Monday, June 23, 2008

2007 World Series: A matter of course

From the Archive: 10/27/07
[2007 World Series Game 2: Sox vs. Rockies]

Ok, some baseball trivia.

Question: Who aren't Okajima and Papelbon?

Answer: Bob Stanley and Calvin Schiraldi.

Oki came on with a one run lead, two men on, one out. It didn't even occur to me that he'd let those runners in. Aside from that hiccup in September, when he was as tired as a Conan monologue (what has he done for me lately?), Oki has just been astoundingly good. He stranded both inherited runners, and went 2 1/3 hitless scoreless, with 4 K's.

What’s happened to the Red Sox? Or me, for that matter? I’ve watched the playoffs with a sort of calm assurance that the superiority of the Red Sox would manifest itself. No panic. No fear. What an odd phenomenon. I mean, very little in this world of ours suggests that justice is an organizing principle. Yet I seem to assume that a Sox victory is inevitable, and that this is Good and Right. I feel this in a visceral sort of way, as a natural state, like how I feel comfortable in pajamas.

The following isn't off topic- you know why I don't like Kenneth Branaugh's version of Shakespeare’s Henry V? Because he's yelling the whole time. I guess this is supposed to show us that he means it, but really it makes it seem like Branaugh's Henry V is trying to convince himself of the truth of his own words, as if its not simply self-evident that he should be there, in France, staking his claim to the various dukedoms owed him though his royal lineage. Yelling and making a scene suggests he doesn't really deserve it. He is definitely not acting like he's been there before. In a word, what he's not is he's not regal. Henry V is supposed to be regal. Being regal is knowing that one deserves one's crown; a true king doesn't need to prove it all the time with yelling and beheadings. (I liked the BBC version of Henry v. and if you haven't seen the HBO/BBC 'Rome' series, the actor who plays Julius Caesar (the pagan J.C.)- That’s regal.)

The Red Sox act like they've been there before. There’s a calm, equanimity, a knowledge that they deserve to be there, and that they will triumph, without bluster and strain. Yes, there's sweat. But its Kevin Youkilis sweat of determination, not Calvin Schiraldi sweat of fear. There’s a Papelbon O-face, not a Derek Lowe face.

In this series, the patient sox hitters are positively regal, and do not deign to condescend. Pitches out of the strike zone are beneath them. (Yes, I went there.) Such meager offerings are an insult to our person; they offer, we refuse. We wait for what is pleasing to our royal person, and then deliver (posthaste) a crushing blow.

That sort of thing rubs off on the fan, or at least on me. I just don’t' feel nervous. Yes, I felt indignant a number of times during the Cleveland series, when physics and luck went against us; that's the thing about luck- its always out of character (as in the difference between essence and accident). and I’ll admit to losing my cool and screaming real real loud (and completely freaking out Rebecca) when, after the Lugo error on the pop up in game 7, with Lofton at third as the tying run, and Blake hit the grounder to Lowell, and I jumped off the couch, yelling, with ascending volume, 'turn it, turn it, turn it', and then thundered FUCK YEAH! Upon their so doing.

But other than that, we've been here before. We’re in our element. I can calmly watch the game, knowing that victory, not collapse, and not randomness, is inevitable. There’s no panic. There’s no 1918 bullshit that calls our character into question. We ascended to the throne through trying circumstances in '04, yes with the help of the wild card, but by now, our legitimacy is unquestioned (I’m tempted to pun on our closer and say its granted by papal bull, but I won't.) so with 9 wins down, we can look forward to games three and four, and say (with apologies) 'twice more unto the breach, dear friends, twice more'... then the day is ours.

Also, on the Boston dirt dogs sight, re: the Ellsbury stolen base which won everybody a free taco, it said 'tacoby bellsbury.' that's funny.

Also also, Josh Fogg sucks.

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