The Boston Red Sox: Defenders of the 2004 World Championship!! "Whoever plunges into his experiences with the momentum of hope, will remember so that he cannot forget." - Soren Kierkegaard.

Sunday, October 31, 2004

And just like that, it's over.

No más beisbol. The Sox won the World Series, but in a lot of ways it still hasn't really sunk in. I have brief, rolling flashes of understanding, but for the most part I'm still shocked. Even watching the victory parade wasn't enough to drive it home.
And now it's back to normal life. Winter is coming. So is my birthday. The hot stove should be fun this year, seeing how many free agents the Sox have. I guess I'll get around eventually to writing about who I'd sign if I were Theo and all that stuff, but I just don't feel like it right now. I'm going to miss baseball. It's not so bad when there is still football on, but after the Super Bowl it SUCKS. I hate basketball and I don't like to watch hockey on television (which is a moot point this year anyhow,) so there isn't shit to do. I wish I could just hibernate like a bear and wake up in spring training.
But now I've got tons of time to do other shit now, like read, play my violin, listen to music, sleep, work, draw.

~ Posted by Hello
The offseason.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

this is an audio post - click to play

Words are not enough to describe what I feel, so I'm not going to. But to all the other Sox bloggers, and to all my Sox fan friends, I just want to say congratulations and I love you all!
The 2004 Red Sox are World Fucking Champions...I don't think I'm ever going to get tired of the way that sounds.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

It's like I died and went to Baseball Heaven.

First of all, I am so. fucking. proud of Pedro Martínez. I can't even express how beautiful it was to listen to the game on the way home from Dayton airport on the radio as my mom drove us home. Even though I couldn't see what was going on, I could imagine everything as plain as day...partly because it's the sort of thing that I would just sit around and daydream about during the winter. Pedro pitching in the World Series. Mike and I used to play this game in our living room with a whiffle ball and a baseball glove where we would try to strike out make-believe batters, and whoever was catching would be the umpire and would call the game. We'd always make up scenarios, and so many times they went like: "I'm Pedro Martínez facing Barry Bonds in game 7 of the World Series," or some such thing like that. Tonight it became a reality. And Pedro pitched a goddamn GEM, and so help me god that if that is the last game that he ever pitches in a Sox uni, no matter where he goes, I will be satisfied. That man is a fucking champion, no matter what the outcome of the series is.

Second order of business - our trip to Boston. Unfortunately we got into Boston about an hour and a half later than we were supposed to due to the fact that we were sitting in the plane on the tarmack at Newark Airport, of all fucking places. Mad props to Beth for keeping me sane and (relatively) stress-free with some telephone conversations during this time! We got into Logan airport around nine-o'clock, in the bottom of the first inning. You better believe that the MOMENT we touched the runway we had the cellphone out to check the score. On a very crowded shuttle to the T, my phone updated and told me that Tek got two ribbies. "It's 2-0," I told Mike over my shoulder. Then suddenly I had people all over start asking me "What's the score? Are the Sox winning? What's going on?" I had forgotten for a moment that I wasn't in Cincinnati anymore, but then I remembered where I was and why I had come there, and the sweet realization that I was surrounded by thousands of people who loved the Sox just as much and more as I do washed over me. It was fucking cool.

In what seemed like no time at all we popped up out of the Kenmore Square station, and the first sight I had of the city of Boston was the line of retired Sox numbers across the sidewalk. Doerr, Cronin, Yaz, Teddy, Fisk. We walked down the street a bit, and there is a huge billboard with Manny pointing out at me, grinning. Keep the faith. As if I have to be encouraged. "Hi, Manny," I said in my head. I felt like I was a guest in his home now. I felt like Mikey in Goonies when he finds One-Eyed Willy.
We walk on further. And all of the sudden, there it is. Fenway Park. I'm staring up at it from underneath the monster seats. I'm touching the brick, touching green-painted metal. I can hear the crowd. There are "K" cards all over the pavement. The air smelled like beer. Someone somewhere inside the park starts a "Let's go Red Sox!" cheer and it is quickly taken up by just about everyone in the monster seats. Schilling gets a ground-out to end the inning. (We sneaked a peek at the Jumbotron.) Mike and I hightail it into the nearest bar we run across to watch the rest of the game. In the ninth inning we come back outside as the crowd lets out, and the streets are literally flooded with happy Sox fans, and for the first time in my life, I am one of them. Riding to Paul's house in Allston, packed into a train like very happy and slightly drunk sardines, we are treated to some more rousing Sox chants by other very happy and more than slightly drunk sardines.

