I was trying to explain things to Iain today, being that he's a strict baseball fan. He didn't even know who Mike Vanderjagt is, God bless him (and I almost didn't want to spoil his innocence).
So I explained. "It would be like...if the Sox won three of the last five World Series, and it had all come down to saves by Keith Foulke every time, and then all of a sudden the Red Sox wouldn't pay him and he went to the Yankees.
"And then everyone was talking about who was going to be our closer now, and people were like...well...Kyle Farnsworth is available."
Except even that analogy isn't very apt, since there are some people in the world, anywhere, who actually like Kyle Farnsworth. This cannot be said about Mike Vanderjagt, whose name nonetheless comes up frighteningly often in talk about who will replace Vinatieri. Whenever it does, though I am not religious, I make the sign of the cross.
What a nightmare this is. I mean, it's obvious Belichick knows what he's doing. And it has been pointed out that Vinatieri has slipped a little, that he's had back problems and may be on the downside. Another theory is, yes, Adam's been key for us but maybe we want to redo the team so that it doesn't always come down to a field goal--we get a touchdown instead and never miss him. The bottom line, in the end, is that if there was ever a FO that had the unquestioning faith of its fans, it's the Patriots of this era. And so forth.
So while you'd think I'd been inured to pain by being a Red Sox fan, I find that this is entirely different, trickier territory. At least when something awful happens with the Red Sox, you can have a good whinge--you've earned it. With the Patriots, even if there is reason to caterwaul, it's still looking three of five in the mouth. You're stuck--and so far, the general response from Patriots Nation has been a kind of stifled "Huurk."
After I'd explained it all to him, Iain's response was: "This feels like the valley of the shadow of death - too much all at once.
"I think this is one of the unconscious reasons why I only now follow one sport," he added. "I don't think I could take this kind of grief on several fronts at the same time."
It's not so bad as all that. As I will continue to stress here, Patriots fans have been obscenely lucky so far this decade. In all, what I really find most unsettling is that, for so long, us dual sporters have been relying on the Patriots for consistency, as a balm for pain from the Sox. You could always kind of take them for granted. Not so much now--and with a lot of things still up in the air in Sox Nation, it's not hard to imagine being in a sports-fan lake of fire by this summer, with noplace to turn.
"Maybe the Sox will now be a balm to Patriots pain," Iain pointed out hopefully.
But that's just...that would be like I'd have to get used to the idea that up was down and black was white.
And if this douchebag shows up in a Patriots uniform next season...well...then it might be time to deploy the emergency cyanide capsule.