Friday, August 26, 2005

S, XI

Supergrass- I Should Coco

So I had this one breakup that necessitated the splitting up of communal stuff. I got the gems of the coffee mug collection- “If You Were Not My Sister In Law You Would Still Be My Good Friend” remains a stunner to this day- but got shafted in the record department. For example, I managed acquire this Supergrass record. There’s nothing wrong with it: totally good stuff if you like trebly, snotty punk-y pop music that presages the Hives and bands of their ilk by almost ten years. However, there’s plenty wrong with it if you’re me and you think of an ex every time you put the record on, and there’s even MORE wrong with it when you’re me and you remember that somehow you gained a Supergrass album AND lost all of the Queen CD’s. Goddammit.

Super Sox ‘75

If you’ve been to my house more than three times, you can skip right over this review because you already know how much I love the 1975 Red Sox. You know because I forced you onto the faded booger green couch to watch the chapter of ‘Ken Burns’ Baseball’ dedicated to the team.

Jesus, what a bunch of characters they were- New Hampshire-born Carlton Fisk behind the plate, Rick Burleson at short, the aging but still potent Carl Yastrzemski, the amazing defense of Dwight Evans buttressing the rookie 1-2 punch of Fred Lynn and Jim Rice (best rookie duo ever, for my money).

And the pitching!

A few years back, my friends Evan and Tracy mentioned to me that they were going to a restaurant where Luis Tiant would be signing stuff. I joked that the sickest autograph ever would be El Tiante inscribing “Mike- Everything I know I learned from you” on a glossy and forgot about it. That shit couldn’t actually happen, you know? No fucking WAY! A week later, though, they produced an 8 x 10 with the dream inscription and I shouted in the middle of the restaurant. The guy who had hilariously spiraled and pirouetted his fat ass all over the mound with such success had autographed a picture for ME? Goddamn!

And Bill Lee? Forget it. The free-thinking lefty whose autobiography I read a zillion times before the age of 12, the guy who didn’t throw faster than eighty but always managed to beat the Yankees with an amazing assortment of bullshit junk pitches. Left the press scratching their heads to such an extent that he and his quotes have been entered into the canon around here (“I didn’t say I smoked marijuana- I said that I USED it.”), the man who I called shitfaced from the middle of the Longfellow Bridge the night the Sox won the series (just because I have his number doesn’t make me a stalker, okay? I’m an ENTHUSIAST!).

I can’t begin to understate the importance of the 2004 Red Sox- a team that we, as fans, left for dead so many times during the course of the season, the same team that rose up to provide us all with a conclusion that none of us would ever dare imagine. Seriously- if you asked any baseball fan to come up with the craziest, most unbelievable scenario ever, the optimal dramatic circumstances for the Sox to win it all, nobody could have come up with such a script as what actually happened. Everything after game three of the ALCS was pure porn for Sox fans, the craziest confluence of events anyone could ever imagine, such an unbelievable script that no one would buy it (which is why I’m immediately suspicious of any fiction writer who claims not to like sports in general, baseball in particular- some of that shit is just too good, too improbable). It meant so much to so many people. Hell, I’m getting a championship tattoo in a few weeks.

The reason that I mention the 2004 Sox is because prior to last season, the ’75 Sox were all we as Sox fans had to rally around. All of the famed missteps over the years hung over us like a sigil- Denny Galehouse, Bucky Dent, Aaron Boone, Aparicio, even Bob Gibson (though it must be said that the ’67 Sox never had a fucking thing to be ashamed about- that team was phenomenal in its grit and overachievement). The closest they came, the biggest moment of glory was game 6 of the ’75 series, still among the best games ever played (though I have to admit that I was stunned at both games four and five of the 2004 ALCS- amazed, in particular, that probably the two best games I have ever seen were played back-to-back, and that my team won them both). I have the whole of game 6 memorized. Hell, we all do- Lynn, Tiant’s fatigue, Geronimo, Carbo (!), Foster, Evans, finally Fisk. The single craziest chain of events ever, leading to the ball crashing off the pole that was recently bequeathed the man’s name, the biggest victory, up until recently, the Red Sox ever had. All of the events of the season, every scratch and hiccup narrated by Ned Martin, the man whose voice I grew up listening to. Jesus, this is one of those gushing reviews, and I’m going off about this spoken word baseball CD! Whatever, though. I checked the 12” version out of the library a dozen times as a kid, digested it and filed it under folklore, as so many others did. I’m so happy to have the remastered version on my rack.

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