The next day we headed back to Fenway for the tour. It started on the stoop of a door very appropriately numbered "24." The press box was pretty neat. I got to sit in the seat of the Official Scorer. A lot of the stories they told I already knew about (Williamsburg, the Green Monster, the fire in the thirties,) but it was still entertaining. The .406 club was sort of lame. I mean, who in the fuck would want to watch a baseball game like that?? Real fucked up. But some of the memorabilia around was neat, like the Gold Gloves (I was trying to picture a Green Glove in a case for Manny,) and a lot of really neat pictures, the line-up sheet from Nomar's birthday when he went apeshit, (a guy behind me said: "We had Brian Daubach as a DH that day? How did we ever win games back then??") And then we got to go out to the Green Monster seats, and this was the coolest thing I've ever done, (except maybe for the time I got to scrub in on some surgeries with my surgeon uncle in St. Louis, but that's another story.) I totally tuned out the tour guide. I just wanted it to be me and Fenway. For five minutes or so I just sat and looked and imagined and just existed there. Then Mike and I spent a couple minutes trying to figure out where Manny caught his cleat on Saturday. When I was walking out, past the grandstand seats, looking out onto the field from under the left field roof, it sort of hit me all at once what I was seeing, and my chest hurt with how beautiful it all was. I finally made it, and it was worth it. It was more than worth it. It was amazing.

Next we went to Kings bowling alley for Restaurant Industry night, where we drank five buckets of beer, some vodka tonics, some draft beers, then got driven home in the back of a pickup truck at extremely reckless speeds with broken glass sliding around in the bed with us. Unfortunately I forgot my camera...but maybe it's for the best.

And there's my story.

Oh....and before I forget. One more time, with feeling:

(edit: I wrote that last sentence because i was going to post the picture of the broom, but for whatever irritating fucking reason, blogger wouldn't let me, which pissed me off to no end. but fortunately beth put the picture up on her blog and saved the day!)

Kenmore Square right after the game let out. Posted by Hello

Mike in Kenmore Square with Petey billboard in the background. Posted by Hello

Windows in a school behind Fenway - super cool. Posted by Hello

View from the press box. Posted by Hello

View from the monster seats. Posted by Hello

This is when I started to almost sort of cry. Posted by Hello

Manny's divot from game one. Posted by Hello

Monday, October 25, 2004

this is an audio post - click to play

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Whoooooop-sie! Posted by Hello

(Insert typical "Sarah once again finds herself wanting to mother Manny Ramírez in new and ridiculous ways such as putting him in pajamas with footies, a drop-seat and built-in mittens, giving him a jello pudding pop and plopping him down in front of "Ed, Edd and Eddy" quote here.)

What can I say? I love Manny.
But goddamnit, dude - pay just a little fucking attention, will you?
That said, I am absolutely gleeful that the Sox came away with a win in game 1 - thanks to a two-run homer by none other than Mark "En Fuego" Bellhorn, not to mention a first inning, three-run homer by David "Big DaDa" Ortiz.
Is it just me, or does it seem like a totally different ballgame when Johnny Damon is hitting once again?
And is it just me, or does Manny look like a train wreck of a human being? The past week he has looked god-awful, as if he has been sleeping on a fucking park bench or something. What's up, dude? Are you having a mid-life crisis or something? Messy divorce? Constipation? I mean, what is it? Manny went from looking like a goddamn hitting machine in the ALDS to looking like a miserable wretch in just under three days. Meanwhile, Ortiz and goddamn Mark Bellhorn are putting on a fucking clininc. Manny. (Insert imaginary eye-contact here.) Dude. Seriously. Get your shit together. Please. Do it for the kids.
And is it just me, or does Julian Tavares look like Freddy Kruger? And have you seen that dude's bloated hand?? It looks like he has a fucking puffer fish hanging out of his sleeve. Or like he has one human hand and one Mickey Mouse hand. Fucked up.
Anyhow - big win tonight. Morris vs. Schilling tonight.
Somehow, I still can't believe it's actually happening.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

How cool is it that not only did my beloved Red Sox make the World Series, but my hometown team the St. Louis Cardinals did as well?? No question of who I'm rooting for. Safe to say that I won't be wearing my Pujols jersey t-shirt or my baby-blue 80's throwback this week.
This week belongs to the Red Sox, and tonight belongs to Tim Wakefield.
All I have to do is suffer through one more shift at work, go home and do laundry and clean house, (not to mention a pesky little World Series game we have to watch,) pack, try to sleep (although if the past two nights are an indication, that won't be happening,) and then wake up tomorrow morning, head for Dayton airport and catch my flight to Boston. And from there my life turns into one big fucking party for three days.
I still almost can't believe it's happening.
Go Sox!!

Thursday, October 21, 2004

So this is how it went down:
The first time I see chef walking through the kitchen this afternoon I cheerily say hi, and then ask him for a minute of his time. We go and stand by the flour bin by the back door.
"Um, Mike and I need next Monday and Tuesday off, chef," I say.
Chef winces. "Ooooh...why do you need them off, and if you say it's for a baseball game you can go and fuck off." Wow. Not exactly what I wanted to hear. How did chef know? I should know by now, chef goes everywhere and knows everything.
"It's for a baseball game," I answer, chewing on my lip. Chef takes a breath. Steps back. Stands up straighter.
"We're going to be busy on Monday! We already have 50 people on the books, it's the busy season! I tell everyone - I tell the sous chefs - everyone - no more days off now. We have to work. And you want days off to go to a fucking baseball game? It's just baseball! It's just a fucking game!"
"I'll work six days a week for you for the rest of my life," I weakly offer, completely ready to beg.
"I give you all the days off that you ask me for all the time, don't I?"
"Now you come to me today and tell me that you need two days off next week, in the busy season? What am I supposed to do?"
"I already paid for the tickets," I practically whisper.
"Oh, that's real smart. Now what, now I have to give you the days off?" Chef looks at me, demanding an answer. "A fucking baseball game is more important than your career, than your paycheck??" Again I have no answer. He stares me down. I don't look away. "I'll see what I can do, I can't promise you anything," he says, and stalks off.

