Growing Up Is About Letting Go
It happened earlier than it usually does.
Being a fanatical Red Sox fan, there’s usually five to seven times each season when I will just throw up my hands (after throwing up) and boycott all broadcasts of my team for the indefinite future. They tend to come in June when the pennant races normally heat up, or in August when they begin to sort out.
This time it was yesterday, April 17th. Tied 1-1 in the last of the 11th of a rain-suspended home game with Tampa Bay, the Sox had the bases loaded, nobody out, the hittable Lance Cormier on the hill and David Ortiz at the plate. Joe Maddon had even obliged by bringing one of his three outfielders in to play the infield. All Big Papi had to do was put the ball in the air, preferably to the outfield. He couldn’t. Nor could Beltre, who rapped into an inning-ending double play minutes later.
The channel was changed instantaneously, never to return. I didn’t care if they were going to win it in 15 or 20 innings, like the Mets would do hours later in St. Louis. All I knew was that I’ve become too old for this wretched disappointment, and was through watching a team certain to anger me repeatedly for the five or six months.
The Red Sox won their two titles in four years to forever change my belief of what is possible. But it’s very old news already. The Yankees have reloaded again and apparently seem to be making the smart general managing decisions they’ve been lacking for a while, meaning they’ll probably be at the top of the heap for a long time. The Rays have five times the energy Boston does with half the age in their lineup, and even Toronto has improved.
So what can I do for 2010? Spend the season moping and whining day in and day out, or take advantage of my satellite baseball package and hook up with a more entertaining team? The Phillies are phun, the Giants are an early surprise and play in my state. I love the Twins’ new ball park and who can’t root for Mauer and Morneau?
Sure, the Red Sox will forever be in my New England blood, but I have no guilt about booting them out of my mind to get me through the day and most of the year. Our grand old game has endless possibilities on each and every April, but who says you don’t have a right to the same optimism every day of the season?
My first marriage lasted just a year and a half. My wife was a sweet lady but probably should’ve just remained a good friend. See, she was a lot like my mother, and the thing I learned is that sometimes when you marry and divorce early in your adulthood, it’s like saying goodbye to your mother once and for all. Well, thanks Big Mami. You just made that easy for me.
You can find more of Jeff Polmanâ€™s work at http://1924andyouarethere.blogspot.com/ where he conducted a fascinating replay of the 1924 season, or at http://funkyball.wordpress.com, where he’s doing the same thing with 1977.