Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Prep work 

Weather forecast: check

Are they nervous?

They should be.

First meditation

Interlude: Those of us who follow the Sawx, the C's and the B's, and the Pats (though I confess to being a Giants fan from the Y.A. Tittle days) have long known of a guy called BSG, or Boston Sports Guy. He now has left Boston, taken his real name -- Bill Simmons -- and made a career for himself as a writer. But he is a true Sox fan, and his last two posts on ESPN's Page 2 are absolutely wonderful. About Schilling and last night's game:
Over the next few days, everyone will make a big deal about Schilling's Game 6, only some for the right reasons. We live in a sports world where every good moment gets beaten into the ground. It isn't enough for something to happen anymore. You have to vote. You have to watch two guys screaming on a split-screen. You have to read 400 columns, then columns by people reviewing those columns. You have to hear sports radio hosts screaming, and once the subject becomes exhausted, one of them takes a crazy angle on the topic just to keep the phone lines ringing for another hour. It keeps going and going, a vicious little snowball. When it runs out of steam, something else replaces it, and the whole cycle starts all over again.

I don't want the Schilling Game to fall into that. I don't want to hear someone claiming that he "wasn't that hurt," or that it "doesn't matter if they don't win Game 7," or even that Schilling was "milking the moment." You're not taking this away from me.
Someone asked me today if it would be better to lose tonight than to go to the World Series and lose there. I looked at that person dumbly. Lose? Lose?

The classic move would be for the Sox to come back, win three games in a row, then lose the climactic 7th game. But this isn't a classic Red Sox team. The old Red Sox would have blown Game 4 or Game 5, and they definitely would have choked in Game 6. With the old Red Sox, Bellhorn's homer gets ruled a double, A-Rod definitely gets called safe at first base, and Miguel Cairo clears the bases for the game-winner in the ninth.

Here's the point: Those things haven't been happening. Sometimes you pass a point where history becomes a factor -- like with the Patriots three years ago, when the diehards kept waiting for the Other Shoe to drop, and we were waiting and waiting, and suddenly Vinatieri's final kick split the uprights, the most liberating feeling you can imagine. That's the thing about baggage as a sports fan -- you can shed this stuff. You just need a few breaks. This Boston team is getting them.

OK. Meditation two.

Breathe in, breathe out.