"Tabasco Redemption 2004" aka "Keep Sucking It, Yankees"

by tully
October 20, 2004 5:43 AM
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Last year for game seven, I was one of four Red Sox supporters in a raucously packed Nice Guy Eddie's. I was drunk and acting rather obnoxious (not to anyone in particular, I was simply "conducting" the game in my typical passionate fashion). Anyway, during the ensuing riot following Posada's game-tying double, we four Red Sox supporters were subsequently doused with tabasco sauce. My friend, the honorable Jesse Sweet, actually got it in his eyes. In a rage, I approached the punk fucking B&T-er who was standing closest to the shattered bottle, and I held my filled pint glass up to his forehead. I have never in my life been so close to smashing a glass against someone's skull. The only thing that prevented me from unleashing animalistic violence on this dickhead schmuck was the sense that it was just a happy accident (for him) and wasn't, in fact, intentional (to this day, I still don't know if it was intentional or not). Needless to say, since Aaron Boone's anticlimactic home run, I've dreamed of the day when I could experience a game seven Red Sox victory in Nice Guy Eddie's. Well, my friends, that time has come.

Only I won't be there to experience it.

Baseball, more than any other sport, is a game seeped in superstition. For the past three nights, I have been watching the game in the comfort of my own home with my roommate--master musician/composer/singer/songwriter/etc.--David Wingo. As badly as I want to be out in public, soaking up the electrifying energy that will certainly be seeping out of every bar, restaurant, and apartment building, I can't do it. If I hadn't been home for all three Red Sox victories, the superstition factor would be void. But home is where I've been, so home is where I'll be. It hurts to miss out on the public insanity, but I have to sacrifice myself for the greater good. Not to say that my watching at home will ensure a Yankees defeat, but on the other hand, if I'm not at home, it's a done deal. Yankees win, Red Sox lose.

I feel sorry for people who don't appreciate the drama of sports. These past three days have been more thrilling, dramatic, and exhausting than a classic book, film, or album.

To prove my point, read this "ode to the game" written by my soul-brother Randy Kim (www.hifiny.com) a few years back. (Oh yeah, before you start to question my sanity, realize that Mr. Kim was razzed for many months after composing this incomprehensibly ridiculous piece of horse pooh. Just kidding, Randy--I love it!)

"Baseball is Back"

Yes, baseball is back.

Put your allegiances aside and allow for the beauty of the game at this point. Be mesmerized by the routine double play, by the shortstop who drags his foot lightly across second base -- barely avoiding the oncoming base-runner, by the shortstop who whips a side-armed bullet inches over the runner's head, beating out the batsman by two one-hundredths of a second. This is beauty. This is baseball.

Baseball doesn't allow for emotion. In hardball, the heart is an obstacle to be overcome. In baseball, players are skilled, like the patient duck hunter crouching low in the blind. The day that you let your heart guide you at the plate or on the mound is the day that you are sure to swing and strike air. Nothing more. Greg Maddux knows this. Tony Gwynn knows this.

Baseball doesn't allow for doing chin-ups on the rim. Baseball doesn't allow for special teams, for slap shots or for slide tackles. Baseball is a small white ball being thrown fast, and a stick trying to kiss it. Baseball is beautiful because the action is the ball and the moment and nothing more. The shortstop can't jockey for position. The catcher can't box out the hitter in the on-deck circle. There is the ball and the moment. Nothing more.

This is being written after watching Trevor Hoffman's introduction to the opening strains of "Hell's Bells." It's being written after watching Maddux, Colon, Schourek, and Brown all pitch masterpieces, after seeing Shane Spencer do his best Roger Maris thirty years after the fact, after seeing David Justice play the outfield like a maestro rubbing his bow across the F string. Note: He was the Michael Jordan of leftfield tonight, we have to admit that much.

The Foster's is gone. The port wine is too sweet. I'll drink it anyway, I'll drink to the batsmen before me, the champagne being raised by the Braves, Indians, and Yankees: the three teams that I was rooting against, the three teams that I'd cast as evil adversaries, the three teams that managed to push through anyway. Baseball does that, it strings you along. Somehow I'm happy to have seen the enemy fight through. And somehow I'll be even happier still to see how all of this wraps up.

It's the only way. It's baseball. You can't root against baseball. You can't because there's beauty in the moment. There's beauty in watching that little white pill hum across the infield, in watching it smack the leather, in watching it ricochet off of a Louisville Slugger, and, ultimately, in seeing just how far it travels.

Did it go far enough? Did it leave its confines? Can it both leave the park and bring someone home? Can it bring us all home again, to a place that we haven't ever been before?

That is the question. And that is beautiful. That is baseball. Baseball is back, and there's something absolutely and undeniably right in the world when this is what it is. When baseball is baseball. When it is what it's capable of.

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