A Red Sox fan without their saltiness, without their negative righteous rage and the unfettered venom stirred by every error or poor pitching outing, on any given game, almost ceases to be a Red Sox fan. It’s like stripping a Jedi knight of The Force.

Right now, however, I don’t have The Force.

I’m not my usual cantankerous self when watching Red Sox games. I’m rarely swearing at the television and almost never dropping my pants and mooning poor plays. Instead, I’m placid, watching the team with the best record in baseball play this boys’ game with broad smile, the occasional grimace.

It’s as if I exist in a Bizarro World—Seinfeld fans get it—where I’ve become the polar opposite of the fan I am, my own antithesis. I’m happy right now. I cheer for the Red Sox and forgive their mishaps with a shrug. I’m a half-step from becoming a damn Pink Hat.

Why?

Let’s start with Mookie Betts, who has been playing like he’s the next Willie Mays. Every time Betts steps to plate, there’s the real possibility of a long ball. If he keeps up this torrid pace—likely he’ll cool off, though—he could be a legitimate threat for a triple-crown this season. I bet Dombrowski and the Sox the front office wish they didn’t let Betts go to arbitration in the off-season. Come payday, don’t be surprised to watch Mookie walk.

There’s some of that saltiness. That felt good.

But the saltiness is unsustainable right now. This Red Sox team has hit six [insert expletive that rhymes “ducking”] grand slams in April alone. It’s hard to be ornery when every time the bases are loaded, you expect a salami and get it.

Then there’s J.D. Martinez, who has far exceeded most fans’ expectations to date. I may or may not have written some angry, reproachful things about Martinez coming to Boston and being overpaid, but it takes a big man to admit when they’re wrong. Martinez’ opposite field power is legit, and so far, he’s been big in the clutch.

So, maybe, I was wrong.

Finally, the great state of New Jersey has produced its share of luminaries: Sinatra, Springsteen, Allen Ginsberg, and now add to list “Pretty” Rick Porcello. He has been lights out. Both Porcello and Sox ace Chris Sale currently have impeccable matching 2.14 ERA’s and Porcello trails only The Nationals’ Max Scherzer for wins in all of baseball.

Again, I made have written some unsavory things about Porcello in the past, but I may have been wrong. Again.

My righteous Red Sox anger and unwavering negativity, however, could be completely obliterated at this moment if not for one David Price (and his dog, Astro). In a season popping with potential, Price continues to prove that he’s a soft, whiny, $30 million pile of Astro poop on the pitcher’s mound. When he came out of the game after the first inning against the Yankees because his hand was cold, I’d had enough of him already. If nothing else can summon my saltiness, there will always be David Price (and his dog, Astro).

Again, we’re only a month into a 162-game season. The Red Sox have a whole summer to help me reclaim my saltiness and negativity. But right now, I’m calm. I’m good. Things don’t suck.

Did I really just write that?

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Nathan Graziano lives in Manchester, New Hampshire. His books include Teaching Metaphors (Sunnyoutside Press, 2007), After the Honeymoon (Sunnyoutside Press, 2009), Hangover Breakfasts (Bottle of Smoke Press, 2012), Sort Some Sort of Ugly (Marginalia Publishing, 2013), and My Next Bad Decision (Artistically Declined Press, 2014). Almost Christmas, a collection of short prose pieces, was recently published by Redneck Press in 2017. Graziano writes a baseball column for Dirty Water Media. For more information, please visit his website: www.nathangraziano.com.

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