Exit Sandman!!! (WHEW)

Finally, off to Never-Never Land

My life has, rather sadly, been governed to a large extent by my infatuation with the Boston Red Sox. I was initiated into the brotherhood of what was for many years the damned, by an uncle who comically hasn’t even been my uncle for probably 25 years now. But the hook was set deep sometime around my 6th or 7th year of life and I’ve been stealing money out of my mother’s purse and giving handjobs to truckers next to a dumpster behind Flying J truck plazas ever since just to get a Red Sox fix. I moved to Boston after college with no job and really very little plan, all because my one and only pathetic goal was to someday have season’s tickets at Fenway Park. The reality of making no money in a city that treats outsiders like the kid in class who always smells like piss quickly shit in the punchbowl of my dreams, but the loyalty to the Red Sox never waned. I experienced years of heartaches before the breakthrough in 2004 and it has been a different experience since. Still enjoyable and it was great to live two World Series wins, but there is something intangible that was lost when they finally won. The fatalism, the living and dying by each and every pitch. That is gone. I can’t say now is worse, but it isn’t better. If who you are is partially defined by an obsession with Boston Red Sox baseball then you know part of the package is hatred of the New York Yankees. The Yankees renaissance which began in the mid-90′s provided some of my most bitter, nearly in tears moments as a Red Sox fan, as well as some of my most euphoric. I could write a novel highlighting the various highs and lows but that would be interesting to no one. There was one Yankee and one Yankee only through all these years who put the fear of Crom into my heart: Sandman. There was no more disheartening, “Well we’re fucked” feeling in sports fandom than your team losing at the end of the 8th inning in Yankee Stadium and hearing Metallica’s ”Enter Sandman”. Done, donezo, sayonara, good night sweet prince, now fuck off, than #42 trotting out of the pen to “Exit light……..Enter nigh-ight….”. Sure, over the years and many, many battles the Red Sox got to him a few times. They even beat him to begin the most historically improbable comeback in Major League Baseball history in 2004. If you watched that game however you know it wasn’t a laser that broke him, but rather an amazing steal of second base followed by a semi-crisp roller back up the middle. He was dominance. He was the destroyer of hope. And he wasn’t mean. He wasn’t rude. He didn’t do drugs. Fuck, he didn’t even have an arsenal. There was no 101mph high cheese, there was no 10-4 hook, there was no 30mph reduction change-up. It was a low to mid 90′s cutter in on your hands. Fuck you very much, thanks for playing assholes. You stepped up to the plate and you KNEW what was coming. Didn’t fucking matter. Broken bat dribbler back to Sandman or down one of the base lines, go the fuck home. One of my favorite moments in Rivera’s career occurred before the season opener at Fenway in 2005. The Sox brass in a moment of inferiority complex bravado staged the 2004 World Series victory presentation of the rings in a ceremony prior to the first pitch, against the Yankees. I guess they’d earned the right to say “Eat our shit” just once. When Rivera was introduced for the Yankees the home crowd gave him a wild standing ovation in mockery to say “We got your number mutherfucker!”. Sandman started wildly laughing and waving to the crowd with a huge smile on his face. You have to understand what oddball, social aberration, condescending, competitive, utter and complete fucking assholes baseball players are at the higher levels to understand this was freakishly bizarre behavior for one of the game’s all time greats to be exhibiting. He should have been scowling, seething with fury as he prayed for the chance to close out the home team in front of these bastards who were mocking him, that very day. But no, he played the role of gracious winner allowing the people who he knew suffered for so very long to have their moment in the sun (it was actually a blue bird sky that day, incidentally) and went out of his way to make it even more enjoyable. “Yeah, you got me a couple of times last year fuckers…..just wait”. Even if you hated the Yankees with every ounce of your being, you could not hate Sandman. To hate Mariano Rivera is to hate sports, to hate America, to hate life. Not to mention you are probably just a soulless asshole. He epitomized everything that was right with sports. Yeah, it is too bad he had to be rooted for by scum of the fucking earth dirtbag guido Yankee fan low lives screaming through their nasal cavities and generally being a black eye on society as a whole, but he didn’t have a choice in that. He will live in my memories as one of the greatest competitors that I ever had the honor of watching, albeit dreading. As Walter said in “The Big Lebowski”, “The man in the black pajamas. Worthy fucking adversary Dude.”

About Zach

Male homo sapien. Warrior poet. I live in Chicago with one wife, one offspring, and Scout the dog. I enjoy various stuff. Besides skinny skiing and going to bullfights on acid, I also enjoy running, reading, drinking, eating and procrastinating on many things, such as starting this blog. I have a mom, a dad, and a younger brother who recently produced a sister-in-law. I'm the only person in my family, sister-in-law included, who doesn't have a post-graduate degree. I guess that makes me special. I grew up in a small to medium sized town in the middle of Ohio. In fact the even smaller town next door has a sign which reads "The Geographic Center of Ohio". Given this is what they choose to boast you can only imagine how exciting that town is. My town is infinitely cooler. For example on weekend nights people from my town and the surrounding villages and hamlets converge on the public square to "cruise" in their souped-up mini trucks, some bearing Confederate flags, despite growing up and living rather safely north of the Mason-Dixon line. This is high-minded stuff we're talking about here. I graduated sometime during the Clinton presidency from the local high school where I played football and participated in absolutely nothing else. This strategy paid huge dividends when I applied to numerous colleges on the eastern seaboard which were highly selective. When you show up to the admissions table with "HIgh School Football and Nothing Else" on your application, you get respect. After graduating from Ohio University with a degree in Economics that I've used for absolutely nothing, I moved to Boston. Boston is a lovely city. I was doing things I'm not proud of for beer money and I left after 16 months. My next move was to Chicago and 10+ years later there I still reside. I write this blog for therapeutic reasons. Much like some people paint to relax or smoke crack to unwind after a stressful day, I record my thoughts on Al Gore's World Wide Web for 9 friends, 4 family members, 1 person who accidentally clicked through after an unsuccessful Google search for something else, and a guy named Patriot1 who lives in a silver Air Stream in the Nevada desert and broadcasts his own radio show. Is there a point to all of this? I doubt it. Years ago and in a galaxy far, far away (College Park, Maryland, then Athens, Ohio) I was toying with the idea of being a journalism major. I enjoyed writing so it seemed the obvious fit. Then I attended career day and learned that journalism majors could look forward to a salary of $EA,TSH.IT per year with the promise of a fatal heart attack at 47 years of age. I'm not falling for that trick, I told them (them being no one, and told being saying it in my own mind in the shower). Approximately 15 years later here I sit declared the big winner in that battle: I never made any money doing anything else and now I'm writing entirely for free. So suck balls, journalism career day. The views expressed in this website are mine and mine entirely. I don't wish to be an even bigger black eye to my family than I probably already am. As a result of this I will never be able to run for public office and I accept that reality. But this website is a very dignified, well-dressed skeleton full of witty retorts and honorable deeds compared to the disheveled, stenching, staggering and loud skeletons who would come marching out of the closet to White Zombie's "Thunderkiss '65" if they ever unearthed the college years. So enjoy your train ride, your hangover day at work, your AA meeting or your dump. I'm here to serve.
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