Forgive me, fellow Bostonians, for I have watched baseball all this week after mocking it for most of the season.
I have complained that baseball is boring, slow-moving, and un-athletic. I have called some of the players chubby and sluggish. I have accused others of excessive steroid use.
I freely confess, now that “my” team is in the World Series, that I am somehow drawn to the game, the team, and the hype. I have become that person I love to hate in all other sports: The Fair Weather Fan.
I am sorry for this, and all my sins.
If it will help bring me absolution, please know that my fair weather fandom in baseball stands in stark relief to my genuine fandom in other sports. I have pulled my kids out of school and bought tickets I couldn’t afford, just for the chance to see my college basketball team play in the national championship game. I have endured freezing rain and sat on a hard bench for hours to faithfully watch every last down of a football game in which my team not only lost, but also failed to gain more than 3 yards of offense against our biggest rival.
Nevertheless, I have failed to show similar support to the Boston Red Sox. I don’t even know when Opening Day happened. I cannot name more than two of our pitchers. Before the World Series began, I had never heard of the rule that designated hitters can’t play in the National League (and when I did learn of it, I indulged in a disrespectful rant about the game of baseball generally and the National League specifically).
I may have used the Lord’s name in vain during said rant.
Oh, ye of so much faith, fellow members of Red Sox Nation, please forgive me. I promise to be a better fan.
I’ve already made some progress…two years ago I arrogantly tossed “I told you so’s” to all my baseball-loving friends, after the Boston Globe revealed that the Red Sox starting pitchers were drinking beer and eating fried chicken in the clubhouse during games. Didn’t this prove what I’d been saying all along about baseball being a fat man’s game? I was so smug.
This season, I hold my tongue when a beer belly topped by a scraggly beard and supported by churning legs gamely makes its way around the bases. “Look how fast he can run!” I remark to my family. They smile gently; they are pulling for me. They know this is part of my penance.
As for the rest of it, I will watch the game tonight. I will wear my Red Sox t-shirt and I will resist the urge to channel surf between Bar Rescue or Wife Swap between pitches. And I will rejoice if the Red Sox win the World Series.
As for keeping track of Opening Day, 2014, I can’t make any promises. I’m still a work in progress.