When you’re sitting on just a two run lead in the seventh and Wakefield is pitching beautifully, you don’t take him out. As Terry Francona jogged to the mound, I’m going to assume that people all across the Nation were wondering why on earth Francona was pulling Wakefield. I know I was.
When you see Javy Lopez jogging out across the feel, and you get this sinking feeling in your stomach, you wonder what is going to go wrong. Because yes, you know something will.
Die-hard, purist Red Sox fans, I have found, have an innate sense of when a lead is about to be blown, or a game is about to be won. It is a trait they are born with, and no amount of teaching can ever produce the full-fledged effect. So when I turned to my brother who was sitting next to me on the couch and told him that we were going to lose the game in extra innings, he didn’t doubt me. This has happened before. Clay Buchholz’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays, for instance. I called Iwamura’s home run to break up the amazing game Clay was pitching.
It’s a Sox fan thing...those of you who have this gift know what I’m talking about.
That doesn’t mean we like to see what we know is coming. When Javy came on and they tied the game, I was sitting still, not at all surprised at what was happening in front of my eyes. One run scores. And then another. Enter Manny Delcarmen to stop the bleeding. My brother foolishly believed that the Yankees were going to score again. I told him quietly, “No...no they won’t. Wait till the tenth inning.”
When that little ground ball rolled past Papelbon in the tenth, I got up. I pointed at the screen. I looked my brother in the eye. I said calmly, “I told you so.”
No, it didn’t feel at all nice to be correct.
No, I didn’t rejoice in the fact that I had almost perfectly called the end of the game.
No, I didn’t curse at the TV.
I just quietly turned off the television and went upstairs, taking my laptop with me. Then I turned it on, and I started writing this while watching interviews with Justin Masterson – my rookie love. And while his hilarious/adorable use of the Royal We when asked about his pitching development (his sweet reason is that he can’t separate his pitching development from the people around him) made me smile, and his comments about hitting three batters (and that little laugh at the end of that comment) made me grin...it wasn’t enough.
Because the sting of being right doesn’t go away because a cute Jamaican rookie makes you laugh.
That lump of...whatever...in your stomach that you get after the Sox lose in the tenth doesn’t disappear after some rubber-armed rookie makes an amusing comment.
I’m sitting here now, refusing to watch the post-game show. I know what they’ll say, and I don’t want to hear it. Because I know what’s going to happen, what will be discussed, who they’ll blame. I don’t need to hear this all.
See, I’ve got this gift. I can call the game...and tonight it wasn’t all too thrilling a gift.