Wednesday, October 27, 2004

"We are ripe, reap us!"

The time of mists and mellow fruitfulness is finally, finally upon us. One win away from a World Series victory? I'm with Jackie MacMullen in asking, "How did this happen?"

How is it this band of self-described idiots, with raggy hair and baggy pants and shabby defense (eight errors through the first two games) find themselves on the cusp of doing something Ted Williams, Carl Yastrzemski, Jim Rice, Carlton Fisk, Roger Clemens, and Nomar Garciaparra never were able to achieve wearing the Boston uniform?

And forget about asking whether or not I dare to eat a peach, the hapless, been burned before Prufrock in me wonders, "Do I dare even imagine that the Red Sox can win one more game in 2004?" Partly, of course, my trepidation is rooted firmly in the fecund, weighted with weeds, funeral plot of memory where the headstone inscription reads, "2 outs, 2 strikes, bottom of the 9th, Shea Stadium, 1986."

Why not just give in believe this is the year? After all, history is on our side.

… the Sox become the 21st team to surge to a 3-0 lead in World Series history. All 20 predecessors went on to win the title, including 17 by sweeps. Each of the last five teams to take a 3-0 lead has won the championship in four games. St. Louis has not held a lead in any game this series (Horrigan, Herald).

But I'd be more given to just believe it, oddly enough, if the Red Sox had not just become the first team ever to come back from being down 0-3 in MLB playoff history. So here I am then, in this classic, psychological approach/avoidance conflict. I'm barely able to move, let alone think.

You know, I'm trying to avoid the self-referential, chip on the shoulder, Red Sox fan attitude that so infuriates the rest of the world, the "It's all about us" attitude, but what fans other than Red Sox fans would find themselves so wedged between this historical Scylla and Charybdis? No team comes back from 0-3 except our team who came back from 0-3, round and round the whirlpool cum cesspool of possible imagined outcomes spins and spins in my mind.

How did this happen?

And what of the this moon?

A lunar eclipse is due to start less than an hour before the Sox and St. Louis Cardinals play the fourth game of the World Series tonight. If skies are clear, the moon over Busch Stadium will be blood red in the late innings.

There has never been a full lunar eclipse in the middle of a World Series game. Red October, indeed (Shaughnessy).

Do we dare imagine this is the moon Ted Hughes calls forth in his poem "Harvest Moon"?

The flame-red moon, the harvest moon,
Rolls along the hills, gently bouncing,
A vast balloon,
Till it takes off, and sinks upward
To lie on the bottom of the sky, like a gold doubloon.
The harvest moon has come,
Booming softly through heaven, like a bassoon.
And the earth replies all night, like a deep drum

So people can't sleep,
So they go out where elms and oak trees keep
A kneeling vigil, in a religious hush.
The harvest moon has come!

And all the moonlit cows and all the sheep
Stare up at her petrified, while she swells
Filling heaven, as if red hot, and sailing
Closer and closer like the end of the world.

Till the gold fields of stiff wheat
Cry `We are ripe, reap us!' and the rivers
Sweat from the melting hills.

Let's see how the poem mirrors what's going on in Red Sox Nation. Red moon. Check. Sound of drumming in your brain? Check. Can't sleep? Check. Religious hush? Check. Red Sox World Series victory may cause the end of the world? Check. Sweat? Check. Ripe and ready to be reaped? For cripes sake yes, yes, yes. Reap me already!