"Baseball shouldn't mean this much."
I'm just not sure that I'm ready to go through this again.
Nobody is. And that's the rub. It's the best Red Sox team of my lifetime, a well-rounded machine with quality pitchers and big bats, a good defensive squad with a deep bench, a likable group of guys who care about one another. They deserve the benefit of the doubt, a clean slate with a fan base that won't panic every time something goes wrong. It's just that we can't help it. Last October nearly broke us. You can only heal so much.
Maybe enough time hasn't passed yet. I still remember everything about last October, those twelve playoff games unfolding like rounds in a classic boxing match, so many twists and turns that even Harold Lederman couldn't have scored it. I still remember the minutes and hours after that fateful Game 7 in the Bronx, when I called Dad just to make sure he was still breathing. I still remember the following afternoon, when everything hit me at once -- the residual emotions of the past three weeks swelling up like a killer wave, knocking me right on my back -- and I actually had to leave work early. It was too much. Baseball shouldn't mean this much.
A few months passed. I thought I was okay. Last Friday brought everything back. This isn't about a curse, it's about baggage, the way an accumulation of experiences alters your innate reactions. Like every Red Sox fan, I have baggage. Tons of it. Now we're heading into October with another dicey manager. My guard is up. I can't help it. At the same time, I'm going to spend my entire afternoon monitoring that Yankees doubleheader against Minnesota today. Because you never know.
Everything has changed. Nothing has changed. I don't want to go through this again. I can't live without it. I'm not sure I can handle it. I couldn't imagine any other way.