So, I was at Buffalo Wild Wings yesterday with my son. We were there as a consolation for him due to a brutal mercy-rule at the hands of the uggh powerhouse Yankees team in theShelburne Little League. My son is on the Shelburne Giants, and I don’t mind at all what the Giants represent, either in Shelburne or in MLB. In any case, there we were, with the 25 TVs at Buffalo Wild Wings.
I haven’t insisted that my son give up his Red Sox fandom. He shouldn’t have to get involved in the messiness of stupid ownership who treat fans like idiots. If they treat Red Sox fans like they are all 12 years old, well, he IS 12 years old. He is entitled to come to his own awakenings-about Santa and religion and politics and horrible adult behavior.
I’m divorced, and so I treat this divorce from the Red Sox the same way that I have treated my own. I have nothing negative to say about his mom-those are things for the adults to talk about. As he gets older, we may have more in-depth conversations about what went into that decision, but he just needs to know we both love him. Likewise, he doesn’t need to know that the Red Sox fraudulently claim that they sell out every game, that they apportion many tickets to their preferred secondary ticket agents to rip off fans, that they openly work together with mobbed-up scalpers and corrupt police in the Fenway region. He doesn’t need to know that Larry Lucchino plants stories to smear the reputation of his favorite manager, Terry Francona, or some of his favorite players. He doesn’t need to know that the Kids’ Nation membership is a detestable recruitment tactic last seen when cigarettes were humped by Joe Camel. He just likes baseball, and if the Red Sox are playing, we can talk about why they made a certain play, what to expectfrom certain players, and so forth.
Still, kids are intuitive. They know when things are going south: “How come the Red Sox never win at Fenway?” “Why doesn’t anybody stand near Bobby Valentine?” “Why don’t they look like they are having any fun?” I say: “Well, teams go through periods of winning and losing. They still have good players.” He’s not buying it.
So, Buffalo Wild Wings. Our order got messed up, so we were there longer than usual. On their jillion TVs, the Celtics, Nascar, MLB channel, NFL, all represented. Thankfully, the audio was tuned to the Celtics. But on several TVs, including one of the more prominent ones, they were showing the 17 inning Red Sox debacle. Wow, a couple nice plays by Pedroia. Wait, was that Adrian Gonzalez striking out on THREE pitches….by the DH??? That can’t be…IT IS…Darnell McDonald on the mound, high socks an all! A three run bomb? What did they expect? Holy cow!
I was conflicted. I felt bad for Dustin Pedroia. I felt bad for my son. But frankly, I was relieved to be out of that messy marriage. I’m not going to get too personal, but it was kind of like running into your ex and her new friend. Maybe he has a mullet, maybe he drives a Camaro, maybe he has had Botox and speaks Japanese (looking at you, Bobby V). I mean, I don’t takeany joy in seeing things go badly. After all, my son (and Pedroia) still have to be with these people half the time. But God, talk about unfortunatedecisions! Separation is hard, and gloating is unbecoming. I still have a place in my heart for you, and I want what is best for you-really, I do.
What I had with the Red Sox-it WAS a good thing. I liked Cowboy Up and the long hair and all the backstory on all the players. There were sad times and great times and we went through them together, the wholeregion, one with the team. It was like we were all growing together—until we grew apart. They slept with John Lackey, and I thought maybe we can still work this out. OK, that Crawford charge on the credit card…pretty suspicious. But really? You’re spending my money without even a thought toward our long-term future? You’re gonna rip my favorite Uncle Tito in public? You’re gonna tell everyone about my chicken and beer fetish? You’re just gonna openly mock me? Well, I guess it’s time to move on.
Is my life as a Pirates fan perfect? Heck no. I haven’t yet ordered MLB package because it is a complete rip-off, so I am relegated to online articles and box scores. It’s kind of like the match.com of baseball fandom. I am cautious about getting too involved too quickly, and the whole thing is frankly a little discouraging. Am I really willing to do this work? What if it turns out badly again? Maybe I can just be a liberated fan of the sport, without any allegiance. My life is pretty good without that involvement. I can have a one-night stand every once in a while. Pedro Alvarez! Looks hot! Let’s do it….but I’ve gotta go to work in the morning, so don’t stay over. Who needs it?
But let’s face it. How much fun is it without the backstory, the shared experience of the mundane? The only thing that really makes it worthwhile is the intimacy. So, if I am going to open my heart, I first have to let go of the last relationship, even the Schadenfreude. Fine, I can go out in public with the Pirates. It’s a new day. Let’s go Bucs!