From Faithful, the Stephen King/Stewart O’Nan Red Sox book from last year, a great encapsulation of the geogrpahy of Red Sox fandom:
But still . . . the gloom. Why?
Because that Reverend Dimmesdale-Hester Prynne jazz in The Scarlet Letter isn’t just romantic bullshit, that’s why. There is a very real streak of dour possimism in the New England character, and it runs right down into the bedrock. We buy new cars expecting them to be lemons. We put in new heating systems and expect them not just to go tits-up but to do it stealthily, thereby suffocating the kiddies in their beds (but leaving us, their parents, to grieve and blame ourselves for at least fifty years). We understand we’re never going to win the lottery, we know we’ll get that unpassable and exquisitely painful gallstone on a hunting or snowmobiling trip far from medical help, and that Robert Frost was fucking-A right when he said that good fences make good neighbors. We expect the snow to turn to freezing rain, rich relatives to die leaving us nothing, and the kids (assuming they escape the Black Furnace Death) to get refused by the college of their choice. And we expect the Red Sox to lose. It’s the curse, all right, but it has nothing to do with the Bambino; it’s the curse of living here, in New England, just up that Christing potholed I-84 deathroad from the goddamn New York Yankees.
He doesn’t give a shit if they want him to do rehab stints. He wants back on that mound, dammit, even if he has to punch out an old lady to get there. His attitude right now reminds me of the Denis Leary monologue about John Wayne needing to have a lung removed, and his caricatured response: “TAKE EM BOTH OUT I DON’T FUCKIN NEED EM.” Keith Foulke could have needed a bionic knee replacement, and I get the sense his response might have been, FINE MOTHERFUCKER PUT THE OTHER ONE IN WHILE YOU’RE AT IT. And then he would spit. On the floor. In the doctor’s office.
Thing is, I had pretty much the same reaction when I read the bit in the Globe about Foulke’s rehabilitation.
So read the whole thing. And pick up Faithful if you get the chance — it’s a good play-by-play of the 2004 season, and, what is more, has some really great moments of insight into baseball and the Red Sox. And it’s pretty damned funny, too.