Friday, October 01, 2004

Greetings from Matt

Hello all,

When Jay said there would be "a good deal of Red Sox ramblings," on this blog, he was referring (in part) to me. I've been a fan since '82, and have been following my team up close and personal since my migration to the Olde Towne itself for school in'91. This year's edition has been the most volatile and intriguing since I've been in the city. Remember how excited we were about this team in April? Remember how fed up we were with this team by Mid-June? Not that long ago, say late August, there was a nearly unprecedented swagger that went with rooting for these guys. Now? Well, I'm still confident about our chances, albeit less stridently so.

How confident, you ask? This confident: it doesn't matter who we draw, in the first or any round. I know, I know, this takes the vicarious fun out of the truly enticing pennant race out west. Some of us Sox fans want the A's to regroup because we think we've got their number. Some of us hope the Angels sweep in so that they can bury the Yankees while we get fat and sassy off the non-Santana portion of the Twins menu. These arguments, these eye narrowing, minutiae juggling feats of prognostication, are part of the fun of following a sport that happens every day. I don't want to underestimate that kind of thrill.

Seriously, though. It doesn't matter. If this team is what we hope it is, it will beat whoever it has to beat, no matter where the games are played, no matter how they have to be played to be won. To be honest, I've never felt this way about a Red Sox team. I didn't feel this way about the '86 bunch, which could have easily been derailed by the Angels before Mookie Wilson got his chance to start a one-man memorabilia industry. I didn't feel this way about the '95 team, exhibit A of "Lightning in a Bottle" for those of us not old enough to remember '67. I felt a touch of this about the '99 squad, but only on the days Pedro had the ball. I didn't even feel this way about last year's delightful and entertaining bunch. Did I think they could win? Sure. Did I think they should win? Well, put it like this: was Derek Lowe getting the last out with the bases loaded in Oakland your blueprint for how to win that series? If this team is what we hope it is, it should win. Don't Vladi me any Guerreros, don't Albert me any Pujolses, and don't nineteen me any eighteens, you pinstriped, leather-lunged recreants from the Bronx.

In one week, I could be shaking my head and trying to get interested in football. In two weeks, I could be arranging a little accident for Terry Francona before he lets Mike Myers pitch to Gary Sheffield. In three weeks, I could be thrusting my fists against the posts and insisting I don't see Bob Gibson's ghost. In four weeks, I could be curled up in the fetal position on the tracks of the Green Line.

I don't think so, though. I think Manny and Schilling and 'Tek and Pedro and Trot and Big Papi have other ideas. And this year, they can make it stick.


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