my cousin eric chow called me from taipei this morning, asking me about the parade if the red sox win tonight. sports fans in taiwan have been glued to their television and he told me he sneaks home from work during his lunch break to catch the games. he said after the yankees series, he predicted the red sox would take the world series as well. i found out manny ramirez is his favorite player, and when i asked him if he wanted any victory t-shirts, he said he could find them in taipei, don't bother. finally he asked if i was getting married (very typical chinese question) and i said no (we haven't seen each other in 6-7 years).
the whole day was a countdown to the possible last game of the world series between the red sox and the cardinals happening later tonight. if the red sox win, they'd win the world series as well, the first time in 86 years. i personally was feeling pretty optimistic about our chances, the numbers were in our favor, something like 25 times the world series had gone 3-0 and 20 of those times the winning team ends up sweeping. i was already thinking about the parade, and some tentative dates were posted by the mayor, much to the fears of our more superstitious fans, who were afraid all this optimism would surely jinx the team.
julie and i got together for some korean box lunch specials, visiting koreana on the outskirts of central square. despite the fact that it was in the middle of the day and we were parking in a busy municipal parking lot, julie fastened the club to her steering wheel anyway. cambridge is a safe town! your car will not get stolen! i made some disgusted noises in outrage, and a fellow cantabrigian echoed similar sentiments.
this is how you can tell you have an inferior box lunch: 1) rice occupies a large portion of the entree (in this case, a quarter), 2) there are no sesame seeds sprinkled on either the meat or the rice, 3) kimchee is considered an option (the other being a salad) when both should automatically come with the box lunch, and 4) you're given oily stir fry that looks like leftovers. if you want the best korean box lunches, there is no better place in boston than apollo grill of chinatown. i think maybe we made an effort to stay about from baseball talk, but there was no way getting around it. listening to the conversation of other restaurant patrons, it seems everyone was talking about the red sox. for dessert, we got these bowls of cold soup with bits of crushed ginger and some pine nuts floating on top. julie was afraid to drink hers so i finished off her portion.
we browsed around pearl art supply for a little bit. i found an assorted pack of colored tissue paper for $2.50 (i paid $8 for mine), the perils of not comparison shopping (i've learned my lesson). julie gave me a ride back to my place. i walked to the bank to deposit a check, then came back home and motorcycled to the somerville target to get some halloween candy and a blank videotape so i can tape the game. i went to the cafe afterwards, where my hot water bottle had arrived (along with many bottles of aromatherapy hand soap), and where i enjoyed a cup of thai bubble ice tea before coming back home again. i engorged myself on continuous red sox world series coverage, flipping between the various local news and sports channels. when evening rolled around, i warmed up some leftover rice noodles for dinner. julie showed up before 8pm. i went downstairs to light the pilot light and turn on the heat. we set up my clock radio with the speakers so we could hear the local WEEI announcers instead of the fox guys. and then, just like that, game 4 of the world series started...
right off the bat, johnny damon hits a single homerun. if neither team scored any runs after the first inning, the red sox would still win, it was that kind of game. derek lowe delivered another great performance, shutting out the cardinals completely. in the 3rd inning, trot nixon hits a double to score 2 more runs for the red sox, which was more than we needed since the cardinals would finish the game without a single run. it was kind of painful to watch. i like rooting for the underdogs, and for the first time in a long time, the underdogs weren't the red sox. as much as i wanted the red sox to win it, i was secretly hoping the cardinals could get at least something going, maybe a single homerun, so they wouldn't get shut out.
in between commercial breaks, i'd run into my backyard and set up the tripod with my digital camera to take some lunar eclipse snapshots. julie didn't seem too concerned about the celestial event that was happening outside, although she did periodically come out to look at it with a pair of binoculars (with the naked eye it didn't seem red, but with the scope it had a reddish hue). the eclipse was totally distracting me from the game, which, to be quite honest, almost seemed boring after the 3-0 lead, as the score grounded to a standstill, and with each inning, the red sox was hurling towards the inevitability of a world series victory.
after seeing the eclipse reach totality, i could finally come back inside and settle myself down for the final innings. if the red sox were going to win tonight, i didn't want to miss a single minute from this moment forth! while i was chatting online with dan and john about postgame celebrations, julie was once more a nervous wreck, anxious that the red sox would screw up the victory somehow. 7th inning. 8th inning. finally, the last inning of the game, 3 outs away from a world series championship win. pujols gets on base. rolen gets out. edmonds gets out. then renteria grounds the ball to keith foulke, who almost walks it over to first base, making sure he doesn't drop the ball, before tossing it to doug mientkiewicz for the final out. mientkiewicz flies up in the air, and the red sox win the world series!
i was more shocked than i was filled with joy. i mean, this is it! this is what boston (and new england) sports fans have been waiting for, generation after generation. after the rollercoaster month of october, here we were, champions, one for the history books, and the record books as well. all that talk about the curse, about babe ruth, about 1918, it's all over, like the ugly frog getting kissed by the princess and becoming a handsome prince, the boston red sox, 86 years later, are winners again. then i started feeling bad. not because we won, but because of all those players in the past who couldn't share in this victory. each in their own way contributed to the colorful red sox story, but they could only enjoy this victory vicariously, like the rest of us. players like jason valentin, mo vaughn, brian daubach, shay hillenbrand, carl everett, and of course nomar, it just doesn't seem fair (and these are just the recent guys, there's plenty more in the team's illustrious history). and those poor cardinal players and their fans! they deserve a better fate than being swept in the world series (although apparently it's not as uncommon as you might think). it just wasn't their year. it almost seems like the red sox were destined to win it all, that fate itself had already written the script with a bit of hollywood flair for the dramatic: sweeping the angels first, battling the yankees in a complete series after almost being swept themselves, then finally making quick work of the cardinals (whom on paper seemed every bit as likely to beat the red sox). i mean, there was a lunar eclipse in progress during the whole game! what's more auspicious than that? seeing the guys celebrating in the locker room, i was happy again, to be a part of this amazing season, to be a lucky red sox fan to have witnessed this victory in my lifetime.
julie called her parents and boyfriend, while i received a call from megan and christine, somewhere in new york city, congratulating me on the red sox's world series win ("i'm a mets fan," megan told me, when i said the yankees might do better next year). i had some champagne in the fridge (a present from bruce on my 30th birthday earlier this year) and figured it'd be the perfect occasion to open the bottle. dan and cymara came over and together the four of us walked down to harvard square to check out the street celebration, which we assumed would be crazy.
the closer we got, the more honking we could hear. julie brought her horn and would honk it either to reply to cheering fans passing by or to rouse pedestrians into bouts of cheering themselves. the scene in harvard square was surprisingly lackluster following a world series win. either people were saving up their energy for the eventual parade, or, most of them went down to fenway park for the real action. the gathering was much smaller than when the red sox beat the yankees, just enough people to fill the area around the pit. there was no band this time, just an attention-starved trumpeteer dressed in a tuxedo, weakly playing tunes with his instrument. by the time we got there the cops had opened up the traffic from mass ave. the crowd, sensing the lack of energy, soon dispersed.
with nothing more to see, we walked down mass ave, back to my place. a streaker ran through the street and quickly put his clothes back on before the police arrived. dan and cymara walked back home, while julie came in for a little bit more live coverage of the celebration in kenmore square, where the riot police had already scattered the crowd.