This season, I haven’t followed the Red Sox as ardently as I have in the past. But given that they were in town, and playing the Yankees this weekend, I decided I would watch all four games. So I watched. I cringed. And I, along with the Red Sox, suffered.
Prior to 2004, the story of the Red Sox had always been that of a Greek tragedy. The villains were Buckner and Boone and the curse of the Bambino. You knew it was going to end badly. You knew that the Sox would get your hopes up, only to be crushed in the end. Season after season, it was a hopeless cause–like world peace. You wanted it to happen, but you knew that in the end, darker forces (the Yankees, the Taliban) would always be in the way.
But then, 2004 happened. We won the world championship, beat the Yankees, and eradicated the dreaded “Curse”. Then, in 2007, we did it again. Suddenly, the Red Sox franchise was associated with winning. It was a strange feeling.
Thus, I watched the Sox play this weekend, fully expecting that we would win (at least one)… But we lost the first three games. And around 11:15ish tonight, the Yankees blew away our 2-1 lead and scored four runs in the bottom of the 8th. 5-2, Yankees, and we were down to our last inning. (The collective “we” is what makes it all the more heartbreaking, especially since I feel the pain even though I have no control over the outcome of the game, no matter how much I yell at the players through the TV.) Yet, while I instinctively knew that I should skip the inevitable conclusion of the 9th inning, that tiny glimmer of ’04/’07 hope kept me watching. Damn, Red Sox. I’d have an easier time turning away from a train wreck.
Of course, we got the tying run to the plate against Mariano Rivera, and then lost. Losers once again.
So, in my postgame huff, I started to write about how much I hated the Yankees. My first line was: “Rooting for the Yankees is like encouraging the rich kids to steal food from the homeless.” But I figured that a rant about the haves vs. the have-nots would be somewhat unfair, given the Red Sox’s payroll. (Although it is $80 million less than that of the Yankees, or should I say, Bankees. Ha, ha. Thanks, TARP backlash.)
Instead, I’ve realized that as much as I do, legitimately, hate the Yankees (after all, they steal from the homeless), I’m starting to hate on the Red Sox too. I hate J.D. Drew and the $14 million we pay him to hit singles. I hate how Big Papi’s (potential) PED use has cast doubt over the legitimacy of those world championships. I hate that I believe the Sox can win all the time — it was so much easier when I’d already prepared myself for failure. And I hate Tek’s balky knees, Beckett’s facial hair, all Red Sox shortstops, and how sweaty Youk gets during the games. I appreciate the effort, but it’s nasty.
Lastly, I hate myself a little bit too — I hate how I’ve wasted so much time caring. This time could have been spent on world peace.