Let's be indulgent for a moment.
Here I will compile a list that shows what I think are the highlights of my personal year with the Red Sox.
I know, barf.
"So when the Yankees come to town, boo and spit and curse as usual. Flip a few birds and chant "BAL-CO" when Giambi steps to the plate. But when you do it, know that it's because the New York Yankees are less our archenemies than our evil twin brothers. Because we hold one another up with all our venom even as we weigh each other down. Because together we form yin and yang and that's something beautiful, win or lose.
Because every story of enemies is also, at its root, a love story."
"Thought I'd Made Friends With Time", Friday, April 16
"Either way, though, the Sox won. We humiliated Javier Vasquez. Wake got his revenge. And all the newspapers will undoubtedly report tomorrow that Red Sox Nation has been healed and rejuvenated by the victory.
Not really. Our joy at A-Rod's failures could have been our joy at his success if he was wearing the right uniform. And that's really too bad.
And I think most of us would have given up all 19 games to the Yankees this season if we could just have the last pitch of Game 7 back. All in all, the win tonight is like taking Advil for a gunshot wound--it might take the edge off, but it's still a bittersweet pill to swallow."
"Ennui," Saturday, April 17
"[...]right now, none of that can touch me. Yesterday was just a little bit of summer in the heart of April, and even though summer is my least favorite of the seasons (except for baseball), I have to admit it was refreshing. I felt that mid-summer laziness watch over me, and today I think we saw baseball in its natural habitat--midair ballet under a caramel sun.
And really, for all the pain and suffering that comes with this game and in particular this team, some days you have to just sit back and look at what a beautiful thing this peculiar little game is. Some days you have to wonder how it is that humans evolved from clubbing one another in caves to sending a little white ball singing through a brilliant summer sky over manicured grass.
Some days, you have to stand back and appreciate life, Boston, this moment of June."
"Nothing's Gonna Change My World", Tuesday, April 20
"Overall, I left the movie in newfound awe of what we have in New England. Year after year, we have this love that brings us together--vindicated or not, requited or not.
As we were filing out the soundtrack over the credits was not music but talk radio from WEEI in Boston abou the off-season acquisitions--completing the circle, beginning again with "This is the Year". As we were filing out people were teary eyed, laughing, clapping, completely psyched as it was, and then cellphone kid put the perfect final touch on the evening: "SOX WON!!" he yelled from the upper tiers of the theater.
And miles away from Fenway Park, Red Sox Nation let out a cheer."
"It's All Just a Little Bit of History Repeating", Saturday, May 8
" 'No,' [my dentist] says, looking down at me the way only someone who's known you since you were four years old, has personally yanked most of your baby and a few of your adult teeth out of your mouth with pliers, and who has just finished handling your tongue can look down at you.
'I think 'possessed' is exactly the right word'."
"Pearly Whites," Thursday, May 20
"Tonight a new picture was burned into my being: David Ortiz hitting a grand slam against Seattle."
"Photographic Memory", Saturday, May 29
"I hate to visit all this on you like a macabre Ghost of Christmas Future, but it must be done. I know it doesn't make sense to you now, but you must spare yourself this pain of a beautiful Memorial Day and the Red Sox losing at Fenway Park when you're old enough to feel awful about it."
"A Letter to My Six-Year-Old Self", Monday, May 31
"One of the best things about Pedro when he's on is exactly that lidded hauteur. You can just hear him muttering to himself after each strikeout: sientate, pendejo. Then he turns and takes a short constitutional around the mound after the backhanded catch Angell mentions, observing the outfield, king of all he surveys." "Island in the Sun," Tuesday, June 8
"It was impossible for him not to acknowledge the full-bore screaming all around him, and so, as he approached the batters' box, he touched the bill of his batting helmet, and tried to settle in.
Not enough. The roar intensified as he drew closer to the plate. Finally he stood back, looked up into the crowd, and put his right hand over his heart."
