March 2, 2008

Why Do You Watch?

A SoSH thread: "Why Do You Watch?"

I've spent parts of two days thinking and writing about why I watch, but I've gotten nowhere because I'm trying to craft the perfect response.

For now: I watch because I'm addicted -- and following the Red Sox makes me so happy. In the summer, 7 PM cannot come fast enough.

Each of us are allowed to experience a finite number of Red Sox seasons -- this will be my 33rd -- and I can't believe I have witnessed two World Series championships. 2007 happened fairly logically, but part of me still cannot fathom that 2004 actually happened the way I remember it.

I watch those highlights, a few tears of joy roll down my cheek, and I'm thinking that this time there's no way it can happen again. Roberts won't steal that base, Ortiz will not drive the run in, Schilling will not pitch another inning, Foulke will not retire Clark. But, damn, those glorious bastards pull it out every single time!

And Fenway Park is one of the most beautiful places in the world.

12 comments:

Mainecatwoman said...

We watch because we must. I can't imagine my life without the Red Sox.

L-girl said...

It's a joyous addiction.

Jack Marshall said...

Redsock: I watch because when I do, I feel part of a community of people who care deeply about a team, a goal, a history, and a quest. I watch because I am witness to the unfolding of dozens of interlocking dramas, each with parallels and antecedents stretching back decades. I watch because baseball is an incomparably beautiful game that still reveals new complexities and fascinations, even after 45 years of studying it.

I watch because it still makes me remember Yaz's catch in the 9th in Billy Rohr's game; Lonborg being carried off the field, Dewey's catch at the wall, Loooie's twist and head-fake, Roberts' steal, Papi's clutch blasts and hundreds of other moments, great and small, that made me sublimely happy no matter what else was going on in my life. And yes, I watch because of the disappointments, because the Red Sox really are what taught me that we're going to lose in the end, and that the real point of life is to get there with style, fun, adventure, courage and no apologies.

I have a terrific family, two businesses,four professions, lots of hobbies and all in all a pretty rich life, but what inspires me to the core of what makes me who I am is the never-ending journey of the Boston Red Sox.

And Fenway Park is my favorite place on earth.

L-girl said...

Nothing else in my life gives me what I get from baseball. Nothing brings me out of myself so completely - nothing absorbs me so fully. To say it relaxes me is to trivial.

I'm going to think more about this and maybe try to articulate it on wmtc for Opening Day. Thanks!

Amy said...

It's like asking why we breathe. Once you fall in love, do you have any choice? There is no rational explanation for me. It just is a part of me.

redsock said...

I'm lazy so I'm just going to dump my first draft thoughts here:

I don't have much of an answer beyond: I want to. Watching the Red Sox gives me a feeling of contentment.

Is there a more perfect game to watch than baseball? There are bursts of action, in which decisions must be made in tenths of a second. Then there are lulls in which you think about what has just happened, and what might happen next. Ignorant people refer to these lulls as the "boring parts" of the game, guys merely standing around, but those times have far more tension. There is not enough time between pitches to consider the strategy for the next pitch. Far from being a slow game, the more you know about baseball, the more you see, the more you have to think about, and you realize that the game happens way too fast.

Nothing is ever certain. You might think you know what will happen, but you can never be sure. What you might see next could be a once in a lifetime event.

What will happen tonight? I have been known to get excited about a possible no-hitter after the first out in the second inning.

Each season is a novel, each game a new chapter.

I do not know how many times I have been in Fenway Park -- between 15 and 20? -- but I treat each visit as a gift. I worry that the game I'm at will be my last game at the park. When there was talk of replacing Fenway, I really started to worry. I thought that if the team moved to a new park and then won a World Series, it would be diminished by not being played at Fenway.

At the park, when the game is over, I'm reluctant to leave. In recent years (I attended one game in each of 2003, 2004 and 2005) I've taken to walking down to the field as the park empties out. I want to savour the atmosphere, but that's not really possible. I can't force myself to retain the smells and the precise feelings. I'll remember only what I remember.

I would like my ashes (or most of them, anyway) strewn around the outfield grass or mixed into the infield dirt. Presumably, I'll have several decades in which to devise a plan.

Pete said...

I've surpassed the alcohol threshold, I'm going to wade in.

I watch because of the daily drama that has as its foundation the years of drama.

I must be a masochist. I watch despite the cathartic joy in 2004, after I spent some of 2003 in a catotonic state (almost like Rogerio Moret).

2004 was diminished by the 2004 election. I was living overseas, my friends were from all over the globe. How does WTF translate?

2007 means that 2004 was not a dream. I'm greedy now. I want to win again.

I watch because I hate the Yankees. This new Hankee is great--he's easy to hate. But I even hate Derek Jeter, although, under pressure, I acknowledge he had as many RBI as Julio Lugo. He would be the most overated and overpaid player in the game were it not for Jason Giambi.

I hate going to the shopping mall--a hatred fueled in part by the MFY (I think I have the nickname right) Yankee Candle shop. It's a longshot that I'd ever buy sandalwood (or any other) candles--but do the MFYs have to stoop to that level? The Fenway Frank is vastly superior.

I watched because I watched in '67 and '75 and, unfortunately in '78 and '86. And now--and only now--when ESPN shows game 6 of '86 in a cheap attempt to get us to jump off a ledge, I can laugh. And wonder if Stanley would've waddled his fat ass over to first even if Buckner had come up with the ball. But I'm over all that. Really.

I watch because I can't believe they lost to the effing Twinkies today, and I'm worried. And I hope tomorrow will be better.

To find out, I'll watch.

redsock said...

But I even hate Derek Jeter, although, under pressure, I acknowledge he had as many RBI as Julio Lugo.

It sounds like you are trying to offer a compliment, but I'm not sure you did!

I must be a masochist. I watch despite the cathartic joy in 2004, after I spent some of 2003 in a catotonic state

I don't get it. Why would you be a masochist for watching after '04?

I watch because I can't believe they lost to the effing Twinkies today, and I'm worried.

Worried? Really? Interesting.

Pete said...

My ramble was incoherent. Let me try to clarify:

1. Jeter is overated, and seeemingly coated in teflon. I was trying for irony with my Lugo comparison. Lugo is generally thought of as our weakest every day hitter, yet some of his offensive numbers compare favorably with Jeter's. Jeter also had one fewer error than Lugo. But Lugo actually moves to get to balls that are hit to the riaght and left of him.

2. I'm not yet over 2003. '86 and '78 have been purged.

3. I'm not worried about Spring training games. That would be stupid. But I will stupidly worry about as yet to unfold events in the 2008 season, just as I was in a panic at times in 2007 despite what was a wire-to-wire championship season.

4. Roger Moret and I were catatonic, not catotonic.

L-girl said...

I'm not yet over 2003.

Seriously? 2004 didn't do that for you? Oh my.

But I will stupidly worry about as yet to unfold events in the 2008 season, just as I was in a panic at times in 2007 despite what was a wire-to-wire championship season.

No wonder you don't post in game threads. You'd be creamed! You're still welcome, of course, but we're not going to like that panic... :)

redsock said...

I was in a panic at times in 2007 despite what was a wire-to-wire championship season

Repeat after me: "2007 was ..."

Jack Marshall said...

As long as it came up, can we banish the myth that Moret had his Rodin episode while he was a member of the Red Sox? That's been popular lately, but it isn't true. It's also unfair to remember him like that. Rogelio was a talented pitcher, and fun to watch.