Thursday, September 01, 2005

Tragic Figurine

This article, "The Tragedy of '04" by Scott Stossel, is the type I know I should ignore. But it makes for good blog fodder, so here goes.

The article, written by a Red Sox fan, talks about how the team finally ending their drought is a bad thing.

Before I address the actual content of it, let me say that what immediately pisses me off is the fact that Stossel has taken a much-talked about notion and presented it as if he was the first to think of it.

For a long time prior to last season, people, mainly yankee fans and media-types, have said that the Red Sox winning the World Series would be "the worst thing to happen to Boston." Or that it would turn the Sox into "just another team."

Only to have Stossel, a Red Sox fan, come along and rehash all the same garbage, telling everyone that those theories actually are, in his mind, correct. (I guess he's a busy man, since it took ten months for him to get this article out.)

It's not like he hadn't heard these theories before last October. In his article from August 2004, he gives all the old cliches about how Sox fans are united by losing, they expect the team to lose, it's the losing that makes them lovable, bla bla bla. (Although I do admit we all used to drag that stuff up every once in a while.) So why write this new article in a way that suggests no one's ever come up with these ideas until now, or, worse, that they're real at all?

What he's done compares to a lottery-winner writing an article about what they ended up buying with the money--you don't need to win to write it.

And that's what gets me. If you did write a piece on what you'd do if you won the lottery, you'd hopefully write about the good things you'd want to experience, instead of saying that you plan on being loved only for your money, feeling like your soul got poorer while your bank got richer, and dying alone, more depressed than you ever were before the win.

People did write negative things like this, only the average Joe represented Sox fans everywhere, while the jackpot was seeing the team win the World Series. Instead of ignoring it, Stossel brings it right back. "Yes! It was all true! We hate this!"

He claims to be a true Red Sox fan. He says the Red Sox are embedded in his soul. I don't know. I read an article that refers to the 2004 World Series as the "2005 World Series," and says that the Sox won seven straight games after Game 3 of the '04 ALCS, and I feel like I'm reading material by someone who doesn't pay much attention to the Red Sox until October, if you know what I mean. (Also, does the Boston Globe have editors? I seriously wonder about this.)

Thinking maybe those were just a couple of random typos, I read that previous article of his, and noticed he said that Aaron Boone's home run went to the "left field bleachers" at yankee Stadium. Which, of course, is almost impossible, considering they're about 500 feet from home plate.

Terrible job.

Now, on to the substance of the article. I write about this stuff all the time, so you may know my opinion already: I'm happy the Red Sox won the World Series. Surprise!

So happy that my whole body tingles when I write and subsequently comprehend that sentence. Like the head of hair atop the guy in the Head & Shoulders commercial. By the way, I use Head & Shoulders and I've never felt that tingle. What am I doing wrong? Anyway, even if I did feel that, it would be nothing compared to this: (Hold on while I write this sentence.) The Red Sox, in real life, came back from down three games to zero to beat the yankees in the ALCS, before going on to sweep the World Series. Ahhh.

I know what the guy means. As I said above, I heard it all described so many times before they actually won. But the pre-2004 Red Sox weren't about losing. Well, they were, sometimes. A lot of times. A lot of really important times. But didn't we have fun? When you were little, rooting for the Red Sox, and I mean really little, did you know about the history of baseball? Did you care whether or not they'd won before? Or did you just love the team unconditionally, because that's how you were raised?

And when you learned the history, which for some of us was when we were very young, did you want the Sox to win any more or less?

Life is about tragedy, and not always getting the proverbial girl. I used to talk about this all the time. I once said on this blog that Red Sox fans are always the ones who get splashed by the car, while the yankee fans make it across the road unscathed. Well, it was something like that. And yes, the whole point of Charlie Brown missing the football is that he always misses it. But you know what? Good things do happen in life. Every once in a while--a long, long while--the sun shines right on you. Or you get every green light on your way to work. Or you find a four-leaf clover, only to get hit in the shin with a line drive against Lions later that day in your Little League game...oh, whoops. But, see? That's what I'm talking about! We didn't bond over the tragedy, we bonded over whatever the Red Sox did, just like we do now.

Jeez, you want tragedy? Just wait. Something bad will happen again. But while you're wishing for the pain of yesteryear, I'll be dancing down the streets of Manhattan with a fucking World Champion Red Sox T-shirt on!

But feel free to walk around Fenway Park with a sign that says "26-6" if it makes you feel better, and lets you hold on to your glory days. While you're at it, slap on a yankee hat, because if you can't enjoy being a Red Sox fan now, there's really no point in being one at all.

And if you're really concerned about how this changes Red Sox fans, and you just can't handle it, well, look at it this way: Aren't you at least glad that we changed yankee fans? Isn't that how your theory works? If you consider 2004 to be the worst thing to happen to us, wouldn't that mean that it was the best thing to happen to them? See how ridiculous that sounds?

Cherish this. If you can't do that for yourself, do it so that yankee fans don't get the satisfaction of seeing us depressed or intimidated by them in any way, in the one year of our lives where we've been allowed to be on top.

Don't worry about the past, or about how the Red Sox relate to religion, or how we're just another team, or any of that crap. Just keep supporting your team. They deserve it. In fact, maybe you'd think differently if you went into the Red Sox locker room and told all the guys who got us that championship that you kind of wished they'd lost, and saw the looks on their faces.

Stossel asks "What now?" Well, a few million Red Sox fans have decided to pack Fenway to root for the Red Sox, to the point where every game has sold out, despite the highest ticket prices in baseball. As well as travelling the country to see them. I almost feel like he hasn't paid attention this year, or wrote the article in November or something. Again, terrible job. But he did write a book about the Peace Corps, and I'm sure he didn't mean to piss me off. So he's got that goin' for him.

I hate when people say this, and to be honest I've only heard it from yank fans up until now. But he did write it for the globe, which pretty much only publishes negative shit about the sox anyway. If I had a paper copy of this, I would use it to wipe my ass next time I had diarrhea. What is up with newspapers that they think we want to read negative crap all the time? I mean there are plenty of things to complain about in the world without making new ones up. Or rather, pretending that it's a tragedy that we fixed a problem.

I'm glad you brought this up, jere. I would love to know how many red sox fans agree with this guy, because I don't know any. And no, I don't count Dan Shaughnessy.
Someone actually READ Dan Shaughnessy?
Exhilaration must be bothering Stossel's Conscience.


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