Saturday, May 03, 2003

At The Turning Of The Tide By William Rivers Pitt
Thursday 1 May 2003

One of my earliest memories of childhood is of sitting in front of the television watching a baseball game with my mother in our apartment outside Boston. The year was 1975, and the Cincinnati Reds were playing the Red Sox in what has gone down in history as one of the most remarkable World Series matchups ever. The Reds were winning the game I was watching that day, and I turned to my mother and told her I was rooting for them. I wanted to be on the winning side, and even at that tender age I could sense the aura of inevitable doom that cloaked our hometown team.

You can’t do that, she said. The Red Sox are your team. It is wrong to bail out on them because they are losing. You stand with your team no matter what. Besides, she finished, some day they will actually win this thing, and you’ll miss out on the celebration if you discarded them before that happens.

I’ve been a die-hard Red Sox fan ever since. I remember Bucky Dent the way some people remember Sirhan Sirhan. I was watching the World Series in a basement in Newton in 1986 when that ball skipped nimbly through the legs of Bill Buckner, and my friend was so outraged that he punched the low-hanging ceiling hard enough to dent the linoleum floor of the kitchen above us. I just sat there, numb and dumb, with ceiling tile dust in my hair and a sinking feeling in my gut. Later that night we were walking back from the store when we were accosted by an abysmally inebriated Sox fan whose whole world had been destroyed. He made us do pushups on the greasy blacktop of a gas station to offer some sort of atonement to a universe that had, once again, reached out to crush us. We were young and small, he was huge and drunk, and as my nose lifted and fell off that oil-soaked pavement I thought, somehow, that it all made sense.

In George W. Bush’s America, being even moderately liberal these days is like being a Red Sox fan. You know what needs to happen, you know what is right, and yet some cosmic force akin to the lingering shade of Babe Ruth always manages to ascend from purgatory and batter you into dust right at the moment when something good and great is within your grasp. If you do manage to get your lineup together - home run issues, grand slam arguments, All Star players - you will get completely outspent by the damned Yankees who are sitting in your division with more money than God and the will to use it. Baseball, like politics, has no spending limits.

Read more at -- this article -- At the Turning of the Tide, by William Rivers Pitt

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