Wednesday, September 28, 2011

What it's like to be a Red Sox fan

I just sent a text to my 18-year-old son in college who was threatening to shoot himself.

Jokingly, I think.

“This, my son,” I wrote, “is what it’s like to be Red Sox fan. Get used to it.”

This is the Olde Towne team I fell in love with in 1967 and died with in 1975. And 1978. And 1986. And I could go on and on.

While the rest of my die-hard Red Sox Nation waited 86 years for its world championship, my oldest son waited 11 years and then he got another one three years later. The kid is spoiled. He’s never had to live through something like this.

I’ll give you the short version: Remarkably the Red Sox were all set to win and make the playoffs last night. But, in the back of the crazed minds in the Red Sox Nation, we knew their season was like a terminally ill patient. It was a just matter of time. It was inevitable there was not going to be a happy ending.

The Red Sox led their game and the Rays trailed theirs and then the rain came. It is agonizing enough to be a Red Sox fan hoping for a Yankees win – any Yankees win – but it’s even worse to feel like the Yankees were all along ready to pull the rug out from under us.

The Rays, down to their last strike of the season, rallied from being nine games down in the wild card standings and seven runs down with six outs to go to make the playoffs. The Yankees had runners at first and third and no outs in the top of the 12th and didn’t score. The Red Sox had runners at first and third and no outs in the top of the ninth and didn’t score.

Yet the Red Sox were one strike from living to another day when the Orioles rallied for two runs in the bottom of the ninth. The Red Sox then walked off the field and into their clubhouse and watched Evan Longoria end their season with a Pesky Pole-like strike down the leftfield line to beat the Yankees in the bottom of the 12th.

It was alternately the most exciting and most excruciating day of regular-season baseball in my life.

No tears. But then the texts started coming.

“I watched every pitch,” my son typed

“I’ve lived through every season. I will live through this,” I wrote back.

“There’s no more baseball. I can’t even comprehend what just happened,” he typed.

“It’s Red Sox baseball history in a nutshell,” I wrote back.

“We were supposed to reverse it,” he typed.

“It’s not the Curse of the Bambino anymore,” I wrote. “It’s just a curse.”

Get used to it.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Ugly is now beautiful for 49ers

Please, please do not complain 49ers fans.

That 13-8 win over the Cincinnati Bengals today may have been orangutan-butt ugly but the 49ers typically and routinely have been losing those types of games the past eight years or so.

They deserve to win one.

As unimpressive as the offense has been, they have a winning record (2-1) and their upcoming schedule looks less daunting. Eagles quarterback Michael Vick has a broken right hand and Philly’s Dream Team is more Scream Team right now. And I’m not yet sold on the Detroit Lions.
As ugly as the 49ers have looked at times, they might have a 6-2 or 5-3 record at the halfway point this season and that’s mighty pretty in the NFC West.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

NFL -- Never Felt Longer -- offseason and preseason finally gives away to games that really matter

The National Football League season starts tonight!!!!!!!!!

Hallelujah!!! Finally. I’ve never wanted a season to begin so bad because the NFL offseason has made me so sick.

I mean the NFL analysts on TV, the talking heads with big hair and motor mouths, have been analyzing – no, overanalyzing – teams and players and coaches and draft picks and free agents and fantasy football values and what ifs ad nauseum for the past seven months without anyone playing a single game or taking a single snap that meant something.

I mean last week the lead story on the primetime ESPN SportsCenter on back-to-back nights was a preseason NFL exhibition game that doesn’t count in the standings. They were giving far more attention and coverage to meaningless exhibition games dominated by the bench players destined for special teams than baseball teams actually wrestling for the playoffs.

Why? Is ESPN trying to one-up the NFL Network? That’s my theory.

It’s absolutely ridiculous. You’ve got college football coming apart at the seams because of greedy presidents and athletic directors posturing for power conferences and ESPN is fretting about who is going to be the back-up quarterback in Kansas City?!

Enough already! Are you ready for some football? I’m ready for some football that matters. On the field and not in fantasy leagues.

I’m sorry I’m in a bad mood. I haven’t yet recovered from seeing the University of Maryland’s new football uniforms last week.

I was blindsided.

They made me forget about the wild Baylor-TCU game, Kellen Moore and Boise State, Oregon’s national championship hopes ending and lightning striking Notre Dame’s usual preseason hype.

Whose idea was it to re-design Maryland’s football uniforms? Worst idea since New Coke.

When I saw them, I didn’t think about Terrapins.
Pokemon? The Crash Dummies? Where’s Waldo? Rival gangs from the medieval times? That’s what came to my mind.

Then I asked my 13-year-old son what he thought of Maryland’s new uniforms. He liked them.

“They’re sick,” he said.

That’s a good sick as opposed to the bad sick. The difference between NCAA football and NFL football.