In my younger and more vulnerable years I lived with a Yankee fan. He was a colleague and a close friend we’ll call Jon—because his name is Jon. He was from New York, which explained and legitimized his fandom to me. This was somewhere around the turn of The Millennium, before we married the women we were dating, before said women birthed our spawn, and before the great glory of 2004.
A crestfallen Red Sox fan at the time, the perennial punching bags for New Yorkers, each time the Red Sox faced off against the Yankees it was an emotional maelstrom. For me. Jon mostly sat back with his hands folded on his stomach, grinning as I became more and more apoplectic as the innings and the beers mounted.
(On side note, I had a brief bout of catatonia after the Grady Little Brain Fart/Aaron Fucking Boone Game 7 in 2003, and Jon had the good taste to quietly depart and not rub my nose in it.)
Then came the greatest comeback the history of sports, the end of The So-called Curse, and the last days of Yankee fans being haughty. I still watch the ESPN for 30/30 “Four Days in October” when I’m bummed out and hating my life. It’s my binky.
Red Sox fans have lived a fairly charmed life since. After the impossible, they rode Josh Beckett—and perhaps, one of the most dominating postseason pitching performances in history—to another ring in 2007, and then yet-another ring in 2013 when a motley collection of bearded guys pulled off an astonishing aberration.
However, it’s been a long time—maybe when I lived with Jon—since I’ve been this psyched for baseball in September. Maybe some of it may have to do with the murmurings of Yankee fans at work, giddy about Gary “Dirty” Sanchez who they project to be the second-coming of Johnny Bench. Or maybe it’s the fact that I’ve been counting the days until the Patriots’ first kick-off for the past two seasons.
Maybe it has to do with the team itself, the mixture of young bucks and classy veterans. And maybe the idea that maybe David Ortiz, in his remarkable swan song, has some wisdom to impart to Xander Bogaerts or Mookie Betts or Yoan Moncada or Andrew Benitendi and the other players young enough to be his sons. Maybe Papi leaving the game a champion is the only acceptable ending.
Or maybe a guy like Robbie Ross Jr. catching home runs in the bullpen with his cap is quirky enough to be endearing. Or maybe Clay Buchholz, whom I’ve trashed in the past, isn’t beyond redemption. Or maybe Rick Porcello winning 20 games and contending for The Cy Young is another plate of delicious crow for me to eat.
Maybe David Price will ride his recent domination into the postseason, and maybe Craig Kimbrel—goofy wind-up and all—will be the next Koji Uehara or Jonathan Papelbon or Keith Foulke in October.
The point is that despite football starting on Sunday—and the Orwellian Tom Brady banners—for the first time in years, there is meaningful baseball to watch in September, and I couldn’t be happier about it. I might have to hunt down Jon bearing beers for the Yankee series next weekend.
Add that to the season finale of Ray Donovan and, yeah, it moved.