So. That went swimmingly, I think as I return to my station, my face feeling numb, my stomach in a knot. Kevin gives me a quick look and can read my expression like a book. He sidles close to me and murmers "What did he say?" I just shake my head. I frown. "Not good," I manage. "Dude, you're still going, aren't you? You have to, it's the World Series! He doesn't understand, the French don't like baseball." I nod, but I'm by and large disconsolate. Prep time crawls by.

Jonathan, the sous chef, approaches me later. "Look, don't say anything to anyone about the fact that I helped you get those plane tickets." (Jonathan got us a good deal on his account and is therefor aiding and abetting us in pissing chef off.) "Everything is cool, but you're going to have a discussion with chef about it later, you and Mike. Just deal with it, I know it's hard, but you're going to get the days off, okay?"
Oh great. A discussion. In chef's office.
"You did the right thing," Jonathan said, and clapped me on the back. "Remember what we talked about? Life isn't all just about showing up to work and earning a buck."
Easy for him to say.

After family meal is over, Kevin and I are setting up our station for service. Chef walks down the line. "I want to see you and Mike up in my office." Here we go. Kevin looks at me as I walk away, and out of the corner of my eye I see him pound his chest over his heart with his fist, sign language for "Stay strong, bro." Mike and I follow chef up to his office, sit down, close the door. Chef sits behind his desk.
In a nutshell:
- we are impulsive, irresponsible and wreckless
- baseball is stupid and unimportant
- don't we care about our paychecks, our careers?
- James (old sous chef from NYC) likes baseball as much as we do, do we think that he goes off and leaves everytime the Yankees make the World Series? (I want to say something like, well, he'd get to go every fucking year, then, but this is definitely not the time for jokes.) No, James doesn't, because James is responsible, he has a family, he has a job. He needs to make money.
- once again, there is nothing important about a game of baseball
"Sir, this is a dream of ours...we may never get a chance to do it again. When I started cooking, working here was a dream of mine, and I made it happen. This is another chance I have, and I feel like I can't turn it down. This job, this restaurant - it's so important to me. I have so much respect for you that I would never intentionally make you mad, sir. I apologize. I know baseball's not important, but it's important to us."
- we are irresposible
- baseball is stupid
- what if the restaurant was going to do an insane amount of business? Who would work our stations for us?....
"So." Chef says. I wait for the hammer to drop. "You can have Monday and Tuesday off, then you come back to work on Wednesday, and if this shit happen again you will fly off without your paychecks, you understand?" Nods all around. "Okay, now get back to work." We leave the office as fast as possible.

You know what? Chef is right. I'll admit it. It is wreckless to just spend $500 dollars that we don't have and go up to a city for a baseball game for which we don't have any ticket nor hope of getting tickets just to stand around on the street outside of the stadium and get drunk. It's selfish and ill-advised to put chef in the position of having to juggle the schedule around for us. We do know better. It is the restaurant industry, after all. And the busy season is approaching. Chef was absolutely right about it all except one thing:

Baseball does matter. The Red Sox matter. I wouldn't miss this opportunity for the world.

When we walked back into the kitchen and I returned to my station, Kevin gave me the "What's up?" look.
"It's on," I say.
"Would you care to elaborate?" he asks.
"Fenway Park, Sunday, World Series. It's on."

It's on.

I can't write anything about the game. Let me just say this:
We've booked our tickets and we're going to be in Boston sunday night through tuesday afternoon. I know tickets to the game will be impossible to attain, but I just want to stand on the street outside of Fenway, just touch the fucking wall or something, just hear the crowd inside rocking and rolling. We probably won't be able to eat too much, we may not be able to pay rent on time, but who fucking cares.
I love life, and I love being alive.

all i know is that mike and i just booked a flight and we will be in boston on sunday night for game two of the WORLD FUCKING SERIES.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

I couldn't stay in bed this morning. Even though our apartment is freezing cold, even though we didn't get to sleep finally until way past four in the morning, I just can't stay in bed.

Life is simply too cool right now.

Schilling is a fucking amazing individual. "I want to be like Curt," Mike said after the game was over. "I want to be like this whole team," I answered. And Bellhorn, I'm sorry that I doubted you. You were right, I was wrong. I grovel at your cleats for forgiveness.
Today is going to be one of those "Sarah goes into work early because she can't stand to be idle for even one second" days. Another Game 7. Can I stand it? What if they lose? But what if they win? Whatever happens, could you please get just one RBI, Manny? Please? Just for me? Do it for the kids, man. Do it for your mom. Do it to rep tha Heights. Do it for someone, anyone - please, just do it. Manny, if you get an RBI today, I will buy you a case of Tahitian Treat, a bag of Cheez Nibs and a pack of ZigZags. On me, kiddo.

