Sunday, October 9, 2011

So What Do We Do Now?

by Ric Glaub, International Editor

October 8, 2011-Tashkent, Uzbekistan. After the September collapse, failure to reach the playoffs, I suspect I'm like many Red Sox fans, having said “they are dead to me now.” After the classic end of the season, I, as I think many Sox fans probably did, went into a funk. I told friends I was dressing all in black and for a few days - I'm not making this up - I would only go to the Internet to check my email. I didn't want to read about the Sox.

The day this is written, I chatted with a friend who is a died-in-the-wool Yankees fan, the day after the Tigers sent the Yankees to the off-season. He was, of course, being a Yankees fan, fit to be tied and told me he was done with sports at least until next April, and would have nothing more to say about the Yankees between now and that time.

I told him I didn't believe a word of what he was saying and reminded him he was talking to a fan of a club that had just engineered the worst collapse in baseball history. I pointed out to him that I had felt the same way a few days ago, but that I was already ready for the Hot Stove League - Tito is gone, Theo may be…I am already keeping in touch with all this. And so will he.

I told him, “dress in all black, be surly and eat only food infused with really hot peppers. I know from experience this helps.” At the same time, decide what the Yankees should do to get younger, whether Cashman stays on, etc.

After a pause, he wrote back, “thanks for letting my vent. I have to go to a meeting.”

The point of this is, of course, true fans don't abandon teams - we can't. It's not in our DNA. We can mourn, shout, scream and threaten, but we'll still be there. And this is not just about Red Sox fans, it's about true fans.

I sent a message to an old friend of mine today, who has been a Tigers fan since God was a kid. I offered my compliments to the Tigers, especially for beating the Yankees. I proffered that I thought the Tigers wanted it more and showed it on the field. I also told him that for the rest of the playoffs, I am rooting for the Tigers. I want to root for a scrappy team that is able to play above its abilities because it wants it so much, something neither the Red Sox nor Yankees have shown in a while.

So, we all move on. Having told a friend that the Red Sox were now “dead to me,” I will follow them though the Hot Stove League. In our case, Tito's gone, there's a good case Theo may be gone. I will be following this, as will most of you. My friend the Yankees fan, despite his protestations, will do the same.

That, my friends, is baseball. And we all know it.