I’m a huge Red Sox fan. You all know this, or at least you should.
So last night was Game 5 of the playoffs against Tampa Bay and the Sox were on the brink of elimination. Then the game started and elimination was all but certain. I watched until the end of the 6th inning with the Sox trailing 5-0. And from what I had seen from the previous four games, I didn’t think there was a chance in hell for my favorite baseball team. Tampa had younger, stronger, faster players and their pitching was dynamite. The Sox were missing Mike Lowell and our best pitcher, Josh Beckett, is clearly hurt and not himself.
In short, it was over. And since I was freaking exhausted from a particularly long day with Will, I gave up on the season and went to bed.
Then my phone rang shortly before midnight. I answered it sleepily and my heart jumped into my throat when I heard the sound of my father’s excited voice. I could only make out every couple of words because I was shaking off the sleep and he was babbling incoherently, but it sounded like:
“OH MY GOD…COMEBACK…PAPI’S HOMER…TIE GAME!”
The last one sat me straight up in bed.
“Did you say tie game Dad?”
“YEAH, IT’S A TIE GAME 7-7. THEY WERE DOWN 7-0 IN THE 7TH INNING WITH TWO OUTS. AREN’T YOU WATCHING??!?!”
I hung up and raced to the living room to watch the game. And he wasn’t screwing with me. The Red Sox had done the unthinkable and come back from 7 runs down with two outs in the 7th freaking inning! They ended up completing the comeback and winning when J.D. Drew hit a ground rule double to bring in the winning run.
As happy as I was, I also felt great shame. I had committed the cardinal sin of giving up hope and giving in to exhaustion. I had abandoned the Sox when I thought they were left for dead. In the past that NEVER would’ve happened, and all of a sudden I was mad.
But I was mad at Will.
You see, I haven’t been able to watch many games this year. Usually I catch 90% of the 162 games the Sox play every year not counting the playoffs. But Will was born at the very start of the season, and when you’re taking care of a new baby there isn’t much time for anything else. So this is the first year in many years that I haven’t followed every pitch. And truthfully, I feel like I’ve been separated from an old friend. Like we haven’t been talking and we’ve drifted apart. It’s not because we don’t have fun hanging out anymore, but life just got in the way. And even when I was able to watch, I was fighting not to fall asleep because between work and Will, I’m damn tired.
And yesterday was nuts because MJ was called into work unexpectedly and so we had to scramble in taking care of Will. Long story short, it was exhausting trying to make everything work and my eyelids were heavy during the game. So I gave up and went to bed. And in doing so I missed the greatest postseason comeback in 79 years. I missed an ESPN instant classic and a game that people will be talking about forever!
It’s not often that I pine for my old life and resent my new one, but I have to admit I felt that way for a little while last night. I know that sounds horrible, but it’s true. I used to follow the Red Sox on a daily basis and engage in chat room debates about the lineup, the starting rotation, managerial decisions, etc. I lived and breathed this team and even kept a blog devoted solely to them. But this year I had to ditch that blog because I didn’t watch enough games to be able to talk about things intelligently. And I miss that.
Now the Sox play Game 6 in Tampa on Saturday, when I’ll be working. Blech. But if they can win and force a Game 7 on Sunday, you better believe I’m having me a boys night somewhere to watch the game. Because Game 7 in baseball is an event never to be missed. When a loss to either team means going home for the winter. There are no more spoiled athletes in Game 7, just a bunch of men acting like boys consumed with winning at all costs. You see crazy things happen in Game 7 that would never ordinarily occur. Starters pitch in relief and on short rest. Every at-bat is a life or death situation. If baseball fans were junkies, Game 7 would be the ultimate high they’d do anything for.
I still can’t believe I missed the comeback, but you can bet your ass I won’t miss another one.