How Do You Like Them Apples?
The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides, by the inequities of the selfish, and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed are those who, in the name of charity and justice, shepherd the weak through the valley of darkness. For he is truly his brother's keeper, and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger--those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers! And you will know my name is the Lord, when I lay my vengeance upon thee!
There are the usual caveats about strength of schedule and the folly of predicting playoff spots with such a logjam of contending teams. There are the usual doubts, superstitions and intrigue surrounding our incorrigble Red Sox.
But from a moment-by-moment basis, this weekend's series against the Blue Jays was utterly enjoyable from beginning to end. Forget the sourpuss, "It's the Blue Jays, we should be beating up on them..." Prior to The Trade (tm), even the Blue Jays were not a sure thing, even for Curt Schilling, who had stumbled to an 0-2 record against them.
Forget about the fact that the Blue Jays have scored a grand total of eleven runs in the last two weeks, or that they're dead last in the American League East and will probably stay there, counting the calendar hash marks on the wall left by the Devil Rays. Not forever--but just for a moment, consider the performances that the Red Sox put together in the past two days.
First there was the re-born Timlin, looking like a crazed workplace shooter as he gunned his way out of a bases-loaded situation on Tuesday. His primal hollering as he headed back to the dugout is all you can hope to see while watching a ballgame.
Then there was last night. Curt Schilling was out for blood, and with his 6.6 inning, 1-run performance, the appropriate soundtrack for the Red Sox went from early Metallica to Death Row Records.
One particularly memorable camera shot during the game followed Curt as he paced around the mound, spitting nails and muttering after Johnny Damon committed another dome-induced blunder in center field. The camera stayed focused on Curt's furious face, but the blur of the background showed that he was stalking around the infield like a tiger taunted with a huge hunk of fresh meat. If he could have gunned down his own teammate with the power of his eyeballs alone, it looked like he probably would have. As it was, though, laser vision has yet to be perfected, and so he turned back around and poured all his rage into his pitches against the hapless Blue Jays, going all Hannibal Lecter on their sorry asses for another few innings before his appetite for vengeance was sated.
Ain't nothin' but a gangsta party.
Places I wish I'd been #32429: At a window seat table in the restaurant at Skydome, as Manny Ramirez' rocket of a home run came screaming off the field to smash against the glass. What a glorious piece of serendipity it must have been to be that person (regardless of whether they appreciated it).
Moment to moment, it was among the best series I'd seen all year from the Sox. And, really, moment to moment is the only way to really deal with the Sox in August. In that way, they have much in common with the view outside the window, as mornings and evenings take on a breath of winter air; as the high-noon daylight turns steadily toward a deep sepia tone; as the sun dies the death of the nightengale every evening; in other words, as fall declares itself over New England.
What is to come for both the hometown team and the hometown weather are inevitable. Inexorable. What will happen will happen, be it October heartbreak or vicious winter nor'easters. In just a few short weeks, we'll bow our heads to a crueler wind.
But for now, drink in each second, each exotic color hanging from tree branches, each filthy changeup from Pedro Martinez, each late-summer cerulean sky; each rainbow streaked across it by Manny Ramirez. Win or lose, mild winter or Mother Nature on Midol, it'll all be over much too soon.