Title TM Sam.
I have come to this conclusion: whenever Julia and I watch a game together, the Red Sox not only lose, but lose in Exquisitely Agonizing (TM) fasion. This is not the second but the third time she and I have been in one another's company during a nut-crunching loss (yes, I know I don't have nuts to crunch; read that in the figurative sense).
When we were about to leave after some greasy Chinese food and the first innings of last night's nightmare (following a rally to make the score 7-5, in the hopes that our departure would turn the Sox' luck since evidently the baseball gods object to our togetherness during baseball games), smoking one last butt outside her house, Julia and her husband remarked that it was a remarkably quiet night for their neighborhood. Lest I further the stereotype of Lowell as the ghetto, I want to point out here that where Steve and I live, approximately one neighborhood over, is a placid, even idyllic neighborhood. But where Julia lives is a busier area, and apparently there's normally more "activity"--to put it tactfully--than there was last night.
"I can only imagine," I said, "That it's because everyone's in front of their television weeping softly at the moment."
Either that, or they don't care about sports or the Red Sox and were merely still nursing Memorial Day Weekend hangovers, for which I pretty much envy them.
Our second rally to fall short in as many nights (our fourth in two weeks). An outing from Beckett that left me hollering at the screen like Ewan MacGregor's Obi Wan Kenobi to Hayden Christiansen's Anakin Skywalker, "YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO BE THE CHOSEN ONE!!" Four home runs. FOUR. FOUR! Vernon Wells, officially the new Hideki Matsui (left-handed batter who always seems to be up at a crucial time and freakin' kicks the ass of every pitcher you have at said crucial moment) had two.
I don't know if it makes me feel better or worse that the word "frustration" is a laughable understatement to describe Beckett's reaction to his own performance. If anything, he was so furious at times it was scary, like the one behaviorally disturbed kid in your elementary school class who seemed really quiet most of the time and then all of a sudden he'd FREAK OUT one day in a way that made even the most ironclad troublemakers stand back and go "Whoa. What in the Sweet Holy Jesus is he doing?" (Come on. You know you grew up with a kid like that.)
Also, it should be mentioned--and I guess right now is as good a time as any to do the mentioning--that Gustavo Chacin is one terrifying man to behold. I'm not talking about pitching prowess; I'm talking in appearance. I wouldn't necessarily call him ugly in the Randy Johnson sense, but I will say that after racking my brain the best analogy I could come up with for the way he looks to me with his downturned mouth, lack of neck, lack of visible hair, and strange goggles was the Tapeworm Man from a long-ago episode of The X-Files that gave me nightmares in high school. OK?
The discussion about his men's fragrance on NESN, complete with background soundtrack of "Sexual Healing", was enough to make me feel like vomiting.
It wasn't until I saw Freddy Krueger up in our bullpen, though, that I thought I actually might.
Awful game. Awful awful awful game. Reminds me of the line from Dirt Dogs once upon a time: "Another worst loss of the season."
Worse is the idea that it's probably our lot in life this season. Right now what we are looking at, I believe, is a "transition year". Meaning: No Clemens. No D-Train. No cavalry is on the way. And what I wrote with such bravado before Spring Training began was:
Theo's return (and apparent string-pulling all along) means, without a doubt, that the 2006 Red Sox just may suck. Let's prepare ourselves for that eventuality right now, so that when they're seven games out and even behind the Blue Jays by June, we don't have the OMG THE 2006 RED SOX SUCK collective freakout.
[N]ow that the ownership achieved the first championship, the goals are different. The goals are more about the next decade as opposed to next year. If you concede this context, then, the 2006 Red Sox sucking might mean that the 2007 Red Sox and beyond will be very good. As a matter of fact, the inverse also applies: loading up the 2006 Red Sox like the 2004 squad would probably cripple the long-term competitiveness of the team.
Granted, I did hedge my bets by concluding the post with "And also? Someone remind me of this post come June." Just so it didn't come across too smug. But really? I can know all that...I can have written all that myself, and still agree with it 100%...and it's still sometimes just plain really, really, really no fun. Like, not at all. Like not even a little. Like, Bathtime with Tapeworm Man no fun.
Although in fairness, it should be noticed that Don and Jerry are doing their damndest to ease the pain. And their brilliant coverage of a race between three young fans in the upper deck of the Rogers Center to retrieve a foul ball hit by Manny last night may not have really solved our problems, but it was at least a bright spot in the whole mess.