As I’ve documented far too many times in these lackluster pages, Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS took years off my life, positioning me squarely on the brink of full mental collapse, and leaving me incapable of processing anything but bran and schnapps for sixteen weeks. Even better: I watched that game in New Jersey. So I got to endure the slings and arrows of the natives, who were all too eager to inform me of just how spectacular it felt to have shat upon our postseason dreams once again.
Then the 2004 ALCS happened. And suddenly it was our turn to bask in the warm glow of holyf–kingshit. This was the real impossible dream — a Lazarus act of epic proportions that spelled the most unfathomable yet entirely fitting revenge for the years of New York-inflicted torment. The icing on this cake was how the Gods of MLB scheduling had arranged the cosmic chessboard so that when the Red Sox opened the 2005 season at Fenway — the day on which we get to raise a Championship flag and slip big-ass, Jay-Z-worthy World Champion rings on our fingers — the Yankees would be in the house. Are we dreaming? Is this for real? Thank you, Ghost of Bartlett Giamatti, for pulling the strings from beyond the grave to make this all possible [and for what it’s worth, the Academy robbed your boy Paul. Robbed him, I say].
But now, just as Spring Training gets rollin’ and thoughts of baseball cloud our minds all over again, we’re greeted with some bizarre talk out of Yawkey Way suggesting that passing out rings when the Yanks are in town “may not be proper,” according to Sox EVP Charles Steinberg, who went on to say, “There’s a degree of decorum you’d like to show and a degree of respect you’d like to demonstrate. When it is done, it will be done tastefully.”
Tastefully? Dude, we’re exorcising 86 years worth of ghosts here. Tell “tastefully” to hop down to the Theatre District, grab himself a hooker and a 40 ounce and chill the f–k out. If we’re gonna do this up, let’s do it right. I want all bombast, all the time, without an ounce of concern as to how Steinbrenner and crew are gonna digest it. Let’s start with Game 7 shown in its entirety before the ceremony even begins, with the entire Yankee team strapped in, Clockwork Orange style. I want Jim Henson Productions to create oversized A-Rod and Arroyo puppets with which to perform “l’incident de ball slappy” ad infinitum on the first base line. I want every amplifier used on Spinal Tap’s last US tour hauled into Fenway and pointed at the visitor’s dugout for the celebrity “Tessie” jam, featuring Tommy Iommi, James Hetfield, Angus Young, Slash and Yngwie Malmsteen. I want Steven King and Stewart O’Nan reading chapters of Faithful between innings. I want every batter announced as: “The World Champion Boston Red Sox present… David Ortiz!” I want Dave Roberts to throw out the first pitch and reenact “The Steal” between innings, accompanied by the nubile yet tastefully dressed Dave Roberts Dancers. I want a naked Charles Durning assigned to the Yankee dugout for the entire game. I want a kickline of riot police paying homage to those Game Six hijinks. I want Kevin Millar tooling around on a Segway with a World Champions pennant sticking out of his ass. I want Gary Sheffield and Trot Nixon, in full embrace, crooning “Ebony and Ivory” in lieu of the National Anthem, for the sole reason that it would be pretty cool to see. And I want to soak it all in from a private suite, where I’d get to eat cupcakes with Maggie Gyllenhaal.
The happy ending is that all of this “some other time” sentiment has since been vanquished, and it seems as if the ring ceremony will, in fact, transpire at the Fenway opener. And if I can somehow scrounge up $3000, I’ll be there.