Thursday, October 28, 2004

Bambino At The Bat
with apologies to Ernest L. Thayer

It looked extremely rocky for the cursed nine that day.
The score was two to four with but one inning left to play.
So, when Pete Rose died at second, and Enos Slaughter did the same,
A pallor wreathed the features of the patrons of the game.
A straggling few got up to go, leaving there the rest
With that hope that springs eternal from within the human breast.
For they thought, if only the Bambino could get a whack at that,
They’d put up even money now, with the Bambino at the bat.
But Mookie Wilson preceded Babe,
and likewise so did Dent,
And the former was a pudding,
and the latter was a fake.
So, on that stricken multitude a death-like silence sat,
For there seemed but little chance of the Bambino getting to the bat.
But Mookie let fly a single to the wonderment of all,
And the much despis├Ęd Dent tore the cover off the ball.
So, when the dust had settled
and they saw what had occurred,
There was Bucky safe at second,
and Wilson a-hugging third.
Then from the gladdened multitude went up a joyous yell.
It rumbled in the mountaintops, it rattled in the dell.
It struck upon the hillside and rebounded on the flat—
For the Bambino,
mighty Babe,
was advancing to the bat.
There was ease in Babe's manner as he stepped into his place.
There was pride in Babe's bearing and a smile on Babe's face.
And when, responding to the cheers, he lightly doffed his hat,
No stranger in the crowd could doubt ’twas the Bambino at the bat.
Ten thousand eyes were on him as he rubbed his hands with dirt.
Fifty-five thousand tongues applauded as he wiped them on his shirt.
And when the writhing gimpy pitcher ground the ball into his hip,
Defiance glanced from Babe's eye, a sneer curled the Sultan's lip.
And now the leather-covered sphere came hurtling through the air,
And the Babe stood a-watching it
in haughty grandeur there.
Close by the sturdy batsman the ball unheeded sped.
“That ain’t my style,”
said Babe.
“Strike one!”
the umpire said.
From the benches black with people there went up a muffled roar,
Like the beating of the storm waves on a stern and distant shore.
“Kill him! Kill the umpire!”
someone shouted from the stand—
And it’s likely they’d have killed him,
had not the Bambino raised his hand.
With a smile of noble charity great Babe's visage shone.
He stilled the rising tumult. He bade the game go on.
He signaled to the pitcher,
and once more the spheroid flew.
But Babe still ignored it,
and the umpire said,
“Strike two!”
cried the maddened thousands,
and the echo answered,
But one scornful look from Babe and the audience was awed.
They saw his face grow stern and cold,
they saw his muscles strain,
And they knew that the Bambino would not let that ball go by again.
The sneer is gone from Ruth's lip.
His teeth are clenched in hate.
He pounds with cruel vengeance his bat upon the plate.
And now the pitcher holds the ball,
and now he lets it go,
And now the air is shattered by the force of Babe's mighty blow!

Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright.
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light.
And somewhere men are laughing,
and somewhere children shout.
there is elation and joy
in Boston
the Bambino's Curse
struck out.
Boston Red Sox World Champions 1903*1912*1915*1916*1918*2004

86 Years of waiting, generations come and gone, great players, post season goats, and heartbreaks.

Over the last 86 years, the world has seen a lot of change. Prohibition enacted the day after Ruth was traded to the Yankees. World War I ends, the Great Depression, Women's Suffrage, World War II, Men on the Moon, Computers, radio, television, the internet, Woodrow Wilson to George W. Bush, Frank Sinatra, John Wayne, Elvis Presley, the Beatles, the Florida Marlins, and of course the invention of sliced bread in 1928.

I can not help but think of all the greats and not so greats that have come and gone and not seen this day in a Red Sox uniform. Ted Williams, Yaz, Fisk, Pesky, Doerr, Cronin, Foxx, Radtz, the Eck, Jim Rice, Dewey Evans, Bill Buckner, Tony Armas, Bruce Hurst, Mo Berg, Bob Montgomery, Rich Gedman, Marty Barrett, Rico Petrocelli, Mike Greenwell, Lee Smith, Steve Lyons and the list just goes on and on.

After 86 years the curse of the Bambino, is broken. No more Buckner, no more Enos Slaughter, no more Bucky Dent, no more Aaron Boone, and no more Bob Gibson. The Red Sox have won the World Series. The waiting was the hardest part.

I raise a toast to those fans who lived and breathed Red Sox baseball and for one reason or another never got to see this day. A lot of tears are being shed tonight out of joy and sadness. There are those who wish only that their loved ones could be here to celebrate this. Tears for those who died young and those who died old. Red Sox fans are a diehard bunch, we live and breathe this team and we know that somewhere those who came before us are celebrating somewhere greater. Sons who never were able to share this with their fathers, sons who's fathers never came home from wars, fathers who's son's never came home....sadness and joy. To our friends who were called home before us, we toast to you and know you are smiling.

