Hello. Hi. My name’s Red. Take a seat. Get comfy. Grab a beer. And listen up. Because I’ve got something important to tell you.
As a pale man of Irish descent, the transition from steamy summer months to crisp fall days is my wheelhouse. The fact that we will have meaningful baseball at this time of year is pretty much the only thing keeping me going right now.
Because, as I’ve said many times before, baseball in October means everything.
It means that it will likely be cold at night, and that means wearing gloves to the games and finding warmth in a flask of Jameson’s and the communal vibe of the bleachers.
It means pacing and punching walls and rubbing my temples and shouting at the television because GODDAM YOU, TELEVISION, WHEN JD CAN’T DRIVE IN THAT RUN.
It means wearing the Pedro jersey every day, because you are superstitious and you have to rep your set.
It means calling friends, family and total, random strangers after every inning to compare notes.
It means high-fiving strangers in the street and seeing Red Sox T-shirt vendors on every corner and letting out that guttural wail when the last out is recorded and the boys get one game closer.
It means entire evenings in front of the TV, because after the game we’ve got the post-game and then the post-post-game and then Twitter and highlight reels and never, ever sleeping.
It means intensified intensity; the culmination of a citywide love affair that typically begins right after Thanksgiving, when the hot stove is lit and all thoughts are on green grass and Florida skies.
It means treating everyone to repeated viewings of the entire DVD set of the 2004 Playoffs, Clockwork Orange-style.
It means drink after drink and the torment of losses and I’ll-never-let-those-pricks-do-it-to-me-again-I’ve-had-it-this-time-I’m-gone-and-I’m-not-coming-back but you know you will, so you sigh, take your medicine, and start planning for opening day.
It means knowing and accepting that it can end at any time, that any given game can be the season finale, the last time you’ll see Devers swat a home run or Robert Dalbec’s eternally slick mane or Chris Sale’s skeletal frame ambling out of the bullpen.
It means knowing that, like any good love affair, the heart you’ve opened up and given away so willingly may end up speared, torn into two throbbing pieces and left on the frozen ground.
It means losing focus in meetings, letting your relationships slide, leaving that big project for another day, cutting out of work early, and driving through Kenmore and the Fens, even though you know you’ll be stuck in miles of traffic, just to soak in that crisp, sausage-tainted air.
It means lying in bed but never quite finding sleep, your stomach knotting as it replays a particularly horrific inning or contemplates the next day’s match-up.
It means that the Red Sox will either win the World Series or get bounced before reaching the promised land and leave us crying in the middle of the road.
It means… everything
And we can’t wait.