Entering the 9th down 2-0 to the Yankees, against a Hall of Fame closer, scoring 1 and loading the bases with NOBODY out and stranding them there?
Now that's a classic Red Sox loss. And by 'classic', I mean a good ol' fashioned pre-2004 rip-your-heart-out-edge-of-total-victory archetypal Red Sox catastrophe.
I forgot what that felt like.
These days, it's all take the long view this, we'll come around come October that.
But this was a throwback, even without the old uni's. It has a familiar trajectory. The Sox are outplayed. 2nd best seems assured. The upcoming loss is accepted with a numb melancholy. But then a big hit, an opponent stumbles, and the numbness starts to wane. Hope emerges. Another hit. Hope becomes expectation. And just when the Sox couldn't be better positioned to win, when miraculous victory becomes not just possible but probable, they collapse, and fail.
I would have been fine, taking the long view, waiting for October, losing 2-0 on a random July afternoon. You can't expect to win 4 straight in the Bronx. But that's post- "Queer Eye" Red Sox talking. That's the 'of course we'll win 3 in a row down 3-1 in the ALCS- We're the Sox!' But they forfeited the long view by fighting back. They trigger all those old memories of being One Strike Away, of coming so close, just to fall short. They played the Red Sox. Classic Cubs is losing 2-0. Classic Sox is doing just what they did; coming back, having the bases loaded and NOBODY out, with the tieing run on 3rd, and not scoring. 3 times. To lose. To the Yankees.
This being a classic Red Sox loss, it triggered that long dormant bitter and reactionary psychology that I thought had been cured with victory and Zoloft. Instead of the ol' 'you fail 7 out of 10 times in this game and you're great' line, or falling back on lame non-explanatory cliches like 'you can't expect to win 4 straight in the Bronx', I'm screaming for Crisp's head, wanting to bench Varitek and cut Lugo.
Because, as everybodywho's ever seen baseball before knows, ANYBODY would be better than those guys. ANYBODY.
That's classic Sox talking. That's calling up WEEI and saying 'trade him for a bucket of balls'. That's the anger and the depression and the desperation, the losers' complex. That's not the attitude of a team that is just out of the division lead despite lacking their most powerful hitter for over a month, or the attitude of dropping a game on the road with the number 5 starter matched up against the opponent's ace.
Man, I haven't screamed that someone should be cut since, oh i don't know, Chad Fox or Rudy Seanez. Or Curtis Leskanic the shirtless mechanic.
I even hate it when I lose to the Yankees in a video game. I guess I'm just not totally over them yet. Minds aren't that malleable. Scars don't always heal. You can forget them, but they're there. Sometimes it takes until the next generation. Scars aren't heritable, I don't think.
Unless, of course, these are your father's Red Sox.