The Losing End

Twelve-year-old me would never forgive 33-year-old me. I went to bed at 10 last night. The Red Sox game had just entered a delay, and more, importantly, I’ve been sick. My day job requires me to complete a huge project by Monday. The Rays were losing 7-0 to the Yankees in the seventh inning. The Red Sox were ahead. Even in the event of a Red Sox collapse, the worst that could happen would be a day game today that I would also miss. Given the way the Red Sox were playing, that’s what I expected. I woke up at 3 a.m. and found my phone swollen with text messages. They sent me to the computer, and then I knew what happened.

I have not been angry with one of my sports teams for a long, long time. I really do give X-year grace periods for championships and championship appearances, which means I’ve had nothing to complain about for a decade. This one’s a little different. Nate Silver calculates the chances of a Red Sox collapse were 278 million to 1, given the sequence of events that actually led to their playoff dismissal. My calculus is this: Red Sox = jerks. It’s reductive and it feels correct right now. I’ll take it to the bank, deposit it, and watch it grow interest.

This is the first day since the Red Sox won the 2004 World Series that I feel like I’m entitled to be furious at them, and through the DayQuil haze, I’m determined to do that. Screw pretty much everyone on the team. I’ll love them all again next year—in fact, I’ll love them more for all of this, because I’ll want them to get redemption, but I won’t want it for them, I’ll want it for me. Nothing in my life really changed last night, but it feels like something changed. That’s the greatness of sports, even when you’re on the losing end.