One of its most attractive features is that you have the option of watching it on television or in person. You can’t do that with your favorite television show. What’s more, you can pimp your look, your ride, your three ring binder. Your arguments can be spit on and polished up all within the same round of drinks and it’s never personal. You can gamble on a hunch, buy and trade fantasy players, succumb to superstitions, call your sports talk radio guy with a grievance . . . You can plan for tomorrow, live for today. And the best part of the deal is that you never know what’s going to happen next. In this impossibly complicated world, it’s nice to own a little thrill with your uncertainties. And sports gives you that.
I say this because I find myself in a curious spot. I’m currently rooting against my beloved New York Yankees. I have to admit, this feels even stranger than the time Celine Dion bought me on Craigslist.
The Yankees keep me plugged in twelve months out of the year because truth be told, there are plenty of seasons where the biggest intrigue comes at hot stove time. So it was more than a little incongruous to feel so good about them losing to the Tampa Bay Rays last night, but I did. Of course, that’s because there is a means to this end. And of course it has everything to do with keeping the Red Sox out of October.
It’s not hate that drives this reversal so much as fear. I need to SEE the Red Sox die before I’ll believe it. They stand on the precipice of maybe the worst September collapse ever but until they’re killed, it’s like Friday the 13th in cleats because I remember the last time I threw dirt on them before they came up Luca Brasi. It was 2004, and Dave “Frigging” Roberts would become my household named horror story.
The Tampa Bay Rays can overtake the Red Sox with a couple more wins against my Yanks and a Red Sox loss. And while there is an inherent risk in rooting for a team that most certainly can beat mine a couple of weeks from now, it’s not the same risk. Not even close. Losing to the Rays in the postseason would be unpleasant, but far from catastrophic.
Losing to the Red Sox in the postseason? Again? Well, that would be the sporting equivalent of being punched square in the mouth by Mike Tyson. And then having an atomic bomb dropped on my head. Followed by a hydrogen bomb. After which I would be forced to kiss Snooki on the mouth. And then, Applebees.
2004 was the last time the Yankees and Red Sox faced off in the postseason, culminating a six year stretch where they met three times. Methinks the Bambino finally had the shits of this blood rivalry and called the fight for good.
But I’m not taking any chances.