Okay, I’m just going to try to regain a vocabulary here. But I am in a mood where words are inadequate.
I went to Liberty Cafe, in Hoboken (otherwise known as “Sheila’s home away from home for the last week and a half”). David and Maria were joining me. I scored bar stools for all of us. We had a perfect spot. Perfect. David was in full Red Sox regalia, head to toe.
I’m sorry – I have forgotten how to write.
The same crowd was there … the crowd I have gotten to know by sight over the last couple of years.
Above our head was a massive skylight. Through that, we watched the moon turn red, and then disappear.
I mean – you just can’t script something like that: A blood-red moon, a lunar eclipse, seen through a skylight of a bar where there are huddled 100 insane Red Sox fans watching the historic moment of a World Series sweep??… You just couldn’t script it.
I have screamed myself hoarse. I am hung over. I can’t calm my brain down. Maria and I were handed free glasses of champagne when we won.
It was utter mayhem. We were out of our minds. I still get a bit choked up thinking about it. David – screaming – screaming – text messaging – screaming – Maria with her hand over her mouth – and then suddenly LOSING it.
I wish I had taken notes during the game. I’ll just babble some thoughts.
— D-Lowe: As much as I have always had affection for you, I have to admit I doubted you quite a bit this season. You seemed a bit mental, too emotional … I would watch the bright pink spots come out on your cheeks, watch you blow out your breath in a huff, and think: Uh-oh. He’s cracking. He’s a headcase, his psyche is delicate … Uhm – Derek, I owe you a big fat apology.
— When Lowe came back to the dugout after his amazing feat … there was this shot … of Pedro Martinez hugging him. Did anyone else see that? The hug went on and on and on, Derek actually stopped the hug … in that way that you do sometimes (“Okay. Nice hug, but now it should be ending now…”) – but Pedro, with this huge grin on his face, didn’t let go. Would not let go. We all saw that moment – David, Maria, and I. I said, “Wow. That is extraordinary. Look at how this group of men have bonded. They are a TEAM.” I mean, I have known that this was true, but it was the Pedro-hug-that-wouldn’t-end moment that made it real for me.
— Uhm … the constant shots of Red Sox fans in bars in New York and LA? Lame. Freakin’ lame.
— I absolutely loved the lunatic shot at the press conference afterwards, when they’re trying to talk to Bud Selig or someone … and a drenched Pedro wanders into the camera shot, with this huge grin on his face, holding the trophy … and then wanders out again. I loved that.
— I still kind of can’t get past the mayhem that erupted after Foulke’s underhanded throw to Mientkiewicz at first … I keep going back to it. Re-living it. I can’t help it – it continues to unfurl in my mind’s eye like a beautiful movie on replay. It was spectacular. I mean … I guess I never really believed that I would ever have that moment, that it would ever be ME going nuts in October … People were out of their minds. There was one guy across the bar from us who looked like a traveling preacher from The Apostle or something. He was a young kid with a buzz cut, but he just stood there – for about 10 minutes – arms up in the air … head thrown back … occasionally shaking his head … occasionally putting one hand over his eyes … but standing frozen … like he was about to preach fire and brimstone. Like he was having a revelation from above or something. He was completely overcome.
— Here is what I noticed, during the mayhem (I only notice this in looking back on it): The crowd at the bar was erupting in waves, the waves breaking, receding, pulling back, and then pounding the shore again. Nobody was doing the same thing at the same time … there were multiple waves, all having their own arcs and peaks … so at any given moment when you looked around the bar you could see:
1. People jumping up and down like maniacs
2. People huddled over their cell phones
3. People sitting quietly with their hands over their mouths, or up on the sides of their cheeks, staring up at the TV, quietly. In awe. Disbelief.
And we ALL went through each ONE of these phases … but at different times. Waves breaking, pulling back, sucking at the shore, gathering strength, and then crashing in again …
I was jumping up and down like a maniac. Hugging strangers. Jumping, screaming, jumping. Then I would grab David’s phone and call someone, quickly. Huddling into the phone against the mayhem, screaming a couple of words at the person on the other line. Hanging up. And then it would hit me on a whole deeper level, and I would have to sit down, quietly, with my hand over my mouth, staring up at the TV.
As I’m jumping up and down, Maria sits in stunned silence, staring at the TV, while David screams into his cell phone. Then David hangs up, sits down in stunned silence, and suddenly Maria is the one on the phone, while I’m still jumping up and down. Then David starts jumping up and down, and Maria is on the phone, and I’m staring up at the TV quietly …
This kind of trade-off of different emotional states happened with the entire crowd – over and over and over – for about 35 minutes.
