Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Journey - Chapter 4

I gained four pounds the first month of the season. At that rate, by October I would have to add the cost of an entirely new wardrobe to the price of my adventure. I had decided that, even when home, I would dine at the ballpark. Something about purity of experience.

But living on at least one fast food meal a day, and more on the road, was definitely not what the doctor ordered.

So, beginning in May, I cut back on the bread, the pasta, the fried foods and the desserts. I would exhibit self restraint. It is not easy walking past the cheese fries, the ice cream swirls, the pepperoni pizza and settling in for a meal consisting of a piece of grilled chicken on top of some green stuff. It felt like I had removed one of the essential underpinnings of what made baseball so enjoyable. My pleasure meter dropped precipitously.

I spent Friday morning before the start of the Boston series in the office. I had a 2PM flight. But at 10 AM I received a call from a court of an emergent application to be heard at 1:30. My presence was required. I considered advising that this would not do as I had an away game that night, but thought better of it. I worried that my consecutive inning streak, as important to me as Ripken's  consecutive game was to him, was already in jeopardy.

But good fortune shined on me. The judge was actually on the bench at the appointed hour, my case was the second heard, I spoke quickly and concisely, which is not my normal manner, and by 3:10, I was on my way to the airport. I was somehow able to get a seat on a 4PM flight and arrived at Fenway with 30 minutes to spare. Disaster avoided.

The Sox, having gained early season momentum with their sweep in NewYork, were playing the best ball in the majors. The Yankee winning streak came to an abrupt end that night and they once more fell below .500.

My hosts for the weekend were good friends, the daughter and son-in-law of our next door neighbors. They had two adorable kids, 8 and 4. My wife and I babysat for the older child once and she promptly fell headlong into the corner of a table. We had not been asked to babysit since.

They lived in a beautiful house in a Boston suburb. As I settled into my room that evening, a surprise awaited. The entire room had been filled with Red Sox paraphernalia. My favorites were a bear wearing a Sox uniform and hat and  a blanket with a huge logo of the team dominating the bed.
But I was tired, the bed was very comfortable and I lacked the energy or the will to put up a fight.

I fell asleep only inches away from the autographed photo of the "Splendid Splinter", Ted Williams. The kids had drawn a picture of a World Series trophy, below which it merely read "2004." It was nestled underneath my pillow. 

And so I spent the evening sleeping with the enemy.

The weekend brought unexpected good times at Fenway. On Saturday, Michael Pineda, he of the sticky substance on his neck, threw a beauty, limiting Boston to three hits, all singles, and not allowing a runner past second base. Sunday was even better as the Bombers won in a rout and Brett Gardner hit for the cycle. It was the first time I had ever been eyewitness to this feat.

Gardner's last hit was the hardest one to achieve, the triple. He lined a ball into the right field corner and took off from home plate with what appeared to be fierce determination and amazing speed. He threw himself headlong into third base, seemingly beginning his ascent shortly after rounding second, and slid in just ahead of the tag. A huge grin crossed his face and for a moment all seemed well in the Yankee universe. Back over .500 at 12 wins and 11 losses and heading on to Toronto.

And that is when it happened.


Robert said...

You’re actually going to do this? Or is this pure fiction? I had to go back to the beginning to realize that it’s a projection. But maybe reality? Very well written! I don’t know if I’ve ever seen the chronicle of an obsessive fan before. I’m looking forward to the next installments!

Of course, you could have picked a more felicitous team. Like…the Nationals? Oh well, strike that.

Just never let Joanne know that the Yankees are the love of your life. She is most tolerant indeed.


Anonymous said...

I found it very interesting and compelling! I enjoyed it greatly.


Anonymous said...

I love it!


Anonymous said...

First, all that food is NOT baseball food. Baseball food is healthy stuff...hot dogs. Beer, Chile dogs, beer, crackerjacks, beer,
You have Boston fans as friends? Heresy ! You are just a cheap .w...just to take a free room. And I guess they even gave you breakfast?? You are so easy.
And Joanne a saint, but we all know that.