Tuesday, October 19, 2004

We Have A Series

Somewhere out there is a writer good enough to describe what's going on here, but I am not that man. Bill Simmons made a solid pass, but it feels a bit like traveled territory for him. Shaughnessey, who has lately been doing some of the best writing of his career, is solid, but Bob Ryan, as usual, does the best work on the matter. But still, there's something not quite grasped. The Red Sox have just played two of the most dramatic postseason games in history, on consecutive nights, in one of the most dramatic situations in postseason history. No one can write about it because we're all going insane. You have any idea how difficult it is to sit down in front of a keyboard and approach this team rationally right now? We fans, writers, and internet losers have just logged too many hours. We've drunk too many beers and smoked too many tobacco cigarettes. We're more cooked that Leskanic's right shoulder. I mean, this is a team that three days ago laid one of the biggest eggs of Octobers passed. That very night I had a serious discussion with an Official Friend about giving up on these jokers forever. Hell, I wrote an article about killing them with robots. Now they've ripped off two sensational wins in about as shocking a fashion as physically possible, and we're all thinking about it. Admit it, you are. I know I am. I promised they wouldn't pull me back in, but so did you, and then we got ropa-diggity-doped. Big time. What if they actually did it? What if Curt wins tonight and forces a game 7? All bets would be off, and if Arroyo could throw like he did last night, well, I mean, have you guys seen Scanners?

This isn't just about the Yankees though. Ron Borges nailed it on The Zone today: "if the Red Sox ever win it all, this is exactly how it will happen." I don't know what would be stranger, it actually happening, or Ron Borges being right about something. But we can feel it. Last night The Ninth was at "The Riviera", a sports bar in the West Village area of New York. It's long been famed as the only real Red Sox bar in The Apple, but every time I try to go it's packed. Seemed like a nice enough joint, but hell, I know Red Sox fans and I don't need to wait in line to eat a burger with them. But last night we arrived early, got a corner table, and it was well worth it. All the basics: solid food, cheap beer, fast service, tons of tv's - but unbelievable atmosphere. There's a dining area with tables and places to eat, and a rowdier standing room only bar section. When it gets rocking, a chant will get started in the bar and pass its way over to the dining room, get mutated, and then passed back. It's like a big demented game of telephone. They have odd support poles and steel panels everywhere, giving the place a little old Garden vibe. Amazing. Replace a few simple clap clap clapclapclap's with bang on steel bang on steel bangonsteelbangonsteelbangonsteel's, and you've really got something. A few Yankee fans would inadvertently wander in at times, but quickly realize they weren't welcome. It was either the subtle angry glances or the flaming bottles of lighter fluid. One of the two. But hey, they have a whole city, why can't we have one puny little bar? As the night progressed, I made friends with various factions around the bar: chubby cigarette guy, cell phone talk strategy dude, little Hispanic yell Big Papi even when he isn't up girl. We were a unit. Then, after the hours of battling, yelling and cheering together, the Red Sox won, and we congratulated each other on our good work. Did we have anything to do with it? Absolutely not. Did that bother us? Absolutely not. I trotted off to the bathroom before a long trip back to Brooklyn, and walked in on a guy facing away, oddly, from the urinal. He decided apparently that this would be the best position to put his, uh, Big Papi back in the dugout. If you know what I mean. Nothing freaky, just a guy who'd had a few. He looked down, apologized, and said "Hell, we're all family." And oddly enough, I agreed. We are family, creepy bathroom pants guy. That's how crazy things have been. You watch a comeback like this with some people you've never met, and all of a sudden you're calling them brother. With or without trousers. I don't know how to explain it. All I can say is that three days ago I hated this team and now I believe they'll pull off the biggest turn around in baseball history. Do I think they will? Nope, not it in a million years. But I do believe. And I think you do too.