Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Red Sox Redux

"I think that the task of an American writer is not to decribe the misgivings of a woman taken in adultery as she looks out of a window at the rain but to describe four hundred people under the lights reaching for a foul ball

...John Cheever

HALLIE: Back to the Red Sox for just a sec. I watched the beginning and the end of every game in the series. In between, I watched with my eyes closed--a habit I got into in the bad old days when every good thing would inevitably be followed by something bad, stupid, horrifying, or all of the above in rapid succession. What this "eyes closed watching" usually involves is falling asleep until my husband vaults off the bed in ecstasy or agony.
And that rhythm section in the bullpen--those big guys playing eensie weensie triangles and cymbols and water-bottle maracas? (Shades of the Nairobi Trio--Ernie Kovacs old gag--or am I dating myself?) Now that's comic relief. Shades of the Nairobi Trio.
In the bad old days, the game WAS the comic relief. Anyone besides me looking back fondly at being perennial losers?
HANK: I watched, too. I'm from Indiana, so I grew up with basketball. Football is fun to watch because it's so easy to multi-task. You don't have to look at the screen the whole time. Hockey, forgive me, I don't understand.
But baseball. What gets me is that when it's two outs, bases loaded, and everything on the line, the world is divided exactly into two kinds of people. The ones who want to be up to bat. And the ones who don't.
The Red Sox--want to be up. And I love it. Ortiz with his congenial ease and oozing good karma. Manny, who is the most hilariously droll--I can't believe he doesn't run. Lowell, who always comes through. Pedroia, the new kid.
Perennial losers? Gets old. I 've watched so many segments of Red Sox games between my fingers, hands in front of my face. When you work at it, isn't it supposed to pay off?
And--heading to writing now--that's persistence. And when you persevere, you win. Just do it, right? Just write the book. And I promise it won't take as long as it took the Sox.
JAN: Sorry Hallie, I'm not looking back fondly at the years of perennial losses. Except to say that those years of agony led to complete esctasy when the Sox became World Series Champions in 2004. The present victory is terrific, but not quite as mind-altering.
What I love best about baseball is the ongoing story. Every player is a protagonist with his obstacles and reversals. The at-bats were clearly set up to build a crescendo of suspense. And there's always a climax (world series) and a resolution. (The Red Sox rock!)
RO: I'm a Mets fan; I'm still licking my wounds and trying to figure out what the hell went wrong. But I grew to - if not exactly love the Red Sox - love the fact that they never give up. What's really bugging me now is how good the Celtics are going to be this year. You guys are going to be insufferable.
HALLIE: The Celtics just don't do the same thing. Seems like pro basketball (and football) players are outsized and extraordinary, whereas baseball players are more merely mortals. Just like (yeah, right) the rest of us.


  1. Yeah, Hallie, just like the rest of us. HA. Although, I must say I was the pitcher for the softball team at the TV station where I worked in Atlanta. We were called--not the Tigers or Dodgers or any such stuff--we were the "Spiders from Mars."

    (That'll tell you when it was.)

    ANyway, I was an okay and reliable pitcher. But I could not bat, at all. And I could not catch. At all.

    So the coach used to tell me: "Pitch, then duck."

    Which is what I did, every time.
    Talk about a specialty player.

  2. Well, I'm a Cubs fan. There's really not much more to say. Other than, next year, baby. That's so gonna be our year. Yeah. Every 100 years we're gonna win it all.


  3. Judy,
    I think everyone, deep down, roots for the Cubs.
    And Hallie,
    while I agree that baseball is in its own category, basketball offers an efficient form of entertainment Games are NOT four hours long, thank God. And we are going to ROCK this year.
    To Ro, We will try really hard not to be insuffereable.

  4. So who watches baseball, out there, in the Jungle Red gang?

    Football? Basketball?

    Or do you ignore sports? Are you baffled by it?

    You know, I don't think Jan Ro Hallie and I have ever discussed sports, in person. And yet there we all are, all having favorites and being fans. Kinda interesting.

    And yes, I was born in Chicago. They don't let you out of the hospital unless you pledge to be a Cubs fan.

    Hey. We should go to a Celtics game! Ro, will you come in from CT? (Now, we'll see....) Who else is up for it?

    Or maybe it would have to be a cyber-Celtics game.

  5. Unfortunately I'm busy the two dates that the Knicks are in Boston. Feel free to come to NY on Jan 21 or April 14, though. I already have tix for the 1/21 game. Saw them play in the preseason, but that doesn't really count. They don't go all out because no one wants to get injured. I spend far too much time watching sports - baseball, basketball and tennis; I can watch two unknown Ukranians play tennis if it's a good match. But I don't watch much of anything else on television.

  6. You don' television?
    Not even "Mad Men"? Not even "The 4400"? Not even "24"? Not even "60 Minutes"? Not even "Damages"? Not even "Pushing Daisies"? My poor career.

  7. I have seen snippets of Mad Men and Ugly Betty, but, um, no to the others. I used to watch The Sopranos, though. And I've seen Law & Order, usually in hotel rooms when it's 8:30 and I've already eaten my room service salad and there's nothing else to do.
    Do you still like me?