For non-New Yorkers, it’s irritating. For New Englanders, it’s abrasive. For me—Bostonian, baseball lover, devout Red Sox fan—this is the absolute worst thing that has ever happened in my whole entire life.
You, New York, have taken the World Series away from me. The last few years were bad enough—my only pleasure dwelling in that thin slice of hope that the Yanks might lose. But this, this is a whole different ballgame. Now there’s no one left to root for. My favorite event of the year, and I can’t even watch! Why? For fear that rising bile will eat clean through my heart.
How do I resent thee? Let me count the ways.
1.Roger Clemens. The thought of you with another ring, in the Hall as a Yankee, shedding the choker label, going out a winner … I need a moment to collect myself. Where was your 15-strikeout, complete game performance in ‘86? You couldn’t close out Game 6, you wuss!
2.Jose Canseco. The thought of you with another ring, bathing in Yankee camaraderie (because there wasn’t enough time to become a cancer on the clubhouse), celebrating beneath your laughable haircut … I need another moment. What happened in ‘95 during your forgettable stint with the Sox? You went 0 for the playoffs, you meathead!
3.Derek Jeter. OK, not much bad to say. But watching you rack up rings and celebrity galpals while the slightly more talented Nomar Garciaparra plays second fiddle … it’s like Williams and DiMaggio all over again! I hope future championships feel hollow because you’ve grown so accustomed to winning, you attractive and personable young man!
4.The Yankees in general. We all know the history here. But I wish the Yankees would take lessons from a classy franchise like the Celtics. After dominating professional basketball for decades, the Celts have politely stepped aside, with no intention of winning anything at all for the foreseeable future and beyond. They’re granting some less fortunate clubs a long-awaited day in the sun. The Yanks were never this gracious.
5.The Mets. Mookie, Buckner … I need yet another moment. If not for ‘86, they’d be the lesser of two evils. Sadly, they are no less evil. A (non-Bostonian) friend of mine compares the Subway Series to the presidential race—he dislikes both candidates, but he’ll vote for the one he hates less. This analogy works for me if we stipulate that in the past, on separate occasions, each candidate shot at and badly wounded my dog.
6.New York in general. Like a broken clock that’s right twice a day, New Yorkers are suddenly correct in their assumption that the nation is watching them. This bothers me. Solace: The ratings will likely suck. Not all of us are watching you, you chumps!
7.The New York Times. This may be worst of all. I’ve stopped reading it just to avoid inevitable, overblown coverage. Subway Series stories started popping up last week, and the editorial page joined in on Wednesday—can you imagine if this goes seven games? I predict: a delightful “Metro” section piece on the Mets fan … who works next to a Yankees fan!; a thoughtful Sunday magazine cover on New York’s rich baseball history in the American imagination; a cute guest op-ed on baseball bringing the whole city together; and so on and so on and so on until the damn thing mercifully ends. As for the Times “Sports” page, which is already atrocious (fodder for an entirely different but equally bitter Sports Nut), it will soon become offensive. Note to Will Shortz: You’d just better keep it out of the crossword, pal!
All this said, go Mets, I guess. At least you only shot my dog once.