This Thing Called Courage

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

I HAVEN'T POSTED MUCH LATELY and have been woefully behind in catching up with emails, for two reasons: my mother was here for ten days, which is more than enough to wreck havoc witht he most precise schedule, AND the Red Sox. We've had a plethora of family events the past week (my brother Mike's 40th, my nephew Will Malachy's 2nd) but now the dust has settled, the visitors have flown back south, and we can concentrate on the business at hand, the Red Sox and their march to the World Series for the second time in four years.

Baseball is like bagpipes in that either you love it or, well, you don't. While I will be happy to go on and on for hours about the corporatization of sports, the overemphasis of sports in our culture and in our schools (to the detriment of reality, and, in the schools, to the arts-- when was the last time you heard of high school seniors getting scholarships for kicking ass in their portraits or violin class?) as well as the absolutely horrible onslaught of commericalization, the insulting and sexist ads that one must sit through, etc etc-- all of this goes by the boards when the Red Sox (as well as the Patriots) make the playoffs. I see everything that makes great drama in these encounters: shame and redemption, scapegoats and heroes, injustice and revenge, etc. I had a feeling the Sox would come back against Cleveland-- and did they ever, outscoring them 30-5 over the last three games-- but we cannot move on to the Colorado Rockies yet without an observation about Asdrubal Cabrera, he of the fascinating name, the second baseman for the Tribe. What is up with that moniker? I really love it-- but what does it mean? It sounds like a strange Medievel poison, bitter and acrid; or some ingredient that Professor Snape would mix into a magic potion at Hogwarts-- I can almost hear Alan Rickman intoning, "Two drops of Tincture of Asdrubal..."

Anyway me and my family share this Red Sox enthralldom, my sisters to a slightly lesser extent, my mother least of all-- the latter will go to bed in the middle of a ninth-inning, come-from-behind rally-- as if it meant nothing!-- and ergo my brothers and I will frequently conference call during games, comparing notes, bemoaning failed rallies, whooping up sudden thunderbolts of surprise (like J.D. Drew's grand slam the other night-- I think I've watched that 200 times over the past few days on You Tube-- see, I told you I've been flat out!)The latter's heroics were especially gratifying as he has been the quintessential scapegrace all year, the fifteen million dollar man who has done-- well, nothing really, except hit into double plays whenever men have been in scoring position. You could hear a collective groan go through the ballpark Saturday night when he stepped up to the plate Saturday night with the bases loaded and two outs. And then....that swing-- that perfect swing...the ball rockets out into the October night-- the center fielder drifts back...back...the crowd jumps to its feet, straining, holding its breath...could it be? Could it be? If only....YES!!!! GRAND SLAM!!!!!!!! Here is how one fan saw the moment:

while here is how it was recorded and reported by The Network That Must Not Be Named, (i.e., Fox) which is doing the playoffs this year:

My brothers and I have this theory that my late father (who played for the Boston Braves and was, of course, a rabid member of Red Sox Nation) goes to every Sox game at Fenway and can be spotted in the crowd-- usually in disguise. The photo above shows what might be my Dad, in disguise, enjoying Sunday night's game.

So tonight begins the Big Enchilada (why is it that sports calls up the most hackneyed cliches?). Let the fun begin.


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