"Hell may have no fury like a woman scorned but heaven hath no sweetness like a sports fan vindicated." - Samcat

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Blogging Across the Border, Part the Second

Or: Heckling for Dummies.

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(photo from Yahoo! Sports)

Sadness and woe.

Okay seriously, Canadians have absolutely got to learn how to heckle. “Trot, your name sucks!” is the worst they can come up with? The worst? Wow, that’s just pathetic. It was all I could do to keep from turning around and yelling, “His name is Christopher!” But what I have learned, is how to hit them where they live. For instance, after the aforementioned “heckling” on their part, I found it’s quite wounding to turn to your companion and loudly declare, “Hey, how’re the Leafs doing?” “Dunno,” your brother will say, “But judging by the hockey mask on that catcher, I’d say some of them have found work playing for the Blue Jays.” It’s a cheap shot but the Canadians love their hockey and if you remind them that it’s just not happening right now, you can almost hear their little maple leaf-engraved hearts breaking.

I realize that’s a bit disingenuous considering that I spent a goodly amount of time at the Hockey Hall of Fame today myself and I certainly love, love, love hockey. But come on, you’re gonna boo David Ortiz and you don’t expect any retaliation? That’s just bush league is what that is. Also, how you gonna boo David Ortiz? Bellhorn, okay. Millar, sure, we do it too. But David Ortiz? Really? I guess whatever helps you sleep at night.

Speaking of the Hockey Hall of Fame, (we’ll get to the clusterfuck of the baseball game in due time), it’s pretty much the coolest thing in the history of ever. I realize that the vast majority of you (save Mer) could not care less about hockey but the Hall of Fame is just so…accessible. Even if you don’t know the difference between icing and a two-line pass. I’ll admit that all the “Gretzky, Saviour of Canada and Disciple Who Walks On Water” business can get a bit tiring after all, but I mean, he is Wayne Gretzky. Me? I was there for Ray Bourque and all his pertinent information. Because to me, Bourque was and continues to be The Man where hockey is concerned. The last time I visited the Hall of Fame, two years ago, Bourque had yet to be inducted. Now he’s there, right where he belongs. Additionally, I wasn’t allowed to touch the Stanley Cup last time either, but this time I walked right up to it and rubbed my finger over Bourque’s engraved name. I might have kissed it were I not wise to all the places that trophy has been.

Let me tell you something, you can make a case for the Lombardi Trophy and the World Series Trophy being better trophies in sports, but I probably won’t listen to you. When it comes to commemorative hardware, there is nothing cooler than the Stanley Cup. Partly because there’s only one of them, awarded year after year. And partly because if you win one, you get your name put right on it. Win two, it goes on there again. But the majority of the reason the Stanley Cup rocks so hard is that it’s the most substantial trophy of them all. You’ve all seen Richard Seymour or Tedy Bruschi hoisting a Lombardi trophy and it is indeed a beautiful sight. But in the hands of those massive men, the trophy looks downright puny. The World Series trophy, shiny and sparkly and lusted after as it was, looks awfully delicate in the hands of someone like David Ortiz or Jason Varitek. But the Stanley Cup looks…hefty, weighty, heavy. It looks real. It looks solid. It’s the only trophy that accurately represents the amount of sweat and blood and tears that goes into attaining the right to hoist it. True, it’s beaten up and dented and smudged, but so are hockey players. It seems fitting somehow. I was glad to be able to touch it.

But enough about that. Very few of you are here to read about hockey that’s not even happening. Although, considering how things are going, you might not want to hear about the baseball that’s been going down either.

Oh Bronson Arroyo, I still love you, but your team, refusing to give you any run support, apparently doesn’t. Did you steal their flatirons? Did you keep them all up doing your Pearl Jam impression into the wee hours? Did you drive them all crazy by stalking the clubhouse and saying “Haven’t lost since last August, bitches. How you like that?” Because for some reason, the bats have chosen a rather unfortunate time to slip into a coma. Maybe it’s the exchange rate? Whatever it is, I’d really appreciate it if you’d take care of it come tomorrow. Tomorrow being the final game of the series and, I hate to tell you this but being swept by the freakin’ Blue Jays is not bloody acceptable. This is a team that plays on carpet. This is a team that sports softball-like black unis. This is a team who’s fans say “eh” after every sentence. Not cool. Fix this, please.

Tonight, unlike last night, was pretty much a debacle from start to finish. It got so bad at one point that my mom looked over at me, stewing in my seat down the right field line, two rows back, and said, “You okay?” I shot to my feet, “Gotta go for a walk before I tear someone’s throat out with my teeth,” I said. “That’s what I figured,” she nodded. I walked around the entire concourse and watched John Halama and Matt Mantei (oh look, he is there, funny how we didn’t see him YESTERDAY!), pour gas on the fire. And then, just as I was hanging up with Amy, Keith Foulke came in. “Oh good,” I said, “Foulke’s coming in. In no way will this turn into a complete and total fucking disaster.” Turns out, I was right, but at that point, it wouldn’t really have mattered. Oh baseball…what you do to me.

I really miss Fenway. I mean, it’s great to experience baseball at other parks and in other cities. But there comes a time when you want to be surrounded by like-minded fans who aren’t going to make fun of Trot’s freakin’ name for cryin’ out loud and who don’t cheer along to the bloody FedEx Special Delivery of the Game. Kee-rist. And maybe I care too much. After all, these are Blue Jays fans and were the Maple Leafs playing, this series would be little more than an afterburner thought but when they pick on MY BOYS, I get riled up. “No,” I think, “I can call Bellhorn a waste of space, but you’re not allowed.” I clench my fists and my knuckles get white, “I can tell Johnny Damon he sucks all day and night but you are not allowed to call him Mullet Man.” “I can sigh and say ‘Edgah, you’re killing me!’ but you are not allowed to make fun of the way he runs.” Those are the rules. They may be arbitrary and they may not be entirely fair but they’re MY rules, so I don’t much care what the Blue Jays fans think.

Anyway, game over and I’d rather forget about it. Save for a few moments before the game when Tek was throwing long toss approximately twenty feet in front of me and I was mesmerized by the pretty, there were very few positives to take away from this one. But at the end of the day, it was baseball. And baseball is always worth it. Wade "Steely Eyes of Doom" Miller goes tomorrow as we try to salvage the final game of the series. If it doesn't work out, I'll take it as a major hint that the universe clearly does not want me in Canada. So be it.