And, on a totally unrelated topic, my sweet, loving husband just got me a totally pimped out, XXL Ty Law jersey as an early birthday present. If I had to pick one word to describe it, that word would be "playa." Nuff said.

There are no words.
What has been, what could be...I can't begin to sum up the way I feel tonight. I'm on my third 22 oz. Newcastle, and ever since the first out of the bottom of the ninth inning, all I've been able to hear has been a hum in my ears. Blood pounding, mind reeling, fingers crossed and tucked tightly between my knees while my lips murmered "C'mon Keith.....c'mon Keith...." The last truly sober moment I had was right after A-Rod swatted that ball out of Arroyo's hand --- after that I was an explosion of anger and cursewords at the television, as were my husband and Jonathan, and then it was endless trips to the bathroom - both because I had broke the mythical "Seal" and also because I couldn't bear to watch.
Somewhere along the lines tonight, I lost my Zen.
I think it was when Bellhorn hit his three-run homer. Four-zippy Sox. I was giddy. And all the sudden, I was right back there. Back in 2003. My stomach was liquid. Honestly, it felt like I was going to shit my pants. Or puke. I tried to chalk it up to the double-double shot of espresso and countless iced teas I had drank at work, but that wasn't it. The Sox were up 4-0. I shouted it to the drop ceiling as I marched the fish triumphantly downstairs to the walk-in after service: "Sox up 4-0 fourth inning! Sox up 4-0!!" Gary was just taking a load of plates upstairs and paused in the middle of shutting the elevator door. "Fourth inning?" he asked. "Yup!" I said. "Hmmmph..." He's a bitter Royals fan, what else do you expect?
Meanwhile, Schill was mowing them down. Mike and I got home in the sixth. Schill gives up a solo home run. We're too busy imagining what it would be like if Tim McCarver should fall head-first down three flights of concrete stairs. Jonathan contorts himself in our desk chair, holding one foot behind his back, screaming in mock pain, gasping: "It hurts to breathe, it hurts to breathe!" and we laugh. Nervous. So nervous. Fingering the mouths of our beer cans. Lighting cigarettes. Drinking too fast.
And it happened.
It really happened.
Somebody pinch me.
So help me god, Schilling He just is.

"These are the days of miracle and wonder
This is the long distance call
The way the cameras follow us in slow-mo
The way we look to us all.
The way we look to a distant constellation
that's dying in the corner of the sky
These are the days of miracle and wonder
And don't cry, baby, don't cry....."
-Paul Simon

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

"It's been emotional."

Sunday's game I watched not because I wanted to, but because my husband insisted. Yesterday I watched because I couldn't stay away.
I had this big huge catharsis last wednesday when the Sox let Pedro get the L in Game 2, and ever since then I've been in some sort of baseball zen state. It's kinda nice. I'm just enjoying everything since I am completely and absolutely without expectations. I don't get too wound up about the negative things (Jeter's cheap shot to drive in three runners, the two bad calls on Big DaDa, Cabby grounding into an inning ending double play,) but I still can get happy about the good things. How did I reach this point? I wish I could watch baseball like this all season....maybe this is what it's like to be Manny Ramírez?
Maybe it's just a defense mechanism because I want the Sox to win so badly that I can't even bear the thought of them losing so my brain has totally refused to see the forest because of all the trees in its way.
Who knows.
But it's keeping me sane, it's keeping me healthy, and unbelievably (when compared to the 2003 post-season,) it's keeping me sober.
No matter what happens in New York today (or tomorrow if there's rain,) let it be known that the 2004 Red Sox did not go down without a fight, goddamnit. They have so much heart, and so much courage --- it's been one of the coolest things I've ever seen. And if they do pull off the greatest comeback in the history of organized sports, then they will have fucking DESERVED it. If they don't, I couldn't be prouder. We can all go down with a little dignity.
In other news: i fucking hate gary sheffield more than i ever thought i could hate an individual whom i don't even know, i think he is a loud-mouthed, arrogant, CHEATING piece of shit and i can't wait until the day when all his bullshit catches up to him (a la giambi.) sheffield looked like a little BITCH yesterday, and Pedro proved who the bigger fucking man was, and i hope it keeps sheffield up at night. Pussy.
Um, there goes my zen state of mind. But man, don't I feel better!

Monday, October 18, 2004

This is a really fucked up analogy, but it occurred to me somewhere around the seventh or eighth inning of last night's game. We used to have this crazy, stunted little black cat named Merzbau who was probably too crazy and fucked up to live very long. He ended up dying in my lap when he was five, and not very peacefully. Long story, don't want to get into it. But after he went a little rigid and his eyes glazed over, the stunning reality of his death hit me all at once...but his body kept breathing. Slow, unevenly paced, hitching breaths, just a function of his dying brain trying to keep his little body going somehow, even though all the light had gone out of his eyes. And watching his body grasp and grapple and cling to life like that, even though the battle was already more or less over, upset me more than actually watching him die. I even tried to hold his nose and mouth shut so that he would just be at peace, but when he breathed again it scared me so bad that I lost my grip. So I finally just had to watch him go...and when he finally all-the-way died, it was merciful.
Such was my pain watching the second-to-last innings of this ballgame. It was like watching a long, slow death and just wishing for the sake of everyone involved that it was over. Every at bat, every close-up of every tense, sad face in the Sox dugout...I didn't want to see those guys like that. They're my heroes. I almost felt like a medieval execution victim, willing to pay the executioner to just take my head off with one, clean swipe instead of an unfortunate series of six or seven hacks. I actually teared up at one point, which is amazing since I didn't even want to watch this game and indeed, didn't think there was any emotion left in me for this team.

