Saturday, November 9, 2013

Exercising the Demons... and the World Series...

Sports can be full of ironies, just like life.And like life, it can also be full of those things that aren't really ironies, but we like to say they are.Like interesting coincidences, or sometimes not-so-interesting, depending on the time of day or the general mood of the person reading.But in my opinion, playing itself out on baseball's greatest stage this week, is something of an irony; or at least a mildly interesting coincidence.Which brings us back to Toronto!Did you see that coming?

A die-hard Underdogs reader may remember a post from two years ago, in that swell city north of the border, where a couple of friends and I shamefully .With about a month left in the season and the visiting Red Sox up about ten games in the standings, and leading the Blue Jays by 4 runs that night, we decided to leave the game at the end of the seventh inning.The dome roof was open that night and it was getting chilly and starting to rain a little bit, so we made the call.But what happened next changed baseball history forever.

My Bostonian pal and Red Sox lifer, Eve, who was well imbibed at this point, proclaimed the game overas we left, in demonstrative fashion (as she had been proclaiming things all night.)She was filled with confidence after a moment earlier in the game, when she called a Big Papi homerun two seconds before he hit a monster shot.I have it on video.It was amazing at the time, but would eventually prove to be disastrous for the Red Sox' season.

Surely a less confident Bo-Sox fan wouldn't have dared utter such famous last words as, "this game is over, we got this," and, "we are definitely in the playoffs anyway."It was a violation of a century-long ingrained baseball superstition.The baseball gods simply do not smile upon this kind of behavior, not with a game so unpredictable.So what happened next?The Blue Jays came back to force extra innings that night, and won the game in the 11th.Then from there, the Red Sox went on an abysmal losing streak for the remainder of the season and it turned into a historic slide.No team had ever been up so many games that close to the end of the season, and then not make the playoffs!It was absolutely shocking!And it all traced back to that crisp September night in Toronto; a cataclysmic disturbance in the Red Sox space-time continuum.I could never forgive myself.

Of course I'm not a Boston Red Sox fan, but I have enough friends who are Saux fans, that I felt a great guilt about the events that occurred that night.And since that time a once mighty Red Sox team hadn't been back to the playoffs.So given the opportunity I had no choice, it was time to act.It was time to exercise the demons.

I found myself back in Toronto, this time at the beginning of the season, and when the Red Sox came to town, I knew it was my civil duty to get out there and repent our horrendous actions on that fateful night.And for all my die-hards, hopefully reverse the curse.So I went out with a couple of cast mates Dana and Kyle to check out the game.The Rogers Centre was horribly empty that night, because it coincided with the Maple Leafs playoff game against the Boston Bruins, and well, every Blue Jays fan is a Maple Leafs fan first.There was a strange symmetry to everything.The Hockey game was playing on TV's around the stadium and the baseball game was more like background music, as the Red Sox predictably rang up an early lead.

The Rogers Centre announced the Hockey score only once, early when the Leaf's scored and the crowd erupted, but then it was never mentioned again.We found out why later, because the Bruins went on to score four goals in a row taking the game easily, and eventually the series, .And as for the baseball game, aw man, it wasn't even close. Maybe it was the odd mall-like feeling at an indoor baseball game with fake grass and controlled temperature, (the roof was not open that night) or the enormous space being so sparsely populated, but it felt like there should have been a mercy rule enforced.Like a t-ball game!The Blue Jays were completely out-matched and the Red Sox won handily.Yes!We had done it.Of course, we had done nothing, except drink a beer and eat a hot dog, but we had done it!We had reversed the curse!I don't want to take all of the credit for the incredible 2013 Red Sox season of course, and I won't, after all Dana and Kyle were there too.But our heroic actions that night at least made it possible.

And here's that irony, or slightly interesting coincidence, that I mentioned earlier.Kyle is from St Louis!Where the Red Sox have just won 2 out of 3 to take control of the World Series; a fantastic matchup between two historically storied franchises, and the perfect end to the Major League Season.Kyle is a Cardinal through and through, and undoubtedly completely loyal to his team, but I don't think he regrets reversing the Red Sox Curse.That pivotal night in Toronto, he was just in the wrong place at the wrong time; a part of a minimal footnote in the annals of baseball's great lore.Not cruel, but apt.Not tragic, but perfectly appropriate.This was the way it was supposed to be, and it all comes down to this.Tonight we find out if it comes to fruition.We will find out if the Red Sox rejuvenation will be completed and all of the demons exercised in their entirety.And if not, it's game seven on Thursday night.And Kyle gets to smile that St Louis Cardinal smile for one day longer.

It'll be a tall order and if any team can do it, it's the Cards, but fate, as they say, is working against them.Boston vs St Louis tonight!

Thanks for reading,Underdogs out!
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