"Apocalyptic Baseball is what happens when baseball becomes more than a game, more than a sport, more than a pastime. Apocalyptic Baseball is when things happen on a field that are simply inexplicable, and yet resonate profoundly with all the inexplicable things about life itself. Apocalyptic Baseball is somewhere between Shakespearean tragedy and stone-age warfare, refinement and brutality, pattern and chaos, all coming together to make your pupils dilate and your palms sweat and your mouth go dry and you know that even though it's only a game, if the Yankees win, you will literally die right where you sit."
"Apocalyptic Baseball", Monday, June 28
The famous "Saga in Two Parts", which Tim from SG referred to as "The Bonfire of the Vanities of Sox blog posts."
"But factor in the fact that that godforsaken pit of a ballpark is always 85% empty, even with a bunch of Sox fans there to try to make things look good, and Leatherlung's voice absolutely rings from out behind home plate. And tonight either he or the aural hallucinations got to Johnny; the Caveman threw up another 0-fer, including the pop-up that ended the goddamn freakin stupid useless retarded game." "They Tell Me If I Keep Taking My Medication, I'll Be Fine", Wednesday, August 4
The infamous Bigfoot Post.
"Today was a day for magnificent facial expressions..."
"Faces", Tuesday, August 17
"Don't get me wrong, though. I believe--really solidly believe, I mean, to the point of asking myself excitedly several times a day, Can you believe it? The Red Sox are going to win the World Series this year! Does this mean I won't see Thanksgiving with nothing to show but fatigue and an aching heart? Of course not. Would I trade it for anything at all in the world? Never." "Magical Mystery Tour", Wednesday, Sept. 8
"Jerry Remy cleared his throat while the blimp bobbed along overhead. His voice floated dreamily over that lazy backdrop: "How long do you think it would take that thing to fly to New York?"
"See You on the Dark Side of the Moon", Thursday, Sept. 16
"Something--Something with a capital S--was with us tonight. And I don't get the sense it will be absent in less than twelve hours when the second installment of this crucial series begins. The possibilities are opening and blooming and stretching tall toward the sun."
"Siyahamba", Saturday, Sept. 18
"A slow bouncer, gloved by Mientkiewicz, and that unique double-play beauty-within-a-beauty, the gasp as players and then spectators realize what's possible, went up. It was followed by another, the tensed wait as an entire infield launches itself into full-on acrobatics, and another, the gathering roar as the final pass of the ball nears its target, and another, the vindicated yell as the last umpire punches the air. That's the real appeal of a double play--it is an endlessly compound blessing."
"Here's to the Night", Thursday, September 23
"Later, when Kevin Millar hit a single off the wall but tried for a double, an invisible voice cried, "oh JESUS!," less a cry of anger than of anguish, a true hollered prayer.
The same might have been Pedro's thoughts after giving up a game-tying home run to Hideki Matsui--the camera showed him whirling to watch the ball's flight, and as soon as it dropped into one of the bullpen, showed Pedro's eyes roll upward, and he stood completely still on the mound, face and eyes tilted toward the sky, for a long moment--quite obviously praying."
"Miserere Nobis", Saturday, September 25
"I thought sports were supposed to be fun, goddamnit." "Next Year is Here", Monday, October 4
"Mike Soscia trots out, raising his left hand.
Who do they...wait, I thought they didn't have...
It's Jerrod Washburn.
I laugh. I can't help it. Here it is. Before the poor man even takes the ball, I'm chuckling. It's not if, not when, it's now.
"You know what this guy's nickname is?" I say to Kellie.
"Way-back Washburn. You know why?"
"Because he gives up home runs at Fenway like nobody's business."
David has pity on him. He only makes him throw one pitch.
"What Wasn't," Friday, October 8.