Mike and I went to bed around the tenth or eleventh inning, but we left the television on so we could hear the game - one of the cool things about living in a studio apartment. We crawled under about five layers of covers with sweat pants and sweat shirts and socks on, huddled up close together in the dark and waited. Leskanic pitched through another inning of scoreless relief. When we heard he got hit with the ball we made a few jokes about him getting hit in the mullet. "...and Paul Quantrill will be taking the mound for the Yankees," the announcer said. "Ooooooh, Paul Quantrill!" Mike drooled, much like a middle-aged woman on a diet would say "Oooooh, cheesecake!" I pictured Paul Quantrill's ugly little redneck pug-face and Mike and I snickered together. We heard the crack of the ball off of Manny's bat and both jumped, our heads snapping over to stare at the low wall that seperates our bed from the rest of our house as if we could see through it to the television, our ears tensed and listening. A base hit. We clapped muffled hands under the covers and shivered with delight. "Big DaDa," Mike said. I nodded wordlessly. And in no time, the ball cracked off the bat and sounded like thunder, and the crowd on the tv suddenly roared as one. Mike and I both scrambled to our knees and peered over the wall like kids peeking into the living room on christmas eve. A walk off home run.
Of course.
We watched Ortiz round the bases, we watched the pigpile on homeplate, we smiled at each other, then we laid back down.
What does it all mean? I don't know.
But one prayer has been answered - the chance to see Petey pitch again for the Sox, and this time in Fenway again. Beyond that, I think I'll take it one prayer at a time.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

this is an audio post - click to play

"It’s that little souvenir of a colourful year
Which makes me smile inside
So I cynically, cynically say, the world is that way
Surprise, surprise, surprise, surprise, surprise
Here’s where the story ends"

-the sundays

p.s. I read Pedro's "mango tree" thing in the paper but I didn't actually see the interview...everyone is talking like Pedro was begging to become a Yankee somehow. Did I miss something? Would someone please explain this to me?

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Let's go Red Sox! (clap-clap-clapclapclap) Posted by Hello

Once again, I get to be baby-sitting various saute pans full of fish and stirring little saucepots full of accoutrements and garnishes while the Red Sox play out the single most important game of the fucking year. Great. Just great.
Last year, during game six, Frakes sliced his hand open trying to cut butcher's twine and had to go to the hospital and was getting his hand stitched up while Heredia walked in that run, then returned to work to tell us about it. A true line cook, ladies and gentleman. And a true friend. I'm not saying that I necessarily want anyone to hurt themselves, but I am praying for a little divine intervention in finding out what the score is tonight...I don't think that having a cellphone out on the line in the middle of saturday night service will go over too well with chef.

I have faith in Arroyo. And I'm calling it right now: Big Da-Da and Manny are going off tonight. You heard it here first. Let's turn this thing around, boys!!!

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

As my husband and I laid in bed last night watching our newly aquired re-release edition DVD of "Scarface," our conversation inevitably turned to baseball. "If we lose tomorrow, it's over," he said. "Yup," I agreed. But tomorrow was distant, unreal...and besides, Pedro would be taking the mound. I kept this memory close to my heart as I fell asleep: Pedro walking to the mound for the first time at Yankee Stadium this year amid a hail of boos and jeers, with a wicked, secretly gleeful grin on his face; Pedro proceeding to shut the Yankees out and lead the Sox to a 2-0 victory and a Bronx sweep; Pedro walking down off the mound and pointing to the sky before he disappeared into the clubhouse.

Now tomorrow is here, and tomorrow is gone. Pedro pitched his goddamn heart out tonight, and the fucking offense couldn't muster more than one fucking run to help him out. Worst case scenario: I just witnessed the last start by Pedro Martínez in a Red Sox uniform. It wasn't pretty. It seemed almost an act of sheer willpower rather than physical effort. But he got the job done, working five innings of one-run ball until he gave up a two-run homer in the sixth to John Olerud. Mike was getting something to eat in the kitchen and popped his head back around the corner. "It's over," I said. I couldn't believe he could still feel like eating in such a moment, when my stomach felt like it was dancing somewhere around my ankles like an epileptic Pomeranian.

New memories: someone helping Pedro put the left sleeve of his jacket on. Ortiz's glare at Mariano Rivera after striking out in the ninth inning. A flash of Orlando Cabrera slumped in the dugout, his eyes black and glazed, his gaze unseeing. He wore an expression I've never seen on his face since he landed on the team - sadness. If he could have looked back through the television into my living room, I'm sure he would have seen his counterpart.