If you didn't grow up in Red Sox Nation, you can not understand the passion that we have for this team nor the heart and emotion that accompany it. I will not even try to explain in a few words. I will gladly sit down with any of you who wish to understand.

I weep for joy. Now what, perhaps another golden age of Red Sox baseball. This is simply awesome. The party will last for a while for a day many thought would never come has arrived, the curse is broken. A lunar eclipse of the heart and the Red Sox sweep the St. Louis Cardinals.

Yes Boston, this is not a dream. The Boston Red Sox are the World Champions for the first time since 1918.

The work for next season must begin with free agents to sign back: Lowe, Pedro, Varitek, Cabrerra....time to get the band back together. For now, let's enjoy this.

We can start counting the days till the 2005 season opens. When the defending World Champion Boston Red Sox will be introduced and start defense of the title in the Bronx against the New York Yankees. For a change, they're chasing us. How sweet it is!

86 years....we suffered long enough...hang the lanterns in Old North Church....and wherever you are in Red Sox Nation, enjoy's been a long time coming.

Monday, October 25, 2004

There will be no updates until after the World Series.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Blood and Guts
"We few, we happy few, we band of brothers; For he today that sheds his blood with me Shall be my brother: be he ne'er so vile, This day shall gentle his condition."

Down 3 games to none and on the verge of playoff elimination, something has happened that has never happened in the history of major league baseball, game 7 will be played. Twenty five times previous the team down 3-0 has never forced a game 7. Only three times has game 6 ever been played, yet here we are, staring down history and history blinked.

The emotional roller coaster that has been the American League Championship Series between the Red Sox and Yankees will conclude tonight. Game 7 in the Bronx in the House that Ruth Built. The Yankees and 26 World Championships and the Red Sox and the Curse. The Yankees failing to close the deal over the last three games, the Red Sox battling for their playoff life.

I have seen a lot of baseball in my mere 26 years, but never something that of the last three nights. The cake was taken last night by Curt Schilling. The ace of the Red Sox staff, the man who was signed in the off season to get over the hump and beat the Yankees, the man who was lit up in game 1 and who's ankle woes appeared to end his season. A special high top show was made to support the ailing tendons, he threw on the side, and then announced that the problem was taken care off and he would be ready to pitch game 6. The Red Sox got him his chance and he pitched a brillant 7 innings, giving up 1 run. Yet, the story is more than a gutsy performance from a man needing surgery at year's end.

The injury to Schilling involves a tear in a sheath of tissue covering two tendons in the ankle, this causes one of the tendons to slip out and rub bone when he pitches. I don't know all the anatomy behind it, but I can only speculate that it hurts like hell. After game 1, Boston had all but shut down the big man for the year. Reebok and doctors fitted Schilling with a custom high top pair of spikes to add more support. He threw on the side. He pitched game 6, he wore the low tops and bled. He bled through his white sanitary sock, turning the area around his ankle a deep crimson. The blood ran from the start, his sock soaked red, he pitched the most dramatic post season outing ever. Yet, the questions lingered, why is he bleeding? As it turns out, Schilling had his skin sutured between the tendons of his ankle, preventing them from moving over the bone. The sutures were breaking, between innings, he was stiched back up. He went back out. By his own admission he began struggling in the 4th inning, but lasted another 3. Watching the game, I'll take struggles like that from any pitcher in the game.

After the game, a tired Schilling simply said this, "I was touched by God tonight. Last time I tried to do it alone... it was God's work... I had had enough (after 7), I was struggling from the fourth inning on. I made some mistakes but they hit them right at people."

So now it on to game 7. Had you told me three days ago, after the 19-8 Boston Massacre that the Yankees slammed the Red Sox with to go up 3-0, that game 7 would happen, even I, a diehard Red Sox fan would have scoffed at the notion, yet here we are. One game between the Red Sox and Yankees for the right to go to the World Series. The Red Sox seek their first trip since 1986, when they lost to the Mets in 7 games. I was in second grade and 8 years old. It's been 16 years. In that time great players have come and gone, but one was traded to Houston for Larry Andersen in 1988. Andersen played 15 games for Boston and his career has been lost to the history of baseball players who came and went. The young man who was traded, a hard throwing right handed pitcher from Double-A minor league affiliate New Britian went on to have a Hall of Fame career and win a World Championship. He returned and last night bled his socks red to force a game 7.

I do not know if the ghost will return tonight, the Red Sox fan in me knows that is always possible. But I do know this, the last three nights have been the greatest display of heart and team work I have ever seen. This is the greatest Red Sox team I have ever seen. Tonight, they will again stare history in the eyes, we can just watch to see who blinks.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Not much today, sorry loyal readers.

