Slate's Robert Weintraub, like many of us, loves the old purple prose of early 1900s sportswriting, the Grantland Rices, the men who painted epic tales of warriors, grizzled combatants and lardywarks too manly to wear gloves. In an occasional series, Weintraub writes about the week's best baseball game in the style of the vaunted sportswriters of yesteryear. This week: The Red Sox 13-inning win over the Cardinals on Sunday.
In a swampy soup more Bayou than Beantown, God’s Tears threatened to fall more than once. The Great Father finally wept for nearly an hour, holding up this shining example of the Pastime, and sending many faithful scurrying to the foul-smelling runways of His Park. The delay only added to the exceptional breadth of the gala, which challenged the stamina of most onlookers, and broke the tape in the gloaming, even on the longest day of the year.
When SuperYid Youkilis made the oil last all the way to the thirteenth innings, then uppercutted a Long Sock over the Monstrosity, the Once-Massacred had much more than simply a skip-away 5-3 V. After consecutive drubbings at the hands of the faceless but hardly punchless RedBirds from Arch City, the defending titlists needed a reversal to drown out the sudden cynics in the media, unsatisfied as they are with the astounding fortune Fate has bestowed on this Cradle of Revolution. Not even Mayday Malone, who once famously admonished boobirds to “root root root for the home team” could fathom such Ownership of October. Yet, for all the glad tidings, the infamous Clavinist gloom is ever-hovering, ready to pall the bright lights of this American Athens, and this most mouthy of fanbases, who rightly should shut hole for the foreseeable future, will pounce with harsh words once more.
So the Golem’s Mighty Swing was not merely a belated Shavout gift (or an early Tisha B’Av present) to the New Englanders, but a potent silencer to all the Summer Soldiers in pink Sawx caps, who were tacking onto an ill wind at the thought of the first brooming of the season at Yawkey Way (not counting a mini-sweep at the hands of the Ontarians in the Cruelest Month). Quite a feat for the Hellacious Hebe, who once upon a time could be had for Milk Money. Now, he’s worth his weight in shekels.
The Burgundy Birds looked cinch to untether the game several times, none more so than in the tourist half of the 13th, when Adam “El Matador” Kennedy smashed a sizzler to starboard with Chris “Sibling Rivalry” Duncan aboard. J.D. “Charmin” Drew, of all gents, continued his recent superb display of all-around skills. His grace in the batting rectangle is unquestioned, and now, in this crucible, he unbottled a honey of a Clemente to drop Duncan’s drawers at the Money Bag (full credit to The Ticker, Jason Veritek, for withstanding Duncan’s attempt at battery to make the putout. Considering his futility in the rectangle of late, it makes the “Hub’s Heart’s” defensive stalwartness that much more praiseworthy). Moments subsequent, another great roar drifted over the Fens as the Vermillion Victors avoided a brooming.
While Middle America’s Team will chalk up the D to triskaidekaphobia, truth told, this epic should have been in the can long before. Both nines fully burdened the bags in the eleventh innings, only to roll snake eyes. Jason “Generation K” Isringhausen missed the ash of Joey “Blade” Cora and Jacoby “Dirt Worshipper” Ellsbury to get himself deSmuckered, while Craig “Big Red” Hansen did the same to Ryan “Blackjack” Ludwick. And on went the day’s doings.
Jon “Livestrong” Lester and “Average” Joel Pineiro were the starting slabtoers, but their exemplary efforts were lost in the mists of time. Let the record state that this was indeed a hill duel worthy of Burr V. Hamilton. A mere brace of tallies besmirched either hurler’s slate, and both toiled for seven innings. The Survivor managed an out in the eighth innings, but Joe-L did not, as Coco drove him Loco (and to the baths) with a leadoff trifecta. Rubber reinforcer Chris “Cable Modem” Perez entered the fray. The Harvard Yarders were unimpressed with the Freshman Fireballer, swiftly touching him for a Kamikaze Out from the ash of Julio “The 4-9-0” Lugo that plateaud the contest. A safety and three free passes later, Perez had wandered into a speedtrap, his pitching eye now resembling that of Steve Blass. The newbie singlearmedly put his Magenta Maulers in arrears by a tally. SuperYid strolled up, in a position to Prudential the match, but couldn’t catch up to high heat. He would have to wander the desert for (seemingly) forty days until the atonement.
For Augie’s Men came off the canvas to add yet more curry to an already spicy brew. The Zeus of Concluders, Jonathan “Terio” Papelbon, was well and proper Olympian at first blush, causing tornados of failure swings from Hobbs Ankiel and Yadier “The Charm” Molina. But Substitute Swinger Duncan, whose gluteus is as Red as his flannels, went after the opportunity like it was his brother, and finagled a free pass. The Bullfighter then gobsmacked the Faithful, clotheslining an offering that, unlike its server, refused to Trip The Light Fantastic. The pill skied to the farthest reaches of the Picasso-esque Playing Pitch, and by the time it was returned to Firestarter, Duncan had touched the Domicile Dish. It was 3-3, a scoreline that remained intact through enough tribulations and derring-do to satisfy any base ball aficionado.
This peculiar and beguiling tug-of-war was combated in the context of a greater loss for all of us in the sporting green, as well as the political arena and this puzzling conglomeration of opinionators known collectively as the “blogosphere.” Yes, “Mr. Right” himself, Curt Schilling, announced that he will not crimson his stirrups for Ye Olde Towne Team anymore this campaign, and indeed, he may have chucked his last spear. Most who have grown weary of Mr. Right’s megalomania will shout “good riddance” at news of his departure, while retaining a sneaking admiration for his Leitchian body of work on the bump. Love him or Nixon him, he will be missed. Godspeed in your new endeavors.