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Lament from a Boston Red Sox fan

Posted: Sunday, October 19, 2003

Hello, my name is Will, and I am a Boston Red Sox fan.

A very wise Boston sports reporter once wrote that the only reason the Red Sox win today is so that it hurts even more when they lose tomorrow.

And so it goes.

We "cowboyed up." We searched suburban Boston ponds for long-submerged pianos. Heck, the gentleman who directs the day-care center that cares for my children even said a prayer for the Red Sox.

We refused to go gentle into that good night, raging back in the division series, then raging back again in the championship series to force a Game 7.

We had our ace on the hill. The bats were hot and the defense was superb. We chased a ghost of Red Sox past from the game in the fourth. We added to the lead in the top of the eighth.

We stumbled in the bottom of eighth, but we staved off disaster, and, as hope springs eternal in the human breast, we had runners on base against their best guy. We hung in there.

We could almost taste it ...

And then a knuckle ball, which had so befuddled them in two games prior, didn't quite knuckle enough, and, well, aaarrrggghhh!!!!

They say the first step toward recovery is admitting there is a problem. But I don't have a problem. I mean, I'm not like those Cubs fans. They blame their problems on barnyard animals, for goodness' sake. Can you believe that? Those people need to have their heads examined.

No, we Red Sox fans are different. At least our goats are goats only in the figurative sense.

We don't fixate on some fan in the stands just trying to catch a foul ball. We're keenly nay, painfully aware that games are won and lost between the lines or between a pair of black hightop cleats, as the fates would have it.

So maybe we tend to dwell just a bit on events of the past, like why didn't Little go to the bullpen in the bottom of the eighth, and why did McNamara pull Clemens in the seventh in '86, and why didn't he put in a defensive replacement for Buckner in the ninth, and how did Piniella make that catch, and that whole ugly Bucky Dent episode, and the Boston Massacre, and while we revel in the fact that Fisk's home run won Game 6 in '75, we sort of black out the fact that the Reds won Game 7, and did Pesky really hold the ball in '46?

And I'll admit that dredging a pond for a piano may be a bit eccentric.

So what if I remember exactly where I was on Oct. 25, 1986, just like some folks remember where they were when Kennedy was shot? I don't think that's weird.

No, I'm not in denial. Clearly, I've moved way beyond denial. It's like some bad country song every year I come back, only to have my heart ripped out again.

But I prefer to think of it as some slightly askew form of acceptance I cheer as Sisyphus pushes his rock up the hill, knowing full well it will always come back down on him, and I'm OK with that.

Maybe he was able to push it just a little farther up the slope this year. Maybe it seemed to balance for a moment before it toppled. Maybe we thought, just for a moment, he would make it to the top of the hill.

You know, the Red Sox took me on as good a roller coaster ride as I've been on in, well, about 17 years. What goes up, as they say, must come down the Old Towne Team just happens to be able to hit all the highs and lows in one series, instead of over the course of an entire season.

And through it all, they make us feel every up and every down. The emotion is honest and from the gut, not like those soulless, emotionless players in pinstripes.

It's life, played out in seven games. They make it hurt so good, and it just doesn't get any better than that.

Sure, I could walk away from it at any time. I don't need the Red Sox, I just like the way they make me feel.

And it's not like it's affecting my work. I mean, I've only rearranged my schedule so I can watch baseball in the postseason. And as far as my personal life goes, I ignored my wife and children just for the league championship series no big deal, right?

No, I don't have a problem. When do pitchers and catchers report?

This column is the opinion of Peninsula Clarion reporter Will Morrow. Comments can be e-mailed to clarion@alaska.net.



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