Fat Lady Backstage
This morning as soon as I turned on the radio, I heard the word "parade." Abhorrent at even having been exposed to the word, I switched the station quickly, and heard it again. Last night as I read yesterday's Herald a columnist actually wrote the words "It's over. The Series is over." People are already celebrating, planning when they'll take days off, talking about whether or not having the parade on Saturday would be better for...
Stop. Everyone. Please. Just stop.
It's ridiculous to have to even mention this, but, isn't it clear by now that nothing is ever guaranteed in this maddening game? I mean, it's not like we have to reach back too far in our memories to find evidence that "it ain't over till it's over." It may seem like it was months or years ago, but it was just last week that the Red Sox rallied from a 3-0 deficit to take the pennant. No one thought it possible--even 100 years of baseball history told us it wasn't possible. It was done anyway.
Just in case it helps, though, we were up 2-0 and then 3-1 in 1986, too. It wasn't just in the now-infamous Game 6 that we came within a strike of winning the Series, either. Like the 2004 Yankees, the 1986 Red Sox endured choke after agonizing choke, and eventually brought about the media scourge that is "The Curse of the Bambino."
Every Sox fan at the Age of Reason during that time, it seems, has a story of how they uncorked the champagne or shut off the television or woke their kids up to see the Game 6 victory, and many if not most feel a sense of guilt to this day. And that was with two strikes, two outs, and a two-run lead in the bottom of the tenth inning in the clinching game.
Now here we are. 18 years is a long time, long enough for me to go from being a first-grader to a (sort of) adult. Long enough for a number of people to have lived and died without seeing a championship, with their last Red Sox World Series experience being the impossible, unrelenting sting of 1986 and Game 6 in Shea Stadium, where they put "Congratulations Red Sox" up on a lighted sign just a tiny bit too soon.
Truth be told, it makes me a little bit embarrassed for my fellow members of Red Sox Nation, including and especially the "Knights of the Keyboard" and airwaves, that after the kind of near-lethal lesson the '86 World Series proved to be, we appear to have learned absolutely nothing.
It's one thing to believe in our team. It's one thing to root for them, cheer them on, pray for them, go through our superstitious rituals, and trash-talk with rivals. It's an entirely different thing to show a kind of hubris all over again that has been so dearly punished in the past.
Let's not tempt the gods. Let's not dance on the train tracks. Let's not play chicken with fate. Let's take this one game at a time, and please, no more about a parade until there's a reason for it.