OK, NOW WHAT ?
As I sat in my seat at Fenway Park on Sunday, I had it all figured out. Buchholz leads them to victory, Lester comes back to pitch on Monday and then we head back west and completely demoralize the Angels by sweeping the third straight game. Then, it was on to the Bronx and next a return to the World Series. As I was hatching my master plan in my head, something bad happened…REALLY bad. The Sox coughed up a 5-2 lead and lost to the Angels. The rage and disappointment was clearly palpable in Boston, as normally good-natured fans were turning on each other, dropping f-bombs left and right in front of women, children, the disabled, the elderly. It didn’t matter. Their hearts were torn out and it seemed like they needed an outlet. Twenty years ago, I might have joined in. No one loves the Red Sox more than I do. I remember crying when the Sox lost in ’75 to the Reds. I sobbed a little in silence in ’78 when Bucky “Bleeping” Dent hit his homer. In 1986, I was inconsolable after the epic collapse. Since then we’ve been fortunate to win a couple of crowns. There is no better feeling. As we get older, with the state of the economy, the ongoing war in Iraq and Afghanistan and the world going seemingly crazier every day, you realize that this just isn’t the end of the world. What is hard now, is finding something to do at night. From April until September, I am the lucky one that watches and broadcasts baseball on a nightly basis as the voice of the PawSox. By the end of the season, you’re weary. The pace is arduous, as we average about one day off a month. Our season ended a month ago, and already, I’m looking forward to 2010. There is a dearth of television programming, even with more stations and networks than ever. If I’m not watching baseball or some other sport, it’s more than likely I’m checking out reruns of The Sopranos, Seinfeld,or the Andy Griffith Show. You miss the camaraderie of the press box. It’s a great group of folks we have up there at McCoy. My man, Joe Callahan, has spent the last 6 seasons peppering me with M*A*S*H* trivia questions when he isn’t updating stats on the scoreboard. Official scorer, Bruce Guindon, with his unmistakable laugh is a welcome and nightly staple. Kevin Galligan, who runs our website, has done an incredible job with the music and video board, as well. P.A. announcer, Jim Martins’ dry wit belies his offbeat sense of humor. There are certainly others who you might take for granted, but when they’re not there, they are definitely missed. John, Tom and Chris all make valuable contributions to the effort under the watchful eye of Bill Wanless, V.P of Public Relatons, who runs the press box. Team photographer, Louriann Mardo-Zayat clearly is the rose among the thorns up there as she makes her way around. There is also a steady stream of media members. Joe McDonald, the talented writer from the Providence Journal, who now mainly covers the Red Sox, has become a dear friend. It is always great to see guys like Paul Kenyon and Kevin MacNamara, writers whom I respect a great deal, represent the Projo. Brendan McGair and Eric Benavides from the Pawtucket Times are always around and present for the daily dose of good-natured abuse I take from Manager, Ron Johnson. Of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention my partner, Dan Hoard. He and I have developed a language all our own, and communicate at times, by a mere glance. There are others who float in and out. Media members are always more abundant when there’s a Major Leaguer on the roster for a rehab assignment. Most nights, though, it’s just the happy, little, dysfunctional family I just told you about. The offseason is merely a month old and the sting of the Red Sox loss is still fresh, but I do look forward to April when we’ll all be together again.