— I can’t even look at Curt Schilling without wanting to … cry? Yes. But also molest him. (Lovingly, of course.) I just want to do something for that guy. He came to this team with a single focus. He adapted to the team, yes, he accepted what it meant … he was embraced by Boston, he was ubiquitous in the chat rooms and call-in shows … he embraced Boston – but at the same time, he did not accept all the stupid curse baggage that came with it. This guy … this guy … I don’t mean to lay the ENTIRE victory at his feet – but he certainly deserves the lion’s share.
That’s the great thing, though – and I heard this comment on the radio this morning too – there were any number of guys on the Red Sox who could have been MVP. I thought it would be Ortiz, but there were many others, too. This was a team. A group. The sum is greater than all the parts. Or something like that.
I still don’t know how to speak about this.
— David turned to me at one point, during the mayhem afterwards, and shouted, “WE WILL NEVER FORGET ANY OF THESE MEN – NONE OF THEM – WE WILL REMEMBER THEIR NAMES FOREVER.”
— And during the mayhem … the TVs are still blasting … and one commercial came on … a commercial that obviously they only would have run if the Red Sox had won. I do not even know what the hell it was for. But the shot was of 4 Boston fans, sitting in the stands at Fenway … with a rolling scroll of dates beneath … starting with 1918. And as the dates scroll … you watched the people morph, and change. You watched the 1920s fashions morph into 1930s fashions … you watched the hairdos change … you watched people come and go … and the dates kept scrolling … The faces were elated, the faces were grumpy, the faces were excited, or devastated … 1970s fashion now … 1980s … 1990s … and finally … the last shot had the date 2003 underneath … and there were 4 old guys sitting there … (I think it was 4 men, I don’t know) … 4 white-haired old gents … watching their team play … 2003. How long those gentlemen have waited … and then the screen went to black, and the date showed, large: 2004. Anyway, that was a long-ass description of that commercial. But there was a kind of nostalgic music playing, a sweet tender music … and as I watched the dates change, and the faces change, and as I thought about my grandfather, my uncles, my aunts, my cousins … I thought about Boston as a whole … so much of my own childhood tied up with this team … Silly, I know, but I didn’t shed a tear until I saw that commercial. Suddenly – watching that commercial – it hit me what had actually happened. And then I was standing there, with tears rolling down my face.
Tears of happiness, sure, but also tears of relief. We did it. After all these damn years, we did it. We hung with our team, we got beat, we got our hearts broke, we had to endure taunts, smug petty taunts, we had to be taunted with a stupid Curse that I don’t even believe in … Generations pass down the allegiance. I know it was the case in my family.
Relief that we did it, but also great great joy and pride in HOW we did it. In HOW it happened.
A sweep? What?? Beating the Yankees in their own damn stadium? What?
And to win that series through the strength of our PITCHING … The Cardinals obviously have some of the best players in the league. But they could not get past our ranks of pitchers.
— I came home (had left the cell phone at home, because I’m an idiot) – and there were 15 incoherent messages on my phone. One after the other after the other. “AHHHHHH” “YEE-HAW” Wild cackles of laughter. My brother screaming: “WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP!” I listened to all of them, standing in my quiet apartment, it’s 1 in the morning, I’m drunk, but my head is buzzing, my blood pumping with adrenaline … and I felt connected. I felt connected with all of them.
— And all the players continuously thanking US … We all kept cheering and losing it whenever any of them acknowledged “Boston fans” – as though they were literally talking to us face to face, personally. “He means me!! He’s talking about me!!”
— Johnny Damon. Holy moly. You know what strikes me about him, besides his Grizzly Adams/Jesus general hot-ness? How un-attached he seems. By that I mean: he goes up there, with very little drama, and just does what he needs to do. You don’t see him LINGER in moments. Home run? Run around the bases, move on. Next play. Strike out? Oh well, move on. His face reveals nothing (unlike the Derek Lowe nervous-boy face which made me so anxiety-stricken all summer … Derek Lowe has seemed TOO attached – like his entire self-esteem and happiness and self-worth rest on his success … But again: I OWE HIM A BIG FAT APOLOGY for doubting him.) Damon seems to just get the job done, and move on. LOVE that man.
I can’t seem to stop talking now.
I know I’m writing badly. But my head hurts and my brain is spinning and I just don’t care.
— Most of all, I am so thrilled that – if I couldn’t watch that momentous game with my family – I got to watch it with David and Maria. I’ll never ever in my life forget last night.
How do you say Thank you to these guys? How do you say … THANK YOU?? DO THEY HEAR ME?
I’m beside myself.