Thursday, September 29, 2011

SAME AS IT EVER WAS

The brief passage below sort of sums it up. Or course, I originally wrote it in Red Sox Century back in 2000. All I had to do was add a few names . . .

. . . In the last month of the regular season History came alive. The major events of the Red Sox improbable past began to repeat and twist into the present. The 2011 Red Sox began re-enacting the roles of their ancestors in some strange public ritual. The whole history of the Red Sox was destined to be replayed and repeated, then replayed and repeated in one game while waiting for one pitch that never came, changing everything and nothing.


Hangovers were instantaneous, severe and violent. Mike Torrez screamed “I’m off the hook!” Darrell Johnson was sprayed with champagne in the Met clubhouse. Bill Buckner danced a jig on his ranch in Idaho, while Carl Crawford, Jonathan Papelbon and a cast of thousands not named Jacoby Ellsbury pushed Pesky aside, their careers distilled into a single moment, the lead of their obituaries already written. The whole 2011 roster elbowed their way past Stanley and Schiraldi and Galehouse and Willoughby. Don Zimmer, Joe McCarthy, Joe Cronin, John McNamara and Grady Little welcomed Terry Francona to the brotherhood while Joe Maddon looked on in sympathy, Buck Showalter grinned and pushed the pin into the voodoo doll a little deeper and Theo Epstein felt the pain and tried to peel the target off his forehead. Robert Andino joined Aaron Boone and Mookie and Bucky as an improbable villain and regional epithet. The dark corner deep in the heart of all Red Sox fans everywhere, the one that appeared to have healed got ripped open and suddenly seemed a little darker, a lot more crowded, and a whole lot more unpleasant.


More than one Boston fan woke the next morning and either logged on or turned on the television or clicked on the radio to confirm that the ultimate nightmare had indeed taken place. It had.

History returned to the Boston Red Sox. Fenway Park, at the end of its one hundredth season,* would have to wait at least one more season to host its first full blown championship celebration.

The worst month ever was over.

*Note: Championship celebrations in both 1912 and 1918 were both muted and took place before a half empty ballpark due to the unique circumstances of those World Series.

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