"Regardless of the outcome of this year's chapter, returning to the Red Sox and Yankees after the anticlimax of the Astros has all the relief and wonder of coming home. And no matter what happens in the Bronx this week, I have been reminded once and for all that there's no place quite like it."
"Houston, Come In," Tuesday October 12
"It's one thing for them to lose. It's another for them to lose like this."
"It's No Good", Thursday, October 14
"Suddenly, anything seems possible, and that terrible slithery word, maybe, is creeping even into my consciousness. But I fight it as much as I can--and try to look only at the fact that the Red Sox brought their poetry back to the diamond last night, even if it's for the last time, and, really, that's all that will matter over a long winter, no matter what the rest of October has to bring."
"In the Still of the Night", Monday, October 18
" 'So, how was your story,' [Steve] asks without taking his eyes off the screen.
But I don't answer, because David's hit the ball again, and it's hooking down toward center field, with Derek Jeter and Bernie Williams and Miguel Cairo all closing in toward it, and then the ball hits the grass and the camera swings around to show Johnny Damon storming down the third base line, and then shows the Yankees shrugging back to the dugout, and then back to home plate again, where figures in red jackets are jostling the cameraman to mob David Ortiz, and by the time I realize I'm screaming at the top of my lungs, my throat is already raw."
"Do Not Go Gentle", Tuesday, October 19
"Obviously, I won't ever pitch a major-league playoff game. But there are multiple metaphorical equivalents, and I hope when I'm called upon to come through someday in my own Game 6, I perform with half the fortitude and bravery that Curt Schilling displayed tonight."
"The Almighty", Wednesday, October 20
"It so happens that I was born in the year 1980. This small happenstance--the simplest of circumstances and yet, on this miraculous night, seeming a reward simply for living--means that I was alive to experience this enormous, inestimable, improbable moment."
"In My Life", Thursday, October 21
"It almost makes you wonder if we deserve a championship if we can't even celebrate a pennant like human beings."
"Bad Karma, Friday, October 22
"You know we're here, you can hear where we hold our breath, you can hear when our hearts beat faster. More than even last year's team, it seems like we can read each other's minds. You knew in Game 3 that our hearts were breaking. You saw our tears and you set about making things right. You let our faith carry you through, and then you carried us."
"Open Love Letter", Friday, October 22
"The fact that [Schilling] has been willing to put so much on the line--his career, his body, his health, his livelihood, not to mention his pride--for his teammates and for us is something so immensely meaningful to me that I still have difficulty fully figuring out what it is I want to say about it.
I guess "thank you" is close, although, no cigar. It'll just have to do for now."
"You Can Find Me In St. Louis", Monday, October 25
"[...]tonight at work I saw a sign that's been on the newsroom wall for a little while announcing in blue ballpoint pen that copies of the book Chasing Steinbrenner were available downstairs for $26.00. Tonight I noticed as I walked to the elevator that the word "Chasing" had been written over in red marker that said "CATCHING??"
Happiness. It can be so tiny, and so quiet."
"Little Moments", Monday, October 25
"Now you can feel the weight of the years and the generations; you can feel it pressing against your tear ducts, or at least I can. Maybe it's the sleep deprivation; maybe it's the stress, but I find myself a weepy and irrational beast this morning, truly wounded by the assertion that I must find a way to accomplish tasks at my job or pick my way through traffic or procure food for myself. You want me to what? The Red Sox are in the World Series!"
"These Precious Things", Wednesday, October 27
"My grandfather is 83 years old. Tonight the Boston Red Sox, standing on the dark side of the moon as it passed through the only lunar eclipse to hover over the World Series, the Red Sox made Ted Williams smile, wherever he is. And they made an 83-year-old man who did what he had to do to serve his country and his family smile in his hospital room while Jason Varitek stormed the mound, leaping with open-mouthed glee into the arms of his pitcher, while their teammates ran toward them, bearing an accompanying mob of ghosts with them to the celebration."
"Today is Someday", Wednesday, October 27