Friday, October 08, 2004

One Red Sox Fan's Response

(See Jay's post just below for the question.)

It's Fenway Park, September 2001, and David Cone is pitching the game of his brief Red Sox career. He's on the hill in a scoreless tie in the eighth, with runners at the corners and one out. It doesn't look good, but he's battling. And then something marvelous happens. Cone gets a ground ball right to second. It's an easy double play, and he's out of the inning.

Wait, no. No, he's not. See, the second baseman is Lou Merloni, and the other team is the Yankees. Lou is from Framingham, MA, and so not only a Red Sox utility infielder but also a lifelong fan of the team that he plays for. The excitement of starting the double play that will preserve a scoreless tie AGAINST THE YANKEES is too much for Lou. It's not just a ground ball. It's a chance for Lou, in his own small way, to give Bucky Dent the finger. He boots the grounder, and the winning run in a 1-0 game crosses the plate.

What's my point? Lou's not alone. All of us, mostly fans but even occasionally the players, get caught up in who's in the other dugout instead of just focusing on the task at hand. The task at hand in October of 2004 is winning the World Series. Period.

If the Red Sox show up in the League Championship Series and the Yankees don't, that's not Boston's problem. Yankees fans might think so, but if you care even a little bit about what any Yankees fan thinks about anything ever, you're not a Red Sox fan. At least, not a good one. If the Yankees show up in the League Championship Series after all, it's still not Boston's problem. More precisely, the Yankees showing up is not really a different problem from the Twins showing up. There are still four games to be won, and then four games to be won. Who's in the way is ultimately irrelevant. That's how I see it, anyway.


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