocently, why Jeter was so evil. We tried to explain, we really did. I think we worked out that it was because he was the Quintessential Yankee. He's not someone who made a name for himself on another team and then was bought up by the Yankees. He just is a Yankee. He represents everything Yankee. He is the MFY. I don't think this made much sense to Pam, but we really couldn't get the point across otherwise. Maybe hating Jeter is something that can't be explained. Like binary code, it either IS or IS NOT, and there's nothing in between.
Both George and I agree that it's reached the point where all we have to do is be shown a picture of Jeter's face, with that smug little smile he has, and we get this hot swoop of hatred in our innards. It's instantaneous and unavoidable, like a knee-jerk reaction. Er. Yeah. We're so screwed up.
I think I speak for all Red Sox fans when I say how much that 'Who's Your Daddy?' chant made me want to simultaneously kill something and start sobbing uncontrollably. Proud as I am that Boston Dirt Dogs got the MLB-sanctioned 'Who's Your Daddy' tshirts revoked (although not before some had already been shipped to stores and snatched up by MFY fans), I can't help but think that this is a small victory in the face of something really, really embarassing. Pedro. Why did you say that? Why? Because it will now be haunting you at Yankee Stadium for as long as you are a member of the Boston Red Sox organization. Admittedly, this may not be much longer, but still.
There were a few happy moments in the game, when Pedro did get a strike-out, or when we got our one run of the game. And I greeted these with effusive joy, high-fiving everyone in the room, cheering loudly enough to drown out the Halo tournament across the hall. Sadly, my dark moments were more numerous.
I don't exactly recall what point of the game this was in, sometime relatively early. The Red Sox had just done something bad or failed to do something good. I was gnashing my teeth and beating on my own head with my fists. Scooter, the ghoulishly animated cartoon baseball Fox is using to slowly destroy the soul of baseball fans everywhere, was condescendingly and disturbingly cheerfully explaining a simple pitch. (check out that excessive adverb usage! bite me, english professors.) Ryan was leaning in my doorway, loudly explaining why Bernie Williams was a great player and worthy of our love, while Beth argued vehemently with him and I contemplated how much trouble one could get into by severely injuring one's RA. I WAS SURROUNDED BY ADVERSITY! I had half a mind to start rocking back and forth, back and forth, in the Terry Francona fashion.
Later in the game, as we watched Mariano Rivera warm up and get ready to administer his usual dose of thrashing, I was despairing. Loudly. I was curled up in my desk chair in a paroxysm of agony, arms wrapped around one knee, hands clutching my hat, head tilted so that I could watch the game or hide my face with the hat brim as necessity dictated. I think I was swearing. Upon reflection, I was almost certainly swearing.
George, meanwhile, was lying in comfort on the beanbag chair, idly watching my disintegration with the mild interest and gentle concern of someone whose team has not been in a position to do him any emotional damage since the postseason started. After a few particularly vehement exclamations and a few particularly tortured hat-grabs from me, he poked me in the leg with his foot. I tilted my head so that I could glare at him from under my hat brim with one baleful eye.
"You know," he said, watching me with the careful look of someone who really doesn't want to get anything heavy thrown at them, "watching these games with you... you make me kind of nervous."
I returned the full power of my awesome rage to the TV and, by extension, the MFY. "That's OK," I ground out from between painfully gritted teeth, "I. Make. Me. Nervous."
It was not a good game.
Pam, bless her heart, kept patting me consolingly on the back. She didn't really understand what was going on with the game, but she could see that I was in distress. Much appreciated, Pam. And it was awfully nice that Beth had come over for the beginning bit, as she hadn't been over to the lovely land of Couzens yet. She actually liked it. She said that she 'missed the dorms'. People are weird, n'est-ce pas?
So that was the game. We lost. I went nuts. It wasn't helped by the fact that the night before some drunken idiot (and who gets drunk on a Tuesday night anyways?) pulled the fire alarm in my dorm. At 3:30 am. Because we had had a real fire two week previous to this, they were extremely cautious and wouldn't let us back in for a while. Fine. Except that it was the middle of the night, and every second we spent outside was one more second we were not spending sleeping. And did I mention that it was freezing cold? It was freezing cold.
You can try to get college students fired up and into a mob mentality for sports. You can try to do it for politics. The only time I've seen people willingly, without any outside prompting, put themselves into a frame of mind wherein they would easily hunt down and lynch someone is when some moron pulls a fire alarm in the middle of a freezing cold night.
Oh, did I mention that Curt Schilling will not be able to pitch Game 5? Yeah. Yeah, we're gonna stick Derek Lowe in there. I'm gonna say this right now: I do not like Derek Lowe in the playoffs. I do not like Derek Lowe in the regular season, but right now I like him less. Unless he decides to play like he did in last year's playoffs, I want him nowhere near the mound in a starting position this series. I suppose it could be worse, we could be putting Kim out there, but really. Way to shoot ourselves in the foot (or ankle, if you wanted to make a bad joke about it, which I'd rather not do, because the state of the Sacred Schilling Ankle is really not a joking matter right now).
Tomorrow I have to wake up early to do laundry, and also to pack. Because this weekend I am going home! Home! Back to Massachusetts! Michigan has a 'fall study break', which is this weekend plus Monday and Tuesday. Thank goodness. I need a break like the Dolphins need a quarterback.
Bill Simmons is the funniest sports writer ever. READ THAT. READ ALL HIS STUFF. The fact that he can write about that game and still make me laugh out loud is just incredible. Of course, I was laughing while tears streamed down my cheeks, but still. If I can still laugh, the MFY haven't beaten me yet, by gosh!
One final note, because I just realized that maybe not everyone in the world has been following various Red Sox websites as obsessively as I have been: 'MFY' is the replacement for 'NYY', and means 'Mother Fucking Yankees', as opposed to 'New York Yankees'. I was assuming that this would be obvious to all, but just in case. There you are.