Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Summer Meltdowns and You

My pen's been dry for too long, collecting dust on the shelf while I lived the subterranean life of a stagehand with back-to-back megajobs. The first was Fashion Week in New York, in which Lincoln Center's Damrosch Park sprouts a tent city populated with Smart Cars and Dumb Models. And some clothes. And a lot of lights. And the second was the P-5, yo. No, not West Coast old-school rappers of a certain age, but rather the coalescing of a squad of homogenous, yet motley hopefuls just compared, mere moments ago on NPR, to the denizens of the Star Wars cantina. This gathering took me out of town for 10 days, and also required a lot of lights.

Meanwhile, there was epic chokage with my beloved Boston Red Sox. Like Old-Testament, Zombie Apocolypse, Cormac McCarthy "The Road" style chokage. It made the 2007 Mets look like winners. It made the ending of "Monty Python and the Holy Grail," make sense. It made a lot of Yankee fans happy.

And if we're talking proportions on the scale of rhino-choking, then the question becomes, Where do you find a guy who can give a rhino the Heimlich Maneuver? I'm going with this guy:

Last night, Ryan Lavarnway, a September call-up from the Sox farm system, provided his team with an injection of life-saving juice. (Seriously--think Uma getting stabbed with a hypo in "Pulp Fiction." In this case, the Red Sox have been snorting the heroin, and Ryan Lavarnway is Travolta, and he may or may not have been arguing with, say, Jed Lowrie about who would plunge the needle into the boss's girlfriend.)

But it was Lavarnway who rose to the occasion, belting his first two Major League home runs, and helping the Sox limp into the final game of the season with the AL Wild Card up for grabs. I'd prefer Game 7 of the Championship Series against the Yankees to our current scenario. Our pitching staff has splintered like a cheap deli toothpick and injuries have hobbled a once-fearsome offense. Kevin Youkilis was last seen peddling Amway products in an effort to recoup lost value from the Bedard acquisition, and Carl Crawford's been looking into installing an assisted-living efficiency behind the Green Monster in Fenway. But for the moment, a philosophy major from Yale is the man. So let's be philosophcal.

We've been here before. Only the present matters. One game at a time. And so....  If the Rays win their game against the Yankees tonight at Trop Field, and no one goes to watch it, does it matter? Unfortunately, Yes.

There's been a lot of e-chatter about how funny it is for Red Sox fans to find themselves rooting for these guys tonight, but I have a different take. We go to the postseason on our own merits. We need to win. What happens to the other guys is beyond our ken. If a winner-takes-all game is birthed for Thursday night, well we'll just have to go out and win that one too, maybe even behind this guy, who will flutter once more into the breach in the way only a 45-year-old knuckler can: with more experience than you. Or pretty much anyone else.

And if not, then it's back to the drawing board for the Red Sox. Let the better team win the Wild Card. Pretty sure they usually do. Let us all earn, in a certain sense, our own victories.

Thanks for reading, and please remember---it's not for nothing that Eric Stoltz was the set-up man for the West Hollywood fast-pitch softball league. Honest!