Thursday, October 16, 2003

Yankee fandom defined:

You see, the Yanks are the one place in my life that I get to be a winner. I'm a Democrat, and a New Deal, big-gummint labor Democrat at that -- meaning that I'm a shrinking minority in a minority party. I'm a unionist in an era when labor is on its heels. I'm from a dying rust belt town with a permanently mediocre hockey team and -- in the Bills -- one of the most tragic teams in American sports. (Four Super Bowl losses. IN A ROW.) The soccer team that I love is in a seemingly inexorable slide toward oblivion. So when the Yanks win World Series after World Series, even though it doesn't mean nearly as much to me as even a Bills divisional playoff win, I cherish the feeling of winning. It's a silly way to get validation, but sports are like that.

Red Sox fans, by contrast, understand that suffering brings the discipline required to be a winner in real life...

More: Call it superstition, but I sensed trouble when Red Sox radio announcer Jerry Trupiano starting talking prematurely about having seen Roger Clemens's last pitches in the major leagues. Remember, Pedro, thou art mortal...

Last thoughts: Some people will say that this game was lost on one bad decision. I count at least three: the decision to send Pedro out in the eighth (which was comprehensible), the decision to leave him in after he allowed a baserunner (which was clearly wrong), and the decision to leave him in after he allowed a run (which was bizarre). At any of these points, the set-up aces, who had been ready to go throughout the inning and had been superb throughout the playoffs could have mopped up easily. Instead, the manager asked Pedro whether he wanted to stay in, even though Pedro acknowledged in post-game interview that he would never, under any circumstances, ask to be taken out of a game -- it's a point of honor. It's the manager's responsibility to know the players...


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