It's been a while since it's felt like this, hasn't it?
For maybe just one more weekend this year, depending on how things go, we're going to be on the edge of our seats about baseball. And tonight we got a taste of just what a hair- and blood-pressure-raising experience it's going to be.
There were a few moments I caught myself holding my breath watching, or with that strange butterfly-stomach feeling of forgetting that the Red Sox losing won't actually physically hurt me (except, I suppose, for the years these games tend to take off my life). I was cringing with each of the numerous walks issued by Red Sox pitching, fist-pumping and growling in triumph through gritted teeth with each of the thankfuly more numerous strikeouts.
It's a familiar feeling, but different. There was a time I behaved like this during baseball games because watching them actually felt painful, like I was trapped watching, a worm wriggling on a hook. This time I realized at least a small part of me was behaving like this because it might the the last chance I'd have this season to lose all rational perspective about a baseball game.
This is it, folks. Do or die time. You can tell the players are feeling the same way. See also V-Mart nearly doubling over in celebration after making a huge out at the plate in the bottom of the sixth. Jon Lester bearing down over and over again, shaking off walks and wild pitches and blown calls on the basepaths and leaving having surrendered just a single run in a game in which he'd also walked five hitters. And V-Mart again, bashing two homers into the cavernous corners of the Trop, despite the awkward brace mummifying his left thumb.
This team. There's just something about them. At the very least, I hope their stubborn spirit is something they can build on with a healthier roster next year. In my rare moments of optimism, I wonder if it might be enough to carry them, yet.