However. There is still a part of me that is defiant. That's waiting for that one big inning. That knows it's not over hasta la gorda canta. I'll worry about reloading my faith and belief on Friday. I know I'll be able to reach back and find more. But tonight I just want to say, in case I don't get another opportunity: Gracias, Pedro.

Posted by Hello

I don't know who body-snatched me and replaced the normal "bitter, angry, rage-prone" me with "optimistic, cheerful, warrior-like" me overnight, but goddamnit, one loss hasn't stopped me from believing in this team.

And let me preface this entry by saying that if you're expecting an insightful analysis of last night's game, then you came to the wrong place since a) I didn't get home from work until the sixth inning and b) I was playing Final Fantasy VII on my little tv right next to the big tv because I've found that if I can distract myself slightly I don't get so angry and I don't yell at the tv as much and I don't piss my husband off as much.

I'm inclined to (holy shit!) agree with Harold Reynolds for once in my life when he said that last night's game was pretty much all-around sloppy. With the one (big) exception of the six and a half perfect innings pitched by Mike Mussina, the pitching and defense aspect of both team's game was pretty slip-shod. For example, methinks perhaps Manny spent more time practicing in the batting cages and not enough time shagging fly balls. And my worst fears were realized when it became obvious that Schilling is in a lot more pain than he would admit. And if Schilling has to come out, then D-Lowe would have to come in, and ay ay ay...

Jonathan called me after the game and said, "I can't believe they lost! That sucks! Are you pissed?" I considered. Then I realized, no. I'm not pissed. For one thing, I never expected the Sox to sweep the Yankees, and for another thing, they can even lose two more games and still win the series. Plus, as soon as Mussina made one mistake, the Sox started to bang at the door again and turned the game from a perfect pitching performance by the Yankees into a one-run game in just over an inning. Fucking brilliant. If it weren't for Tim "Please Don't Put Me Anywhere Near A Baseball For the Remainder of This Series" Wakefield, the last run they scored might have been the go-ahead run.

Bottom line is, this team didn't give up, and I'm not giving up on them. Pedro Martínez, a.k.a. Sweet P. a.k.a. Sarah's Idol is pitching tonight, and I have every reason to believe that he's going to be great. Then we've got the Kid going on Friday at Fenway. I know it's uncharacteristic, but I'm optimistic. Never say die.

p.s. I just took my morning stroll through the on-line newspapers, and I am officially Infinitely Sick of hearing about the "Yankees are my daddy" thing. SICK TO FUCKING DEATH. In fact, I'm going on a newspaper boycott. That shit is really fucking old, and we've been having to hear about it over and over again for the past month, and it made me sad enough the first time around. So there.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Tomorrow it starts. The ALCS. I'm not even nervous yet, I just feel like I'm sitting around waiting for something to happen. Chef asked me to work another six-day week this week and I couldn't say no. For one thing, I need the money. For another thing, I would jump into a lake full of pirhanas if chef asked me to. I'll feel a whole lot better when I have that $400 dollar paycheck in my hand this Thursday...and besides, Mike and I have to save up. My dad promised us last night, as we sat in the cabin of my parent's boat watching the Dodgers/Cards game, that should the World Series end up between the Cardinals and My Team that he would take Mike and I to a game in St. Louis. And that would be fucking sweet.

Speaking of being on my parent's boat, after having spent most of the day drinking beers in the sunshine on their dock I somehow found myself in the cabin wearing a plastic bucket on my head and swim goggles in honor of Pedro. Go figure. I knew I should have brought my camera. And a midget.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

S W E E P !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Posted by Hello

First of all - not to jinx things - but...the broom is undefeated. It's true. Weird, but true.

Second of all - what a bizarre.fucking.picture.

And third of all, there is nothing - NOTHING - sucky about the Sox sweeping the Anaheim Angels to advance to the ALDS. But a) I'm stuck at work all the time during the games while all you other good Sox fans get to watch the shit live, and b) I'm stuck out in Cincinnati with no one else around me that cares about what is going on...except a few of my fellow cooks at work.
This is how it went down:
Everything went wrong at once. We had a spurt of business which was uncharacteristically all fish station. Which normally would be fine if I didn't have two burners taken up by a large pot of beef jus and short rib scrap and another pot of burgundy/port wine reduction to add to said beef jus and short rib scrap for an emergency batch of civet sauce for the grouper special. Not to mention the three monkfish tails we had ordered at the same time, with each tail taking up it's own pan plus an accompanying pan for the roasted vegetables that go with it. In restaurant jargon, that's more or less being "in the weeds." And to make the moment even worse, I looked down the line as Mike slid a pan into his oven, stood up and called down "It's 6-6, somebody hit a grand slam."
All I could hear was a hum in my ears as I turned back to the myriad pans on my range. I turned over some searing scallops and gritted my teeth.
Later, safe at home, watching the highlights on ESPN, I pointed at the tv as Guerrero was rounding the bases and said: "That almost ruined my night." Kevin, my station partner, who was lounging in an armchair nearby with a beer propped casually in his lap muttered without looking up: "You changed. Definitely."
At first I was numb. Then I started to get mad. "Fucking Sox..." I grumbled as I slammed a pan down on the range. "Can't do anything right......" as if they hadn't just won the first two games of the series in enemy territory, no less. As much as that little voice in my head was telling me that it was not that big of a deal, there was that loud, screaming voice in my head that was braying "WHAT THE FUCK????"
Then Mike walked down the line and told me that Foulke worked his way out of a bases-loaded, one-out situation. (In case you're wondering, we can follow the scores via ESPN on our cellphone.) All of the sudden my confidence soared. I knew they were going to win.

