Because Red Sox fans apparently can’t make up their own minds as to who they love or hate, there’s been lots of “instructions” in the papers and on sports radio this week as to how we’re supposed to greet Johnny Damon tonight when he arrives at Fenway finally clean of those nasty-ass pinstripes.
Honestly, I don’t need someone to tell me what to think. That’s what my ex-wives were for. I only know this:
The 2003 ALCS came close to killing me. I’m talking death by depression. And as the Sox winged their way through games 4, 5 and 6 of the 2004 ALCS, I was gripped by that same sense of impeding doom. That feeling that the Grim reaper was hiding just around the corner, waiting to trip me up and whack me over the head with a pair of nylons filled with pudding.
Then, just one inning into game 7, Johnny Damon came up withe bases loaded and knocked one out of the park. And suddenly it was 6-0, us. And I could breathe. I felt relief. I felt rejuvenation swim through my veins and that 60 ton weight that had been on my shoulders since last October suddenly lifted. We didn’t quite know it then, but those were all the runs we needed. We were beating the Yankees. In October. In their house. In balls-out spectacular fashion. And it felt… unlike anything I’d ever felt before. And I’m a guy who’s paid for sex with all kinds of women.
I couldn’t cheer for Damon in the stripes. But now that he’s shed ‘em, I’ll show him some love tonight. Because of that grand slam. Because of how I felt the minute it left his bat. And because I’ll never, ever forget that feeling as long as I live.
Y’alls can do whatever you want. That’s your right. But I’m gonna cheer. Just once.