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:: Sunday, October 08, 2006 ::

:: To the People of Red Sox Nation... ::
...I feel your pain.

I now know what it was like for you those two long years of 2002 and 2003, with October of the latter year being a culmination - or nadir - of the kind of suffering a fan can endure when he or she fiercely, stubbornly, and indeed, idiotically cling to that unwavering faith that great things can happen - only to see Grady Little take that faith and toss it into a dumpster the same way Boba Fett got tossed into the Sarlac Pit. (I am such a dork.)

I remember that fateful night of 2003, when Grady Little left Pedro in one hitter too long and Aaron Boone became forever known as "Aaron 'Fucking' Boone" in the city of Boston. I was watching with two friends who were from Boston. To say they were excited at the prospect of finally advancing to Elysium... er... The World Series is like saying Hurley from "Lost" was a little giddy when he found the closet full of food.

I remember them leaning forward in anticipation when Little walked to the mound, only to see that become shock and trepidation when he walked back to the dugout without calling for Mike Timlin. I remember them recoil in abject horror when Pedro hung a breaking ball and gave up the game-tying hit to Matsui.

I remember when Aaron "Fucking" Boone launched that walk-off homer off Tim Wakefield, how their faces went from dismay to revulsion to anger to apprehension to resignation in a matter of half a second. Almost like it's happened before. *COUGHbillbucknerCOUGH*

I remember having to talk then off their 5th floor balcony.

I was an outsider so while I felt bad for them, I couldn't understand the chants of "fire Grady Little." Both his years as manager, the Red Sox won more than 90 games and reached the playoffs each season. Also, as a baseball fan with a rudimentary knowledge of Sabrmetrics, it's not like Pedro's arm suddenly falls off or he starts throwing40mph fastballs the moment he throws pitch number 100. Pedro's changeup is still an above-average pitch and he used it effectively neutralize lefty batters his entire career. It was just a fluke hit that came at a bad time. And really, you should be more upset at Wakefield for giving up the home run to Aaron "Fucking" Boone (I'm trying to see how many times I can type "Aaron 'Fucking' Boone"). I tried to rationalized all this to them but they were still bitter.

A year later, fate dealt a different hand and you guys finally won The World Series. Everything was good, and all the bad, horrible things were forgotten. Boston was joyous. Even Bill Buckner was forgiven. Grady Little was a tiny little footnote soon to be forgotten deep in the annals of sports history and in the minds of jealous Yankee fans.

And then he was hired as the manager of my beloved Los Angeles Dodgers.

All the memories came rushing back to me and, no kidding, once haunted my dreams. All those rationalizations were still in my memory. He had a winning record, he's taken teams to the playoffs, the Dodgers who played for him (Bill Mueller, Derek Lowe, both former Red Sox) spoke highly of him, and it seemed like a good idea at the time (as many, many things do).

As a Left Coast sports fan, I wasn't there to see the specifics of what caused Boston to have this animosity towards Little. But as the season went on I learned. He mismanaged the bullpen worse than Joe Torre, he made puzzling calls for pinch-hits with both timing and matchups, and indeed, there were the times he left his starting pitcher in too long. But he wouldn't repeat those errors in the playoff would he? He learned from his mistakes, didn't he?

Us Dodger fans saw Derek Lowe melt down in his first playoff start. Bill Mueller was out with injuries. Nomar Garciaparra struck out a lot. And for a moment, I was at Fenway, sitting on those new Monster seats, looking over the field, watching Tood Walker botch a ground ball, John Burkett get pulled after two innings, two unearned runs score thanks to another Manny Ramirez brain fart, Johnny Damon throw like a girl, and an Alfonso Soriano homerun flying right towards me thanks to a Ramiro Mendoza fast(meat)ball. Truly, and it came without the aid of any drugs.

And to add to my confusion, in what's sure to go down as one of the colossal blunders of MLB postseason history, TWO Dodgers got thrown out at the plate within seconds of each other, which made me wonder out loud if Dale Sveum was our Third Base Coach. (I knew better, but I did have a brief, but very vivid, yet hazy moment there.)

So in a span of four get-wrenching days, Dodger fans have to suffer through a period of ignominy that Red Sox Nation never endured, by getting swept by the very beatable Mets (getting swept last year by the White Sox doesn't count because no one outside of New England though they would advance, and the five-game sweep this season against the Yankees is also excluded since that's the regular season). Blown calls, bad relief pitchers (Brad Penny? Seriously?!), horrible lineups (why did you play 82 year old Kenny Lofton?! He couldn't come up with a hit if you gave him an aluminum bat and had little league girls pitch to him), and a failure to adjust to the situations. (Sure the players couldn't come through either when it mattered, but whatever.)

And now our season is over more prematurely than a fifteen year old getting laid the first time. The only positive I can get from this is that a year after Grady Little got fired, the Sox won the very next year (otherwise know as the "Buck Showalter Theory") so I'm hoping that maybe, just maybe something equally miraculous might happen to My Dodgers. It's the only faith I have right now. That's all I have left.

At least we didn't get beat by Aaron "Fucking" Boone.


Week 5 Picks:
Detroit over Minnesota
New England over Miami
New Orleans over Tampa
Washington over New York
Carolina over Cleveland
Chicago over Buffalo
St. Louis over Green Bay
Indy over Tennessee
Frisco over Oakland
New York over Jacksonville
Kansas City over Arizona
Philly over The Circus
Pittsburg over San Diego
Denver over Baltimore

Last Week: 10-4
Total: 40-20

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:: Miscellaneous Ramblings by Dan-E at 1:04 AM [+] :: | 0 comments

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