Bill Janovitz on the Temperament of the Red Sox Fan Over Time

10/13/2009 12:33 PM |

The L: The comeback from 3-0 down in the 2004 ALCS and the events of the championship run in general felt dreamlike at the time. In retrospect, the achievement feels more surreal than ever. It could be argued that the series against the Yankees represented the greatest singular metabolic shift for any franchise in sports history. We can recognize now that it was not only the end of one long and miserable chapter, but also the beginning of another impressive one with broad horizons. What are your recollections of the comeback? Judging by the excitement I felt without the vested interest of fandom, I would imagine, to quote Lou Reed, that your mind split open?

I was at every home game of the 2003 and ’04 ALCS. I was a physical wreck until Game 7. I was going on hardly any sleep. My family life and jobs suffered. But it was truly one of the best months of my life. The fact that it happened against the Yankees, the historical sweep and killing off demons, to be a Bostonian at that time… I feel fortunate. I remember vividly watching Dave Roberts. We had great seats. We all knew he was going. I turned to my friend, Mike, and said, “Look at how far off the base he is! Look at that lead!” And he almost got picked off. When he stole, my breath was taken away and I felt like I was gonna faint. It was religious. Before that game I had told Mike’s dad, out on Yawkey Way, “All it takes is four games. No one said they couldn’t happen in a row.” I was only being half-facetious. He quotes that back to me almost every time I see him. In addition to the joy, I admit to a huge amount of schadenfreude at the expense of arrogant Yanks fans (not all of them are so). One of the first things I did in the wake was to tune into WFAN’s rebroadcast of Mike and the Mad Dog. I’m smiling right now.

The L: I have always felt that Curt Schilling was the great enigma of recent Red Sox history, because while he seems to be an absolute braying ass, it is difficult to argue with his role as a catalyst in the turnaround. How do Red Sox fans tend to feel about Schilling? Attention seeking, Republican endorsing, bloody socked gasbag? Or slightly embarrassing but ultimately bulletproof and beloved agent of change?

BJ: All is forgiven, Tim, when you deliver. When you are The Man, you can say any whack-ass shit you want. You can support Bush, Chavez, or Kim Jung Il for all we care. You go out there and pitch while your fucking surgical wound is bleeding? And you win? Against the Yankees? In the fucking ALCS? Are you kidding me? He backed up all talk. He could be the govenah! I was listening to him today on the radio. When he is talking about baseball, I don’t recall ever having disagreed with him. He is one of the only guys who doesn’t speak in Bull Durham-like baseball cliches. He gives insight. I would sign him right up if I was producing Baseball Tonight.

The L: With characteristic subtlety, the Yankees spent roughly the annual NASA budget this off-season. But unlike previous iterations of the roster (comically bloated and obviously flawed) this year’s model looks like a bulldozer. Curious to know your predictions for the playoffs, how you feel the Red Sox stack up, and which other teams you feel have a shot at bringing these bullies to their knees. Supposing Boston can’t beat them, do you have a preferred scenario for seeing the Yankees lose? Joe Torre and the Dodgers in 7 wrenching games, or perhaps another biblical swarm of insects?

I’m not making predictions. A-Rod is tighter than a drum. Joba is insane. Petite is ancient and off the roids. This is not a team of role players like their glory era. They still have Jeter, whom I respect more than most players. It all comes down to pitching. I like our chances as well as any team.

Editors Note:
In light of the events of this weekend, Mr. Janovitz has officially gone into hiding. He was last seen in the recesses of a clandestine Northern Massachusetts campground. He was spotted lying in a dark room, making cryptic references to the Book of Revelations, a cold compress affixed to his head. He has promised to emerge again no later then March, with the reporting of pitchers and catchers. Until such time, he requests his mail be forwarded.

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