Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Wait 'til next year!

"It's weeks like this that I miss my grandfather, and he's been dead since 1965. Unfiltered Camels and quart-bottles of Narragansett Lager finally got him one afternoon in the parking lot of the sign-painting company he owned in downtown Worcester, Massachusetts. (There's an arena on that spot now. His old shop was right about where the visitor's locker room was.) Old Charlie Gibbons was the guy who taught me how to watch baseball, specifically Red Sox baseball, specifically bad Red Sox baseball. He had seen so very much of it."
His memory dovetails nicely with my mom's description of my great-grandfather, mostly deaf in both ears, holding transistor radios up to both ears while cursing them for their ineptitude.  While the past decade has been amazing in terms of winning, being a Sox fan is about a bit more than just winning through big payrolls.  It's about the memories- remembering the good, complaining about the bad, relishing the obscure (anyone else remember Arquimedez Pozo and Bob Zupcic?).  After the Sox went 1-9 at Fenway Park with me in attendance this season, I agree completely with Charles P. Pierce's piece in Grantland (10/03/12), especially this passage:
  "And I don't want to hear anything about rebuilding that most noxious of all marketing department curses — "The Brand." Sooner or later, you realize that no matter how many things you can find to commemorate, The Brand is simply whether you win or not. Stop losing, and your Brand is all bright and shiny again.
So, I rather enjoyed the second half of this Red Sox season. I was reminded of all the afternoons I spent with my grandfather, watching lousy baseball while, bit by bit, he drank and smoked himself into the Beyond. Those were good days, and isn't that what the baseball people tell us the game is all about? Generations, sitting together, watching players bumble and stumble while the old folks teach the young'uns new and exciting curse words? Let Ken Burns set that to banjo music. I'll be in the Parakeet Bar, waiting for the show to begin."
When your manager falls off his bicycle while reading texts, can you be surprised at the results?  I'll be back next year, no matter the team, no matter the status of the 'sellout streak.'  It's baseball, and it's Fenway Park.  There's no better place to spend a baseball season, despite the ineptitude of the ownership and management.

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