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.

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!)