Monday, October 22, 2007

Memories of Billy Rohr

It did not take long for the grumbling to start: “Are the Red Sox ready to become the Yankees?”

A knife to the heart of those whose lives have been defined by the seasonal yearnings and disappointments inherent to the chosen path; a sharp rebuke to those whose own human frailty led them over time to root as much for the defeat of their Nemesis, as for that chimerical moment when their own heroes might emerge triumphant.

A close friend––still warm from the heat of Dustin Pedroia’s night––remarked of what the future might hold for a team whose young roster of Beckett and DiceK, Ellsbury and Papelbon, DelCarmen, Lester and Buccholtz––along with the evening’s diminutive star––have their best years before them, but was quick to add that should they sign A-Rod, she would “have a hard time continuing as a Red Sox fan.”

For such is the life. Once the yearning defines the soul, the conditionality is inevitable. We are fans, after all, not whores. We cannot be bought. After a lifetime of waiting, what is another decade? Better that than debasing the very meaning of the journey.

The Red Sox have won nothing yet this year––thought last night was a glorious night––and just one World Series to redeem the hopes of those who forty years ago saw a season begin with Billy Rohr blanking the Yankees, and who believed that with he and Yaz and Rico and Boomer, Santiago and Lonborg, the future was bright. A young roster can come to naught, as the Conigliaro brothers can attest, as the heroics of Bernie Carbo and Hendu and Pudge can so easily be taken away by Calvin Shiraldi and Johnny Mac.

It is way too soon to rest on one night’s laurels, for this may be Colorado’s year, but we learn to love the moment and to feel the warmth from the moment that Coco Crisp––a name for the ages––crashed into the wall with the ball cradled in his grasp––for Siddhartha Gautama and every Red Sox fan knows that such moments are fleeting. Each must be inhaled and savored for what it is, for the journey itself.

The moment is barely past when we are awoken from our reverie.

Unable to tolerate the moment of joy for Red Sox fans, whose torment they have so enjoyed over the decades, New York writers dig deep for a journalistic Haiku, and strike with full force.

“Are the Red Sox ready to become the Yankees? Are they ready?”

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