Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Opening Day at the Fens

Yesterday was the Fenway opener, and as such was as close to a secular holiday as Red Sox Nation has. The Sox won, 5-0 over the visiting and, preseason hype notwithstanding, struggling Tigers. Daisuke Matsuzaka pitched masterfully, further fueling my suspicion that he will make a big leap in his second season with the Sox, much as Josh Beckett did last year after a somewhat desultory 2006 season.

The Red Sox have learned how to put on an event. From the 1999 All-Star game in which they honored Ted Williams to the 2004 World Series championship celebrations to yesterday the Sox have shown the capacity to merge sentiment and history and emotion and class and bombast in equal measures. Yesterday, in addition to honoring Boston sports heroes, they also had Bill Buckner throw the first pitch. And the narrative was that yesterday marked a moment of redemption, a reconciliation between Buckner and Sox fans. the only problem with this narrative is that it is untrue. The overwhelming mass of Sox fans long ago forgave Buckner, if we ever blamed him to begin with. Sox fans welcomed him with open arms before a game in 1990. The reality is that the media drove the Buckner story. And non-Sox fans carried it forward, usually to torture Red Sox fans prior to October 27, 2004. Thus the media granted absolution yesterday when only the media recognized the sin for the last decade to begin with.

It is far too early for assessments or analysis of how things have gone so far. As a general rule nothing can be won in April, though it is possible for much to be lost in the first month of the season. I'm just glad baseball is back. No sport so relies on the rhythm of its season, on the daily iteration of games, on the long proving ground of the season. I love so many sports, and I love them with passion and depth. But baseball is my first love and I am always glad to have it back.

Go Sox!


Anonymous said...

Yes baseball -- the sound of Spring and all its fun and wonder - good luck to all the teams -- since baseball in the last years has seen some LOW points !!!

dcat said...

Anon -- Fortunately, baseball is greater than the sum of its parts and stronger than the idiots who run it (and some of who are idiots who play it).