Thursday, November 04, 2004

The first sign that pigs might fly

As I promised earlier, I'd write more about the Sox winning the World Series. But before getting to the postseason and post-victory postmortem, I thought I might mention the moment when I first started believing that this might really be the year the Red Sox pulled it off.

It was the bottom of the eighth inning at Fenway during those heady days in August and early September when the Sox started their amazing second-half comeback. With the Sox comfortably up, Dave Roberts was at the plate, and after one strike (or maybe even two strikes) finally connects with the ball and hits a line drive--straight into his own dugout. Replays in the dugout show everyone just hanging out until all of a sudden everyone ducks for cover as the missile comes in.

So, now (definitely) with two strikes, Roberts connects with the next pitch, too, and hits another line drive--again, into his own dugout. The reaction shot this time is priceless: after another "duck and cover," Roberts is shown with a goofy grin registering an expression something between "Oops, sorry about that, guys" and "Oh man, they're going to put Icy-Hot in my drawers tomorrow." Meanwhile, the characters in the dugout edge out onto the field with an array of reactions. Ramirez and Ortiz are laughing and asking "What's going on, man?" Others are helpfully indicating to Roberts in what direction fair territory lies, and yet others looked as if they were dreaming up an appropriate "thank you" for scaring the living daylights out of them twice in two pitches.

I suppose it's an odd moment to choose as the defining one, but in this case, for the first time that I can remember, it really showed that Boston had a team, and not just an assemblage of talented, well-paid baseball players. More importantly, this motley crew of hair-obsessed hooligans were playing the game like a bunch of twelve-year-olds. Their sheer enthusiasm and devil-may-care attitude was infectious for their fans, and was probably what allowed them to ignore little things like 86 years of frustration and disappointment.

I hope it's something that they can preserve in the years to come.


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