Monday, May 18, 2009


Cruel trick It wasn't to be. Well, how were we supposed to do it without KG anyway, right? I don't think this loss compares to some others I have lived through. And when you get trounced, I don't know, it all seems a little futile and not so stinging. That's the Rationalization for Today.
DONE FOR THE YEAR: Tim Thomas and... This was supposed to be The Year for the Bruins. Even I know that and I don't follow hockey. So their loss has to sting a lot more than the C's, who after all, won the whole banana last year. [thanks to Boston Globe and Boston Herald]

The worst loss I ever saw? Without a doubt?

This one.
Red Sox Bill Buckner famously booted a ball against the Mets in the bottom of the 10th inning in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series at Shea Stadium. The error resulted in a 6-5 10th inning win for the Mets. The Sox would go on to lose Game 7 two days later, 8-5.

That is Bill Buckner, dear reader, before his life changed. About to scoop up that ground ball, step on first base, and give the Red Sox their first World Series win since 1918. The year was 1986, Saturday night at Shea Stadium. Red Sox Nation was holding its breath. Kids were up late. If you had to work, you made sure you could be near a TV. Nursing homes were abuzz. Pacemakers challenged. I myself went to a production of Camelot and some in the audience discreetly relied on one man in our row who had earphones on and could keep us updated. If Ever I Would Leave You, it wouldn't be in the seventh inning, baby. We attended a cast party afterwards at a friend's house. By the time the ball was headed for Buckner, it was two outs in the bottom of the tenth inning, Sox up by one razor-slim beautiful run. The champagne was not only open, but poured (into lovely formal champagne flutes, I might add).

"We're going to win," I kept saying. "We're really going to win."

It was heady.

And then the ball went between his legs. A play he had made probably a thousand times since his Little League days. But this time he booted it.

Oh. Oh. Oh. Oh.

It was a loss like no other, before or since. It lingered. It rankled. People were sullen for days and started believing in curses and Ouija boards. Good men went bad. Bill Buckner had to leave the area. There were other chances, but none like that. No sure-fire this-is-it feeling like that one.

Flash forward to 2004. A much quieter evening with different friends. It's a Monday or maybe it's a Tuesday. I am older (but my hair looks better). As the innings progress, it looks as though the Red Sox will finally break The Curse and so the hostess goes to the kitchen and pours champagne. When she appears in the doorway of the living room, we turn on her like savages: NO! GET THAT OUT OF HERE! NO CHAMPAGNE UNTIL IT'S OVER AND THE UMPIRE SAYS IT'S OVER!

Yes, it was worth the wait.


But boy howdy, it takes a lot of losses to get there.
Living the Dream, dear reader.


At 11:17 PM , Blogger sandman1 said...

I hadn't realized before, but 1986 was sort of just before I paid much real attention to the Sox, and 2004 was just after I intentionally took a break from them. I was a freshman in college when Bucker lost his future (hmm, the Nation may not approve of that overly-sympathetic characterization), newly resident in New England, knowing the Sox only from family visits and parental fandom. My new college friend that turned out to be a Mets fan was insufferable!

All of my grandparents saw that game in 1986, but none were left by 2004. I wonder how they would have felt after a lifetime of waiting.

The first team I ever followed closely that won it all was the Patriots in 2002, and I remember specifically how strange it felt to be on the winning side. The Pats first trip to the show, which they lost, was also in 1986, so one of my formative years had two lost championships from my future home town.

I've followed the C's and the B's at different times in the past, but haven't lately, so it's easier for me to put this year out of my mind. It's baseball season anyway...

At 7:18 AM , Blogger Becky Motew said...

Yes, I think really this is a baseball town, no matter what anyone says, sm.



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