The Red Sox won the ALDS in 3 games sweeping the Angels on Big Papi's (David Ortiz) walk of homer in the bottom of the 10th.

The Red Sox lost game 1 of the ALCS 10-7 to the Evil Empire, Schilling was shelled.

Congratulations to Lesley on landing a job. It is sales and it is commission but hey, we all start somewhere. With any luck, she will traveling the world to "research" for her job.

On another front, if anyone see's any openings for a Civil/Geotechnical Engineer with an EIT and a Master's in Texas (i.e. College Station, Austin, Dallas, San Antonio, and Houston areas) let me know. If you're the last one to realize the ship is sinking, chances are they're out of life vests. Especially when the captain already cleaned out his stateroom.

And I wonder why I don't sleep well anymore.

Friday, October 08, 2004

243 Outs to Go

So it's a slow morning at the office and the anticipation leading up to game 3 of the Red Sox/Angels series is killing me. 27 outs and more runs on the board than the Angels and it is on to the league championship series. That's the optimist in me, the part of me that wants to shout to the world that this is the year, this is the year I can finish the poem that has been in my head for 18 years, this is the year that 85 years of hearbreak ends.

Then there is the fan in me, the bittered Sox fan so use to heartbreak and tears that I await the wheels falling off the wagon as a regular right of fall. There are few things a native New Englander can be sure of this time of year, they are the leaves changing, the temperatures dropping, a sale on snow blowers where none are sold because who needs one when you have a shovel (until the first big winter storm and then you pay double the regular price and triple or more the sale price), and the Red Sox finding a way to rip out our hearts yet again. Like the changing of the seasons, it just is something to expect.

When Harry Frazee sold Babe Ruth to the Yankees after 1919 season, the Babe said Boston would never win a championship again. So far, the Sox haven't. In that time the Yankees have won 26 World championships and Babe Ruth, the dominate left handed pitcher for the Red Sox, has become and American sports legend as one of the most prolific power hitters in the history of baseball (and Ruth made his name in the days of big parks and dead balls!). Such was the birth of the Curse of the Bambino.

To elaborate, in 1918 the Red Sox won their 5th World Series, the most by any club at that time. One of the stars of the Boston championship franchise was a young pitcher by the name of George Herman Ruth, aka The Babe or The Bambino. In 1920, however, Red Sox owner Harry Frazee needed money to finance his girlfriend's play, so he sold Babe Ruth's contract to Colonel Jacob Ruppert's New York Yankees for $100,000 (plus a loan collateralized by Fenway Park).
Since then, the Yankees, who had never won a World Championship before acquiring Ruth, have gone on to win 26, and are arguably one of the greatest success stories in the history of sport.
Meanwhile, the Boston Red Sox have appeared in only four World Series since 1918, losing each one in game seven. In 1946, Enos Slaughter's mad dash home won it for the St. Louis Cardinals in game 7 while Johnny Pesky, the Red Sox shortstop, double clutched the ball trying to get it out his glove on a relay. In 1967, the St. Louis Cardinals again beat the Red Sox in game 7, effectively shutting down Hall of Famer Carl Yastremski (a distant relative of mine), aka. Yaz or Captain Carl. In 1975, in what many contend to be the greatest series of all time, the Sox lost game 7 to the Reds. Ironically, everyone remembers Carlton Fisk's homerun to win game 6 to force game 7 in the 1975 series. Finally, in the only World Series the Red Sox have been to in my lifetime, the Sox lost to the New York Mets in 7 games.

The 1986 series is perhaps the biggest heartbreaker of them all. The Red Sox had a 3 games to 2 lead going into game 6 at Shea Stadium in New York. The Sox were one strike away from winning the series, multiple times, and could not seal the deal. The game ended on the infamous bouncing ball going between Bill Buckner's legs at first. Buckner never should have been in the game at that time, as he had been replaced for defensive reasons all post season by the more sure handed Dave Stapelton. Sox manager John McNamara later revealed Buckner was in because he was a veteran and the manager wanted him to be on the field for the celebration. The game 6 loss crushed the Sox and effectively ended the series as game 7 was a mere formality. Ironically, the best pitcher that post season for Boston was not the young, flame thrower from Katy, TX named Roger Clemens, but a veteran lefty named Bruce Hurst. In a twist of fate, there had not been a better left handed starter in the post season since Babe Ruth for Boston. The dagger to the heart being, if you look at the name Bruce Hurst, you can rearrange the letters in his name to get B. Ruth Curse.

The idea of a curse goes deeper. Before Carlton Fisk's number 27 was retired and the numbers on the right field roof placed in numerical order, the numbers aligned in the form of 9 4 1 8. As a date that would be 9/4/18, September 4, 1918, the day before the start of the 1918 World Series, the last one won by Boston. An ominous reminder that it's always the day before you start the series you will win, always not getting the win, forever waiting.

