So I really haven't paid much attention to the Major League Baseball season this year. This was an exceptionally busy summer - with the Squirrels being good, NASCAR, and preparing for the football season. So I haven't really lived the ups and the downs of my hometown team, the Boston Red Sox.
I grew up 35 minutes south of Boston. I listened to the games on WEEI 850 AM, waited for our afternoon paper to arrive the next day to look at the box score, and was lucky enough to have gone to Fenway about a dozen times. I loved the Red Sox, and loved playing, watching and following baseball.
But I haven't lived in New England for over a decade. I watched the Sox win their first World Series title in 86 years alone on my futon in Monroe, Louisiana. I honestly don't remember where I was when they won it 2007.
With as much sports as I have to cover, I just don't have the time, or the patience, to sit through baseball games anymore. So, while I can still get revved up for Patriots games on the weekends, or Syracuse basketball games, my love for the Red Sox has dimmed.
But I never realized by how much until last night.
I had started distancing myself purposefully from this team as the swoon began at the beginning of the month. But with the stage set for drama, there was no way that I was avoid watching last night.
I didn't realize it until afterwards, but I wasn't watching the game because I loved the Red Sox. I was watching it for the reason why I love watching any sport - the incredible, real, and emotional drama of it all.
So I loved the ridiculousness of last night. I flipped the channels back and forth to watch the Braves fall apart in the ninth, and then the Yankees choke on themselves in the 8th and 9th. The little part of a fan inside me felt confident that when the rain delay began, this was going to work out in the Red Sox favor.
So when the game began again in Baltimore, in the bottom of the 7th, Red Sox up 3-2, my eyes were glued to the screen. The Yankees had blown it, the Braves had blown it, but the Red Sox, the team I loved my whole life, could still avoid blowing it.
Of course, I should've known better. When they did blow it, by allowing two runs to score when the Orioles were down to their final strike, there was only a small part of me that was angry. And just three minutes later, when Evan Longoria hit a walk-off home run to eliminate Boston from the playoffs, my friends from home starting sending me angry texts, and I sent them back some equal in exasperation and profanity.
But they were not genuine. Instead of feeling angry or embarrassed or sick to my stomach, I actually felt awed. I felt incredulous to what I had just seen, but not in a bad way. I realized that I had loved the drama I had just watched. I realized that I had just watched what might have been the most exciting final moments in regular season baseball history. I realized that I watched something that I'm going to tell my son(s) some day. And I was grinning from ear to ear.
So I'm not sure what that means. Has having the job that I've had made me start looking at sports differently? Has being away from my home in Boston caused me to sour on my hometown team? Or does the happenings of last night transcend a personal bias because of its sheer epical incredibility?
All I know, is this morning, I don't feel like a Red Sox fan anymore.