By Trevor Amicone
Hi, my name is Trevor . . . and I’m a Red Sox fan. I have been told 16,314 times in the last 10 days that I am an eternal pessimist. I counted. And it’s true. At least when it comes to sports. I don’t see the glass as half-full. I don’t even see it as half-empty. It’s completely empty.
I was the guy sitting there Wednesday night saying, “They’re gonna blow it, they’re gonna blow it.” From the peanut gallery sitting in the corner, being more entertained watching me than the games, came numbers 16,315 and 16,316. Please, as if my negative attitude will transmit itself 1,600 miles to Baltimore and affect the game.
In a matter of seconds, the Red Sox went from one strike away from the playoffs to DONE. Over. See ya in March . . . maybe. I could have taken maybe like an 8-3 loss and a Rays win, but not this. As the ball trickled away from Carl Crawford in left field at Camden Yards, a montage of mortifying memories rolled through my mind. Buckner. Bucky bleepin’ Dent. Slaughter. Boone.
What do we call this one?
Let’s ask Bill Simmons. What, no one can find him? His Twitter account went silent? Someone go over there and make sure he’s OK.
The Braves got beat in extra innings. Ha! Anything you can do we can do better. No wonder people actually thought there was a curse for 86 years. If this were the NBA, I would have called it scripted. This only happens to us. I don’t feel bad for Braves fans at all. I’m beyond empathy. They can have just as big of a collapse, but not the way we did. That happens only to us.
Only to us do the perverse baseball gods find some way to force us to cheer for the Yankees. Only for us do the Yankees lose when we finally want them to win, yet win every time we want them to lose.
This is why, when good things start to happen, New Englanders say, “It’s not ovah.” The Yankees had the Rays 7-0. If this was anyone else, the Yanks wrap it up. But not us. Of course they blew it. Was there ever really doubt that they were going to screw us again?
Two hundred and ten seconds. That was the time between Crawford’s misplay in left field and Evan Longoria’s walkoff home run. It was like the rain delay in Baltimore was some sort of cruel joke to ensure that the two horrific moments would be back-to-back. Up 3-2 with the Yankees up 7-0, the Sox were in the playoffs. Book the tickets to Texas. Ten minutes later, we’re laying over in Tampa Bay. A couple innings and a rain delay later, book the tee times.
As it turns out, Carl Crawford is still the Rays’ best player. As it turns out, the Rays deserve the playoff spot. Maybe their fans don’t (only 29,000 people at the Trop Wednesday night), but the team does. As it turns out, money wins you nothing.
To those young whippersnappers in Boston who have grown up seeing every major sports team in Boston win a championship in the last seven years, this is what it’s really like. This is how it really goes. We’ve been spoiled, from the Curse of the Bambino to the Curse of Andino.
It was a great night for casual baseball fans. Bud Selig, there is plenty wrong with Major League Baseball: no instant replay, the All-Star Game determining World Series home-field advantage, the DH in one league but not the other, the Yankees, etc. With all that’s wrong with baseball, the playoffs aren’t one of them. Don’t mess with them. That’s what provides nights like last Wednesday.
Who needs to watch Snooki get arrested for the umpteenth time? Real reality TV is sports. These kinds of endings, with so much on the line, are unbelievable and enthralling. These kinds of endings just don’t happen in real life. They only happen to us.