So the hitting’s coming together, Mike Lowell has been outed as a native of Krypton, and Manny’s back with a vengeance. And now the Sox have a chance to clinch the division tonight, at home, provided the Yanks lose and we win.
Part of me takes the Malcolm X perspective, which says get to the playoffs by any means necessary (a point illustrated in Malcolm’s now-famous 1963 speech in which he berated Steve Carlton for refusing to see the humor in a particular Flip Wilson sketch). Another part of me wants a big clinching moment. Like a Josh Beckett complete game punctuated by thunderbolts and lightning and Tek carrying the entire team off the field on his shoulders while Mike Timlin and Jools Tavarez fire T-shirts and honey roasted hams into the streets of Boston from a cannon. Much, much cooler than sitting around the clubhouse, watching the Yanks drop one to the Rays, then reaching for the champagne.
So tonight becomes an exercise in clockwatching. Both games start at roughly the same time. If the Sox are up big in the eighth, but the Yanks and Rays are deadlocked in the sixth, it might be time for John Henry and crew to run the clock, in the hope that we get confirmation of a Yankees loss before the final out at Fenway. Perhaps an impromptu marionette re-enactment of the 2004 ALCS, or expanding the traditional “guess tonight’s attendance” scoreboard quiz into a full-blown, SAT-style exam (because, let’s face it, handing out number 2 pencils to every paying customer will eat up at least an hour). We’ve waited since 1995 for this, I figure, let’s do it up right.
Then again, one of the single most dramatic clinches occurred back in 1990. And it ended up being the sole autumn highlight. Here it is again, as Jeff Reardon tangles with the mighty Ozzie Guillen, and Tom Brunansky’s place in Red Sox lore is secured:
Either way, don’t be calling my ass after 7:05pm tonight. Except you, mom.