I don't fully buy into the idea that a team is cursed, but it is quite odd. I'm sorry, I forgot to add the icing to the cake. The 1918 World Series was won by the Red Sox, however, the losers in that series, the Chicago Cubs.

So as the clock ticks down to game 3 with the Angels, I can not be confident and happy for the lead which the Sox have in the first round. I am full of nervous energy and can not sit still. I will miss most of the game while at work, but that is what yahoo live update is for, and much like game 1 I will be doing my best to to watch my tongue in the office. This time of year marks a radical shift in my personality for a few weeks, which is evident when the Sox are playing even more so than when they have an off day or the games are over or fixing to start. I can't help it, my name is Ed, and I am a Red Sox fan. There is only one cure, but I dare not think about it.

That in mind, I have concluded on thing for those who might have wondered about me and my well being this time of year. If I ever meet a woman who understand this side of me, who can put up with and tolerate it, first hand. I might be tempted to skip the entire dating/courting thing all together and propose there on the spot, because she would be a keeper and a rare find. However, I doubt such a woman exists.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Lyrics for the Postseason


Tessie is the Royal Rooters rally cry
Tessie is the song they always sung
Tessie echoed April through October nights
After serenading Stahl, Dineen and Young
Tessie is a maiden with the sparkling eyes
Tessie is a maiden with the love
She doesn't know the meaning of her sight
She's got a comment full of love
And sometimes when the game is on the line
Tessie always carried them away
Up the road from Third Base to Huntington
The boys will always sing and sway

Two! Three! Four!

Tessie, Nuff Ced McGreevy shouted
We're not here to mess around
Boston, you know we love you madly
Hear the crowd roar to your sound
Don't blame us if we ever doubt you
You know we couldn't live without you
Tessie, you are the only, only, only
The Rooters showed up at the Grounds one day
They found their seats had all been sold
McGreevy led the charge into the park
Stormed the gates and put the game on hold
The Rooters gave the other team a dreadful fright
Boston's tenth man could not be wrong
Up from Third Base to Huntington
They sang another victory song

Two! Three! Four!

Tessie, Nuff Ced McGreevy shouted
We're not here to mess around
Boston, you know we love you madly
Hear the crowd roar to your sound
Don't blame us if we ever doubt you
You know we couldn't live without you
Tessie, you are the only, only, only
The Rooters gave the other team a dreadful fright
Boston's tenth man could not be wrong
Up from Third Base to HuntingtonThey sang another victory song

Two! Three! Four!

Tessie, Nuff Ced McGreevy shouted
We're not here to mess around
Boston, you know we love you madly
Hear the crowd roar to your sound
Don't blame us if we ever doubt you
You know we couldn't live without you
Boston, you are the only, only, only
Don't blame us if we ever doubt you
You know we couldn't live without you
Red Sox, you are the only, only, only

Dirty Water

I'm gonna tell you a story
I'm gonna tell you about my town
I'm gonna tell you a big bad story, baby
Aww, it's all about my town

Yeah, down by the river
Down by the banks of the river Charles (aw, that's what's happenin' baby)
That's where you'll find me
Along with lovers, fuggers, and thieves (aw, but they're cool people)
Well I love that dirty water
Oh, Boston, you're my home (oh, you're the Number One place)
Frustrated women (I mean they're frustrated)
Have to be in by twelve o'clock (oh, that's a shame)
But I'm wishin' and a-hopin, oh
That just once those doors weren't locked (I like to save time formy baby to walk around)
Well I love that dirty water
Oh, Boston, you're my home (oh, yeah)
Because I love that dirty water
Oh, oh, Boston, you're my home (oh, yeah)
Well, I love that dirty water (I love it, baby)
I love that dirty water (I love Baw-stun)
I love that dirty water (Have you heard about the Strangler?)
I love that dirty water (I'm the man, I'm the man)
I love that dirty water (Owww!)
I love that dirty water (Come on, come on)

At 3:00 PM central time, the Boston Red Sox will begin their ALDS series in Anaheim against the Angels. At which time, I shall be at work, but will be expecting the men in the white coats to come get me. I shall be certifiable for the remainder of the Red Sox playoff run. So roll out some Dropkick Murphys and start spinning "Tessie" and "Dirty Water." And don't forget, to finish singing along to Neil Diamond...."Hands, touching hands, reaching out...Touching me, touching you......Oh, sweet Caroline, Good times never seem so good"...

Call my doctor and have him up my meds, cause I've lost it.

Let's go Red Sox!
Let's go Red Sox!
Let's go Red Sox!

p.s. locate Dave Henderson and pull him out of retirement.