Sunday, October 12, 2003

"Red in Tooth and Claw"

I went to bed last night feeling embarrassed to be a Red Sox fan. I awoke this morning and felt no different.

It's a pretty sad day when trying to find a bright spot in the darkness that was yesterday's so-called "game," the only glimmer I can find is that, as Michael Gee concludes,

The bench-clearing brouhahas in the top and bottom of the fourth innings of the Red Sox' 4-3 loss to the Yankees in Game 3 of the ALCS were created by one man - Martinez (Gee, Herald).

And the one man appears to be an anomaly and not a sign that the whole team is slouching toward Gomorrah. As the Herald's Massarotti observes, "Interestingly, following the game, not a single Red Sox player defended Martinez' pitch to Garcia. Not one."

As sick as it sounds, the Yankees came out of it all appearing the more righteous and noble, but their hands are dirty as well. 

Everybody suffers from what went down yesterday, especially the game of baseball.

The late baseball sage (and the baseball writer I most adore) A. Bartlett Giamatti had this to say about rules in sport:

Rules — complete and completely arbitrary — are what set [sports] off from work, and make them doorways to leisure… entirely created by human will and imagination, social agreements for organizing energy… (Take Time for Paradise).

It's the rules themselves, according to Giamatti, that set sports apart:

All these rules are conventions meant to separate the sports world from the quotidian world, meant to organize energy in to a contest … By imposing identical conditions and norms upon play, the essential assumption of all the rules is that skill or merit, not chance, will win out.

So yesterday, Pedro Martinez didn't have the skill or the merit to beat the Yankees hitters so he threatens to beat their brains in with a fastball?

Like Michael Holley, I don't understand why no one was ejected.

Watching the entire scene, you had to ask yourself how, time after time, a sport manages to continually smack itself in the face. Either Ramirez or Martinez should have been ejected. Neither was. Zimmer certainly should have been ejected. He wasn't (Holley, Globe).

And the rules have to be enforced else

… the whole enterprise has no meaning. After all, if one is not going to accept that basic convention, none of the others makes sense…One might as well live in Nature, red in tooth and claw (Giamatti).

As a Red Sox fan, I'm used to having my heart broken by loss. However, in all my years of watching Red Sox baseball, nothing prepared me for the deep hurt inflicted yesterday. While other games may have wounded my heart, this one blackened my soul.