On Sunday I lied to my wife, but only after I lied to myself first.
“Do you have anything to do tonight?” she asked me.
“No,” I replied.
“Isn’t there a Red Sox game on?”
“Yeah,” I said, “but I’m not gonna watch it. I can’t stay up that late – it’ll be brutal on Monday. Especially if they lose.”
Official Translation of Previous Sentence: I’m watching it. It’s game 4 and the Sox are down 2-1. No [expletive deleted] way I’m missing it. Oh, and I’m staying up as late as it takes, even if the game goes 15 innings – especially if the game goes 15 innings – I’m there, baby! And if they lose I’m going to spend Monday in the fetal position on the bathroom floor, ignoring your and the kids’ pleas for me to come out.”
Mind you, I have spent the last 6 years proclaiming that the Red Sox World Series wins of 2004 and 2007 cured me of my addiction to the team and of the broader hold that all “my” teams have historically had on me. I’ve bragged that this gives me more time to pursue noble callings like reading great works of literature – The Art of Fielding was overrated, by the way – and spending more time with my family.
Apparently, however, this is only true when the Red Sox aren’t going deep into the playoffs. When that happens, I revert back to my base, lying-ass, sports-centric self.
* * *
Text Messages Between Me and My Friend Matt
10:27 PM, Sunday, October 27 (30 seconds after Jonny Gomes hits a 3-run homer to put the Sox up 4-1 in Game 4)
Me: I turned back from the Comedy Central Roast of James Franco repeat just in time. I’m torn – should I stay on the Roast for good luck?
[Sign #1 that you’re disconnected from reality: you believe that your TV viewing habits in suburban Long Island have crossed the space-time continuum to influence the trajectory of a batted ball in St. Louis, Missouri.]
Matt: I like that guy, but is he already roast worthy?? Repeat after me … Breslow, Tazawa, Uehara. [3 Red Sox relief pitchers who will presumably play an important role in the Red Sox holding this lead]
Me: The way Felix [another Red Sox reliever] is throwing, I’ll take him right to Koji [Uehara]. And yes – [Franco’s] roast-worthy. He’s a likable but self-important doofus.
Matt: Looks like u will get what u asked for … Felix coming out for the 7th.
Me: I guess [Red Sox manager John] Farrell agrees w me. Re. [Felix] Doubrant, not Franco. [I’m so witty, even when in the throes of full-on Red Sox hysteria.]
Me: Would u bring in [Game 2 and scheduled Game 6 starter John] Lackey? I’d let [reliever Junichi Tazawa] start [the 8th inning]. But looks like Lackey’s coming in.
Matt: I would not bring him in. He’d b starting game 6 for me.
Me: I’m w u. I guess [Farrell] figures w the day off before Game 6 that he can use Lackey now AND then. And u know Lackey told him he was ready to go.
[Sign #2 that you’re disconnected from reality: you state with authority that you know the conversation John Lackey had with Red Sox manager John Farrell from your sofa when you’ve neither spoken to, met, nor even seen in a transcendental vision either of those people at any time in your 44 years on planet Earth.]
Matt: As long as he’s good to go game 6 I love it! He’s a gamer and he sounds like one of the muppets.
Me: I’m sure the muppet thing played huge in Farrell’s decision. [More wit. So clever.]
Me: [After agonizing for 10 minutes about whether to send Matt the next text (See Sign #1 That You’re Disconnected From Reality, above)] Would you play [injured Sox outfielder Shane] Victorino tomorrow if he can go [assuming they hang on?] I wouldn’t.
Matt: [After agonizing for 3 minutes about whether sending a reply will alter the outcome of the game (See Sign #1 That You’re Disconnected From Reality, above)] I’m nervous partaking in this “cart in front of the horse” business … [Will Matt do it? Will he?!?] But [oh Sweet Lord, he can’t help himself]] yes I would. [And now, like an avalanche gathering force as it rumbles down the mountain face …] And I’d have [Daniel] Nava in there over [Jonny Gomes]. And I’d have Jonny foaming at the mouth for a [pinch-hit] in the 6th, 7th or 8th. [Well done, Matt! If the Sox lose, it’s now at least as much your fault as mine!]
Me: [After Cardinals pinch hitter Allen Craig hits a single off the right field fence, bringing the tying run to the plate with two outs in the bottom of the 9th.] Now we’ll see [Carlos] Beltran [bat]. Crap.
Me: [After Cardinals pinch runner Kolten Wong inexplicably gets picked off first to end the game.] Holy. [expletive deleted].
* * *
Not only do the Red Sox still matter to me, they matter so much that while racing home to see the first pitch on TV, I scour the radio dial for the pre-game broadcast. (True fact: the only station I can get them on is 1520 AM, the ESPN radio affiliate in Buffalo.) They matter to me so much that I now spend games not only watching every pitch, but dissecting the game (and James Franco) with friends via text message while it’s happening. I’ve come to believe that text messaging was actually created for exactly this purpose: sending text messages that seem really clever at the time but in retrospect aren’t between pitches in baseball games.
This is who I am. I’m coming clean and owning up to my faults right now.
Cara, yes I’m watching Game 4 tonight (Monday] even though I can barely keep my eyes open as I write this at 7:14 PM. No, I’m not going to bed at a reasonable hour. Yes, tomorrow will be ruined and I’ll be a miserable, nasty dude in the morning if they don’t win tonight.
I’m 44 and a baseball game will dictate the quality of my life over the next 24 hours. That can’t be a good thing.
The fact that a baseball game dictates the quality of my life is a great thing! As I write this on Tuesday morning I’m not a miserable nasty dude because Jon Lester threw 7 and 2/3rd brilliant innings last night while David Ortiz continued his otherworldly offensive showcase. The Sox stand one game away from clinching the World Series. The sun is out and it will be a great day today.
And Matt – since our texting obviously directly correlates to Red Sox wins, be ready Wednesday.