Ezy Reading: Stuck In Enemy Territory

Evan Kanarakis

Recently, in the interests of getting a quick hit of the city life and a much-needed injection of excess after an especially busy period writing up here in Maine, I headed down to New York for a week to hang out with some friends. Unfortunately, as much as I did indeed get over my cabin fever and found salvation in good company, a number of late night dive bars, plenty of welcome beers and great food, I also happened to choose the same weekend as a five game series between the Red Sox and the Yankees at Fenway Park in Boston. Initially, given how close the teams were in the standings, I thought this would make for an especially exciting time to be in New York –a chance to soak up some of the local fan atmosphere and, hopefully, get to rub a couple of Boston victories into those Yankee-lovers. Instead, as anyone who knows anything about baseball is now acutely aware of, the Yankees simply ploughed through my beloved Red Sox that weekend, sweeping the five game series 5-0 and prompting both New York and Boston sportswriters to simultaneously combust into a firestorm of either gloating or scapegoat-hunting, and a combined overuse on both sides of such tags as ‘The Boston Massacre of 06!’

As much as I’d heavily promoted each match-up of the weekend and encouraged us to make for the nearest sports bar post haste so as not to miss a pitch, by the time the Sox painfully, every time, either gave up solid leads, made costly errors or simply collapsed in the face of a far more stocked-with-talent team, the only good news under the weight of abuse from my Yankee-fan friends was the solace to be found in getting up and announcing ‘another round of beers then, lads?’ Soon enough the alcohol numbed the pain. Somewhat. I had even insisted we gather for Saturday afternoon’s game at the Riviera Café & Sports Bar –a noted Red Sox fan hangout in the heart of Manhattan- in the hope of escaping the bulk of self-satisfied locals and hopefully spark a turn in Red Sox fate. It wasn’t to happen. Soon enough a few Yankee fans started ducking into the Riviera late in the game to share their delight at this Boston collapse with the Red Sox fans and I was again prompted into making ‘another round of beers then, lads?’ diversions.

Still, despite the misery brought on by my team’s misfortune, it’s hard to stay too unhappy in such a wonderful, ever-interesting place like New York City, but heck, let’s be honest, in recent years it has been hard to stay too unhappy as a curse-free Red Sox fan. If anything, I’ll freely admit, I was kinda’ glad I wasn’t in Boston that weekend- those manic Beantown sportswriters and local fanatics angrily calling into talk-radio who would have has already forget the elation of 2004’s long-awaited World Series victory would have been a little too much to take. And while I consider myself a loyal member of Red Sox nation and hope my team remains competitive enough to win again sooner than later, I’m still one of those lucky few who can find peace in feeling I’d happily rest easy if it took us another 86 years to win a title.

2004 was worth the wait, so bring on 2090. Paltry five-game sweeps mean nothing in the greater scheme of things.

Ezy Reading is out every week.