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Friday, April 01, 2011

"Play ball!"

It's Opening Day in Red Sox Nation.

And, it's SNOWING!!!!!

Honest to Pete!

There's no snowing in baseball. Not in Red Sox Nation, anyway! Not even on April Fool's Day! It's specifically not allowed under Clause 3a, sub-paragraph 2.

Or. . . something.

Maybe that's why they're playing in Arlington, TX today. No snow there. And, by the time we get Opening Day here in Boston next week, there won't be any snow on the ground.

Then again, one never knows. It is New England, after all. Spring is just a nice concept - a great idea we keep on the calendar to create the illusion that we folks 'up Nawth' are just like everybody else.

We have had snow storms in mid-April - Nor'easters, as I recall - which dumped several feet of snow on the Ole Fenway. And yes, sometimes our Easter bonnets and white gloves have had to be replaced by woolen caps and mittens.

This? This is just a nuisance, is all. A gray-white slushy-rainy mix that just screams "April Fool's Day!"

We are not amused.

Opening Day for the Yankee was yesterday. They won against the Tigers, 6-3. Or, so I've heard. I didn't watch. I never watch the Yankees play unless they are up against the BoSox.

Even then, I can't watch them if they play against each other on a Saturday. I happen to need my voice for Sunday. I just can't yell and cheer and scream like that on a work night. Occupational hazard.

Yankees fans are famous for being a little . . . . well. . . let's just say they follow their team management and spare no expense in showing enthusiasm for their team.

They are also just a tad . . . um . . .FANatic about their team.

BoSox fans, on the other hand, are loyal.

To the bone.

I remember taking the train from Chatham into The City to visit one of our daughters who lives on the UES (Upper East Side). I had on my jeans, a sweatshirt and my BoSox baseball cap.

When I got into the train car, there was only one other person there. He had on a Yankees cap. I smiled politely and took a seat.

As we got past Summit, he turned around and said, "You from here?"

"Well, I live here now," I said.

He raised his voice angrily, "Well, if you live here now, then take that cap off."

"Excuse me?" I said, nervously looking for the conductor.

"You heard me," he raised his voice even louder and sounded even more angry, "Take that cap off. This is Yankee country. Show some respect."

I got up, gathered my things, and walked to the next car.

BoSox fans would Nevah, Evah do something like that. We think our team is "wickhad pissah" and simply delight every time they win - especially when they win against the Yankees.

Then, it's "wickhad, wickhad pissah". But, we don't get violent. And, we don't try to intimidate or insult or bully.

Our youngest daughter married a Yankees fan last summer. It damn near broke my heart the first time I saw her in a Yankees T-shirt.

Well, sigh and ugh. We raise our children the best we know how, and love them even when they make bad choices in life.

Then again, one of our daughters has a very discrete pair of Red Sox tattooed just above her ankle. And, our son can rattle off BoSox stats from 1901 on, along with who got traded to the Yankees.

Babe, schmabe! I don't think I'll ever forgive Roger "Rocket" Clemens for defecting. And, Wade Boggs may have a shiny Yankees ring, but he's in the Baseball Hall of Fame with the Red Sox named as his primary team. So, there!

Of course, everyone is saying that the BoSox are the team to beat this year. Some of the Yankees players sound positively ecstatic at finally being rated underdogs to the Red Sox, who spent with Yankee abandon in hiring new Boston players.

Not too many of us are pleased about this Yankee-like behavior - especially in the finance department. Money is always the unseen player in the Yankees lineup.

It's especially difficult knowing that "the other" NY team, the Mets, are crippled by the losses they suffered in Bernard Madoff's Ponzi scheme. Indeed, a piece of the team is being offered for sale to keep the club operating.

I remember reading that Madoff's satin personalized Mets jacket was recently auctioned off and got something like $15,000 to pay off some of the people he stole MILLIONS from.

At least Madoff will have to listen to the game from his prison cell. Or, read or hear about it the next day. But, he certainly won't be able to watch it in "real time" from his private box at Citi (Shea) Stadium or even on cable TV.

There's a sliver of a sense of justice in that.

One would hope that Yankee fans will tone down the histrionics a bit this year, out of respect for their fellow NY ball club.

I'm not holding my breath.

We're now in the midst of three wars - not including the domestic 'War on Women' being raised by the House and Gubernatorial Majority who seem to be fueled on testosterone and not a lot of gray cerebral matter.

The Middle Eastern countries are still in turmoil and great unrest. The threat of nuclear contamination lingers in the air and in the water as Japan continues to recover from the Earthquake.

No one seems to be able to do anything about either unemployment or the deficit, much less agree on a budget. One Republican congresswoman actually chided her Democratic colleagues with the admonishment to "Stop talking about jobs!"

The IRS man is polishing his shoes and sharpening his pencil as Tax Day looms, just a fortnight away.

We could all use nine innings of distraction right about now. Just a couple of hours of watching a player in the uniform of the 'home team' with a bat in his hand, head and hopes held high, under the open sky in a stadium while fans eat a hot dog wrapped in foil with mustard, relish and onions (gotsta have the onions) and drink a hideously large paper cup of your favorite sudsy or fuzzy beverage.

THAT'S what I'm talkin' bout.

Former Red Sox pitcher, Bill "The Spaceman" Lee, once said, “This game is a game of temporary things." You can't grow up or live in this very Roman Catholic town without hearing the mantra, "This, too, shall pass."

In Red Sox Nation, you learn faith. "Wait until next year," is practically a creedal statement. That's something money - even Yankee's money - can't buy.

It's a game where everyone is allowed three strikes, and the goal is for everyone to get home. Safe.

Now, I ask you: What could be better than that?

I'm reminded of a poem about "God and Baseball" by Philip E. Burnham, Jr (from Housekeeping: Poems Out of the Ordinary. Ibbetson Street Press, 2005).
And on the ninth day, God
In His infinite playfulness
Grass green grass, sky blue sky,
Separated the infield from the outfield,
Formed a skin of clay,
Assigned bases of safety
On cardinal points of the compass
Circling the mountain of deliverance,
Fashioned a wandering moon
From a horse, a string and a gum tree,
Tempered weapons of ash,
Made gloves from the golden skin of sacrificial bulls,
Set stars alight in the Milky Way,
Divided the descendants of Cain and Abel into contenders,
Declared time out, time in, stepped back,
And thundered over all of creation:
"Play ball!"
So, c'mon Mother Nature. Lighten up! Perhaps you don't pay attention to the calendar which is clearly marked, "Spring", but surely, you got the memo from God about Baseball Season.

Go Red Sox! Let's play like it's 2004. Or, 2007


Kirkepiscatoid said...

Oh, Lord have mercy, Elizabeth, you certainly know how to wound a third generation Cardinals fan by showing that vid from 2004. Of all teams to break the curse of the Bambino...and we Redbird fans hate the Yanks, too. Not as much as you BoSox fans, of course, but enough, since Cards vs. Yanks has been done many times in Series history.

But I love you anyway.

whiteycat said...

Thanks for the great post. Too bad our boys folded in Texas! Bring on the next 161 games!


Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Kirke - I love you, too, honey.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Whiteycat - It was just an April Fool's Day prank. Boyz will be boyz.

Mary-Cauliflower said...

You know, don't you, that if you want to meet the first female, African-American park announcer for the Sox, you just have to take the Red Line to Central Square. Walk up Prospect Street to St. Bartholomew's, and introduce yourself to the Priest-in-Charge.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Yay! I'll do just that! Thanks

Mary-Cauliflower said...

Rev. Leslie is a delightful person. You'll enjoy meeting her.