Saturday, April 17, 2004

Second Son? 

This is really a post about an odd metaphor, not baseball, and not baseball metaphors, so read on, oh baseball-o-phobe:

Last year, in the baseball post-season, the Yankees and Red Sox faced each other in the decisive Game 7 of the American League Championship Series. Whichever team won would go on to the World Series. It was truly exciting: people in New York and Boston, even those with no interest in sports, were obsessed with the outcome of the game. Needless to say, the Red Sox lost in extra innings, crushing my hopes and inspiring some lunatic neighbor of mine to start blowing a shofar or something out the window until my wife screamed at him to stop.

The final pitch of the ballgame was delivered by Red Sox knuckleballer Tim Wakefield, who gave up a homerun to Aaron Boone. Wakefield, who'd played for the Sox for 8 years (and who'd absolutely devastated the Yankees earlier in the same series), feared that he'd be run out of town on a rail. This was Boston, after all, where the goat of the 1986 World Series, Bill Buckner, is still hated bitterly, despite the fact that he was a major part of the Red Sox's making it to the postseason that year.

Universal popular opinion, though, blamed Red Sox manager Grady Little for the loss, much to Wakefield's relief.

And here's why I'm writing about this. In an interview with the Boston Globe last night, Wakefield reflected on his treatment by the Boston fans:
Last night, Wakefield was not only facing the New York Yankees for the first time since Boone took him over the left-field wall in the 11th inning of Game 7 last October in the Bronx, he was pitching in Fenway Park for the first time since that tear-stained night. The cheers he heard may not have matched the volume of boos directed at the newest pinstriped villain, Alex Rodriguez, but they were further affirmation that he had been given a reprieve instead of a blindfold and cigarette.

"That really meant a lot," Wakefield said, after last night's 6-2 Sox win over the Bombers, in which he was staked to a 4-0 lead and made it stand up through seven innings in which he allowed just one earned run on four hits. "The reception I got was tremendous.

"I wanted to give the best performance I could for those fans. They've opened their arms and embraced me like a second son."
Uhhh.... A "second son?" Has anyone else ever heard this term before? Do second sons get embraced in a particular way? Who is the first son in this picture?

OK, not an interesting post. I admit it. But that's all the brainpower I had for the blog today.

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