After staying up late to fully enjoy the joyful clichés gushing from the Red Sox in the visiting clubhouse and sharing the celebration with an extra “Little Debbie treat,” this morning, it hits me: “They’re damn lucky they beat the Rays last night, or else…”
“They don’t know how lucky they are. They could have run into that tree.
Got struck by a bolt of lightning…”
[John Prine, "The Accident."]
What was at stake was not just a matter of the Rays knotting the series at 2-2 and off we go to Fenway to win the rubber match.
If Peavy had not been near-perfect, allowing just one run and the “Bridge to Closer”–composed of a series of linked lucky leprechaun arms to that newly-ordained Irish closer “Huey O’Hara,” things could have broken very bad for the Sox on Friday.
While the smart money reptiles at the Sports’ books would still have made the Sox the favorite, by 1.5 runs to win the deciding game, many would have gone “OFF,” begged off, and not taken bets on the game.
Baseball is a complicated game of leverages, strengths, “holes” in the batting order, borderline DL pains, individual biorhythms and, as the accidental collision of the bat of Ray’s catcher Lobaton’s low baton with the well-placed pitch by Uehara proved, dumb luck.
When asked to name his favorite word in English, pitcher Joaquin Andujar replied “Ju-nebber-no.” And indeed, with any single baseball game: you never really know.
The NFL games are weekly wars that are far more predictable than the individual baseball game. There is rarely a different quarterback [starting pitcher] to factor in and only occasionally does the another QB take over the controls [relief pitcher] and, despite all that PR hype “on any given Sunday” and the actual leveling of the competition in the NFL, the majority of games are no-brainers to pick a winner; that is why they give 1-17, or more, points to the underdog, when you try to donate your money to legally-organized crime.
Now that the Rays have been dispatched, in the long-standing tradition of long-time Sox fans, let us contemplate the abyss of what might have happened in a game 5 at Fenway.
With the travel day, both Matt Moore and David Price would have been well rested and out to avenge their previous starts.
Could we honestly say that we liked the Sox chances in a game where the Rays opened with Moore AND Price? The Sox would counter with Lester and Lackey in that single game; then, it would be a match-up between the rest of the two teams pitching staffs.
In that ugly scenario, a string of zeroes on the Fenway board for the home nine, possibly matched for several innings by the Boston staff, until one pitcher blinks; maybe Dempster walks a guy and there’s a passed ball, wild pitch, or straight steal of second.
Suddenly, it’s the 8th inning with a Ray in scoring position and seasoned Sox fans start having Bill Buckner flashbacks and that familiar rush of shit to the heart.
But, enough! There was no game 5; the Sox are moving on.
Yet, have patience with those Sox fans on Social Security and Medicare, who were alive and suffered through the Bucky Dent Bunt Home Run, the Buckner Croquet Shot, the 7th game of the Sox “Incredible Dream” 1967 World Series and other crushing traumas that have engendered a kind of “Sawks PTSD.”
Give these poor souls and all the souls of the Sox fans now departed your compassion, until they are no longer so neurotic that they experience “post victory worrying” and allow the joys of Ben Cherington’s “Next Great Red Sox Team” to “over-write” their decades of pessimism and loyal suffering.
So that, someday, they will stand side-by-side with the yoot of Red Sox Nation and be able to–confidently–yell: GO SAWKS !!!
VIDEO: [John Prine, "The Accident."] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ewIse6lNjro