Thoughts, lists and other compulsive bits about baseball from comedian filmmaker television producer/Red Sox fan Paul Francis Sullivan....
feel free to call him “Sully.”
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Why is this day different from all others for Red Sox fans?
So let’s go back in time to, say, the bottom of the 9th of game 4 of the 2004 ALCS… and I told you, my fellow Red Sox fans, that there will a day where the Red Sox would clinch a playoff spot and be in a position to win their 3rd World Series title in 5 years… all the while eliminating the Yankees from post season play all together despite a $200 million payroll.
You would have thought one of two things:
1) The streets of Boston would make Mardi Gras look like a ghost town
2) You were on Bizarro World.
I’m not sure if the great Broadway producer David Merrick was a Red Sox fan or not, but he certainly understands our mentality.
He has the great quote ““It is not enough for me to win. My enemies must lose.””
And I guess that quote as added meaning this morning. The Red Sox are in the playoffs. They are going to have a chance to defend their World Series title.
My team wins.
Their victory means the Yankees, despite having by far the biggest payroll in baseball, will miss the post season for the first time since the 1994 strike.
My enemy loses.
Sometimes it is hard to determine which is sweeter… a Red Sox win or a Yankee loss. In the end it is always the Sox winning, but the fact that that question can even be asked just shows something is fundamentally flawed in our DNA.
Or maybe it can be expected… after generations of being the Coyote to the Yankee’s Road Runner… that the amount of glee over a Yankee failure would be disproportionate to what would be socially acceptable.
But I’ll admit it… I’ve thought about this day. Actively.
Perhaps it was living in New York during the bulk of the Joe Torre years and hearing about class, championships, dignity and how rooting against the Yankees in 2001 was un-American. (Because of course Al Qaeda bankrolled the Arizona Diamondbacks.)
And maybe because during most of that time the Red Sox were flopping around in a Dan Duquette haze… good enough to win games but not good enough to pass the Yankees, that I thought of Jeter doing that 1,000 yard stare and watching the games from his living room.
Anger produces that. Plus the realization that maybe my team WON’T win it ever.
Their pain equaled my pleasure.
So it is a great surprise that this day has arrived without the VJ day glee that we all would have imagined when Rivera starting pitching to Millar during that 9th inning.
It’s been such a foregone conclusion that there was never a knock out punch. No Gonzalez single. No groundball to Beckett. No bloody sock.
Just a lifeless team running out of gas while the Red Sox focus on Tampa and the post season.
I guess this what we have always wanted… bigger fish to fry. And the Yankees flopping on the dock all summer, save for one post All Star Game burst, haven’t been worth frying.
There is something worth noting, however, about the Red Sox fan and Yankee fan dynamic.