Monday, September 3, 2012

What to Look Forward to this Fall in New England: A Guide for Red Sox Fans

A lot of chores just got green lighted. And it’s all Josh Beckett’s fault. Beckett and A-Gone’s. And Crawford’s.

The past two seasons the Red Sox failure to make the playoffs came too late to do any lasting harm. Once it became obvious that the Sox were staying home in October, so were you, the space in the easy chair already reserved for the season. It was almost winter, for crying out loud, far too late to add a whole extra months of chores to the schedule. You told her you can’t paint this late in the year – it violates the laws of physics or something like that – it was on Mythbusters - and it’s just gonna have to wait ‘til the spring. And even though she didn’t believe you would do it then, either, from the look on your face she realized you were in mourning and let you get away with it. It was then possible to transition directly into football, basketball and hockey without putting down either the remote or the beer. Life was good.

Not this year. All over New England the projects of seasons’ past, the one’s you’ve talked about doing but never got around to because it’s a pennant race for criss sakes and I hafta watch the game, are about to be dredged up and placed before you. All the garages that haven’t been painted and the decks that have been rotting away, the toilet she wants you to fix and the closet she wants you to clean, and – well get out the shovels and the brooms and the brushes, brother, because this year your excuses are all gone. Boston’s loss is Home Depot’s gain.

And don’t think just one or two chores will be the end of it either, because they won’t be. There’s still plenty of time for family activities, you know, the “fun” ones you hate. Those drives to see the fall colors you’ve were always able to ditch because the radio reception is terrible outside I-495? It doesn’t matter now. Gas up the car, because this year you’re going. Remember how she’s always wanted to go antiquing, starting early some Saturday morning and driving to New Hampshire and then having an overpriced lunch at some kind of Ye Olde Inn on the way back? I hope you’re in the mood for acorn squash soup and remember how to strip varnish.

Do you like maple syrup? Well you’re gonna love it this year because you’re taking her to Vermont and buying a couple gallons at $50 each and then she’s gonna go gluten free. And while you’re up there you’re going to have to stay in a Bed and Breakfast without TV and chat with people from Pennsylvania while sitting on doilies because this fall Jerry and Don are chattering to the crickets. She doesn’t even care about “Pedey” anymore. Now that the Sox are losers, cute got old real quick.

That still leaves… apple picking! You’ll have to drive out to some godforsaken town in Worcester County, and get lost coming and going, to pick the same goddamn apples they got at Price Chopper. Then when you get home you’ll have to sit there and core and peel the little buggers for hours while she turns them into apple sauce that will sit in the basement for years before bursting out of the jars, oozing onto the floor and giving you another job to do..

Those leaves in the yard, the one’s you’ve always looked at and said “God will rake ‘em up?” , and then depended on the mat of detritus to kill the grass so there won’t be as much to cut next summer? This year God is you and you’re gonna be out there raking every waking moment of the weekend you’re not painting or driving or pretending to smile , cursing Beckett and Gonzalez and Crawford with every breath.

Come Monday morning you’ll be a little sore. It didn’t used to be like this, did it? Noooo. That’s because the last time you had this much time in the fall Tim Wakefield was a kid, Johnny Pesky was still hitting fungoes and you could still bend over and tie your shoes. Those days are gone. So get ready, and get out the Icy Hot. It’s gonna be a long and painful autumn.

Thanks a lot, Red Sox. Home Depot appreciates the business. Meanwhile my aching back has a few choice words for that little twit Theo for getting us into this mess.

Glenn Stout is an author, a contributing editor to SB Nation and series editor of The Best American Sports Writing. The 2012 edition, guest edited by Michael Wilbon, and Fenway 1912 will both be available in paperback in October. This article is from the September edition of Boston Baseball.