I was coming out of the walk-in after doing a little inventory for Saturday's prep list when Frakes walked by me casually with his hand raised for a high-five. I slapped it and, without even looking at me, Frakes simply said: "Shrek." That was our 2003 nickname for Ortiz. Bad, I know, but that's what it was. (This year we've switched to "Big Da-Da.") "What?" I asked, my heart jumping in my chest. I walked back onto the cooking line, and everyone was telling me: "Ortiz hit a walk-off homer," "Ortiz had a two-run homer," and even the pastry girl called out: "Sarah, Dan Due just called and told me to tell you the Sox won 8-6."

Someone I work with called me from home to tell me that my fucking baseball team WON. It's the second best thing to tipping a car.

Friday, October 08, 2004

The Broom Returns. Posted by Hello

Let's rock and roll.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Fuck....... Posted by Hello

Ya!!!!!! Posted by Hello

Frakes, as always, with the good mojo: a John Burkett card. Posted by Hello

Pedro Martínez.
I love Cabrera.
I love Manny.
I love Tek.
I love everything and everyone.
Sox up in the series 2-0, headed back to Fenway for game 3.

I've been trying all morning to think of things to say about the game last night. This post is pretty lame, but it's all I could come up with. I'm too emotional about it all. I'm starting to get weepy, just like last year. And I know some of you out there know what I'm talking about - like, you see a highlight on ESPN and you start to get a lump in your throat because of how amazing and cool and badass it all is.
One thing I did want to mention is: was I really that drunk, or did Ortiz really have an infield hit last night?
Anyway, goddamnit I love this team. That's all I have to say.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

"Here, stir this for me," I tell Kevin, handing him a small saucepot of verjus reduction into which I've been slowly mounting butter, "I have to take that phone call." The phone across the aisle from us was on it's third ring, and somehow I just knew. I pick up the greasy receiver. "Maisonette kitchen, this is Sarah speaking," I say.
"Do you want to know what's going on?" It's Mike calling from home, just as I expected it to be. "Oooohhh, I don't know," I stammer. First of all, just by virtue of Mike wanting to tell me what's happening it means that the Sox are winning. If they're losing, he usually says something totally discouraging like "Don't bother hurrying home." So I ponder for a quick second and say "Ya, go ahead and tell me."
"They just blew it wide open, it's 5-0 Sox in the fourth inning, and Schilling's only given up two hits." A wave of sweet relief spreads through me. But all I can get out of my mouth is "Cool. I'll be home soon." I hang up, go back to my station where Kevin and Frakes, the sous chef, are standing. I hold an imaginary red foam bat in my hands over my head and start thrusting my hips at it in imitation of what can only be described as Pedro's "Victory Hump" from a couple months ago. "I take it they're winning," Frakes says with his usual deadpan expression. "Five to nothing in the fourth, Schill's given up two hits." Kevin tries to start in with his typical Red Sox haterism about how it's still early in the game and two hits in four innings is nothing to be proud of but I blissfully ignore him.
By the time I finish getting the station set up, go upstairs to change, walk home and stop by the corner store for a 22 of Newcastle, it's the bottom of the sixth inning. 8-0 now...I didn't have to wait too long to see that first Manny homer, huh??? I heart Manny Ramírez.
One win down, two more to go.
My boy Petey is on the hill tonight. I really, really, really want him to come out and prove everyone wrong. I can't stand the thought of him as a beaten man, a fallen hero. I can't walk around shoe-gazing about it anymore. Plus, having the team return to Fenway with a 2-0 lead would be HUGE. And since the game starts at 10:00 tonight I'll be able to watch it live on the big screen TV at the bar upstairs with my co-workers, and I'd rather it be a fun game to watch, not one that will make me wake up crying tomorrow.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Our version of "Tessie," cooler than the Dropkick Murphys, no? Posted by Hello
That's our girl cat, Tess. We don't really call her Tessie, because it sounds really fucking dumb, but I am now officially appointing her Official Rally Cat of the 2004 ALDS. What makes Tess so cool?
1. she sleeps on her back (as illustrated)
2. she is fat as hell (as illustrated)
3. she snores (probably sleep apnea or something...hey, she's a big girl)
4. she's just plain cute
5. we rescued her from an abusive home and now she's all happy and well adjusted
6. she's Mike's favorite
7. I've noticed on more than one occassion that when the Sox were losing and Tess jumped up into my lap (painful) they started to come back. Maybe it's the name.

Conversations at work about the playoffs:
Charles (who looks like Pedro's evil twin brother): Ooooh, the Sox are playing Anaheim? That's going to be a good series right there. I'll tell you what, the Sox had a big night last night. Manny went 6-7 with four homeruns.
Me: Chas, what in the hell are you talking about?
Charles: MVP Baseball 2005, I've been playing with Boston lately, they're fucking unbeatable!
Me: But what about in real life? How do you think they'll do?
Charles: Aw, shit, boo, you got nothing to worry about.

