Having missed the Red Sox entirely in 2011 — a first since either 2000 or 1998, I’m not sure — today I celebrated the 4th of July by heading across the Bay to watch Boston take on the A’s. And the thing I realized? I’m so over the Red Sox. 2004 was amazing, 2007 was still pretty fun, but now? The only guy left on the team I still like is the only one left from 2004: Big Papi. As such, I wore my A’s jersey and my David Ortiz hat (with the big 34) and wound up happy: Ortiz hit his 400th career homerun and scored the Red Sox other win after his 1000th career walk, but ultimately the A’s won the game 3-2. Brandon Moss was a triple away from the cycle and Coco Crisp picked up the slack with a triple in the 7th that turned into the winning run.
No better way to celebrate the USA than by spending the afternoon watching the National Pastime… and then coming home to catch the Twins-Verlander… uh, I mean Twins-Tigers… game on TV. And now I’m off to watch some fireworks with the roommate.
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Last night was one heckuva a night for baseball. The Red Sox finished their epic collapse while the Rays came back from 7-0 against the Yankees to snatch the AL Wild Card from the jaws of the Sox. In the National League… same story. The Cardinals won and just needed the Braves to lose, which took 13 innings to happen, but it happened.
And in Minnesota, in a game few people but Twins fans cared about, the Twins avoided 100 losses with a 1-0 win over the Royals on the backs of a complete game shutout by Carl Pavano and 9th inning heroics by Denard Span and Trevor Plouffe. It was a nice farewell to John Gordon… I wasn’t listening on the radio, but I hope he missed calling a few plays just for old times sake.
Good baseball tends to bring out good writing, and Joe Posnanski has some of the best. The entire article is worth reading, but his final paragraphs describing why it is that people love baseball is worth quoting.
Baseball, like life, revolves around anticlimax. That’s what you get most of the time. You stand in driver’s license lines, and watch Alfredo Aceves shake off signals, and sit through your children’s swim meets, and see bases loaded rallies die, and fill up your car’s tires with air and endure an inning with three pitching changes, a sacrifice bunt and an intentional walk.
But then, every now and again, something happens. Something memorable. Something magnificent. Something staggering. Your child wins the race. Your team wins in the ninth. You get pulled over for speeding. And in that moment — awesome or lousy — you are living something you will never forget, something that jumps out of the toneless roar of day-to-day life.
The Braves failed to score. Papelbon blew the lead. Longoria homered in the 12th. Elation. Sadness. Mayhem. Champagne. Sleepless fury. Never been a night like it. Funny, if I was trying to explain baseball to someone who had never heard of it, I wouldn’t tell them about Wednesday night. No, it seems to me that it isn’t Wednesday night that makes baseball great. It’s all the years you spend waiting for Wednesday night that makes baseball great.