Me: (walking out of the walk-in with an arms full of herbs, butter and spinach, chanting) Schill-ing! Schill-ing! Schill-ing! We're going to do it this year, Curt-o! (Curtis is the downstairs sous chef/sports nut)
Curtis: Didn't you say that last year?
Me: And I mean it every time!

Curtis: You don't, like, wear the same clothes for good luck or anything like that, do you?
Me: I once wore the same pair of knee-high velour socks for five days in a row. And I wore the same shirt for three or four days once.
Kevin: (my new station partner) ...and all that other shit that doesn't matter.
Me: Hey, superstitions are like religion. Of course it doesn't mean anything and it doesn't help, but people care so much about the issue involved that even though they are helpless they still invent a way to imagine they can control something that is completely OUT of their control, be it death or a baseball game way out in California, so don't rain on my fucked-up parade, Kevin.
Curtis: You don't wear the same underwear, too, do you?
Me: Hey Curtis, in case you didn't notice, I'm trying to have an intelligent conversation with someone, and - big surprise - it's not you. It's an A-B conversation so why don't you C your way out?
Antonio: (a downstairs cook who swoops in out of seemingly nowhere and cleans Curtis up for me by saying) -ya, before D jumps over E and F's you up!

I'm starting to get nervous now. Real nervous. We get our big produce order in tomorrow, so I plan on going into work even earlier than I usually do and just immersing myself in cleaning chanterelles and tourneing carrots and getting some serious, hardcore, hands-on love-time with some expensive product so that I can't fret. Cause I'm starting to fret. Oh my god what if they lose? But what if they win? AAAAAAGGHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!! I can't do this again this year. Please. I don't want to go through it, but I don't want it to end...too soon, anyway, you know what I mean? But I just can't take the waiting and waiting and waiting and oh my god can you imagine how fucking cool it's going to be to see Schilling on the mound in a Red Sox uniform in tha mothafucking PLAYOFFS????

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Here we go.
I've got my Surviving Grady "I Believe" t-shirt on the way, and I plan on wearing it as soon as I get it. Should the Sox win that day, I will wear it until such a time as the Sox lose (hopefully never.) If the Sox should lose that day, I will give the shirt one more try, as is my custom, and should another loss ensue I will retire the shirt until next spring.
Wait a minute.
If I refuse to wear a shirt that says "I Believe" because I think it's bad luck, does that mean that I really don't believe? Because I believe. I do. I really fucking do.
I can't wait until the playoffs start, to see Manny's first play-off homerun (that's right, I said "first," like I expect to see more than one,) Pedro's first strikeout (and there will be many,) Curt's first pre-game prayer on the back of the mound, Ortiz's first double, Bill Mueller's first across-the-diamond put-out throw to first. And one of the things that I'm really geeked about is getting to watch Orlando Cabrera in his first ever trip to the playoffs, because goddamnit he deserves it and I love to watch the little fella play. Prediction: he's going to do fucking great.
Here are my other predictions:
1) Dodgers over Cardinals. (I know this is fucked up since the Cards are my hometown team and are also, obviously, my favorite NL team, but I just have a funny feeling that they're going down.)
2) Astros over Braves. (This isn't so much a "prediction" as it is a function of me absolutely hating the fucking Braves.)
And I don't make AL predictions, because that would involve me making Red Sox predictions, and I certainly don't do crazy things like that.
Now here's my real predicament: should I keep my phone in my pocket during service so that I can discreetly pull it out and check the scores as the games are going on, while I'm stuck at work... or should I just wait and watch the tape of the game when I get home and just pretend like it's happening live? Hmmmmmmm....

Sorry I've been a bit irregular with posting lately. Life is whacky and full of surprises. I haven't watched a Sox game since the night that they clinched, which makes me feel all weird and disconnected from the team. I even missed Little Buddy's three-run homer last night. And I found out that I have to work six days next week...six days. During the playoffs. Not a single night off to watch a game. I went through this last year. Do you know how hard it is to concentrate on cooking fish and making sauces etc. when the fate of your favorite sports team in the whole fucking world with whom you've lived and died for the past six months is hanging in the balance and you have no way of knowing what's happening?? I mean ya, we set the VCR every night and tape the games, but it's not the same as it is in the regular season. These games matter. I MUST KNOW.
Oh well. No sense in getting worked up about it - it won't change anything. Nothing to do but go in and concentrate and apply myself, and try not to be hungover every day like I was last year. Mike and I are watching the last game of the season today - I can't believe it's here already!!!

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Oh no. Posted by Hello
Actually it's Ono, a fish from Hawaii, also known as Wahoo. This is what I've been doing instead of being able to watch baseball. And seeing as how my station partner no called/no showed tonight, I'll be doing it even more.

Cooking. It's not just a career. It's a lifestyle. And I thank my lucky stars that I love my job, otherwise I'd be a fucking basket case right now.

Didn't Ortiz hit a homerun tonight or something?