Monday, May 7, 2012

Childhood Revisited

I try to avoid any mention of professional sports because it's all a racket to sell after shave lotion. When I was a teenager I played baseball and thought I had the talent to make money. I was the only one who thought that was true. I also loved the Red Sox despite their long love affair with 4th place. But in 1986 I thought all the pieces had come together for an ultimate victory. This is expanded upon in my book, Memorabilia, soon to be released in digital format, for download to your e book reader but it is currently available for free.

Now, in 1975 one of the key injuries that hurt the Red Sox was losing Jim Rice before the postseason with the Reds. Of the 7 games played 5 of them were decided by 1 run. The Red Sox lost 3 of them and that's the difference. One run. By contrast the Sox swept the 1975 ALCS by a combined 18-7. Jim Rice would've been the difference but he took a pitch off his hand and missed the playoffs. He also almost won the rookie of the year and MVP but didn't play in the post season. Ouch. Subtract Joe Morgan from the Reds lineup and see how good they do. Hell, that series was so close that if the umpires call Ed Armbrister out in the bottom of the 10th inning when he blatantly interfered with Carlton Fisk to set up the winning run. The Red Sox were evenly matched with the Reds without Rice, and with him they definitely win that World Series. But that's all speculation because they lost in the top of the ninth inning of Game 7...they lost 4-3. I used to listen to the LP recording of that series in the middle of the night and cry myself to sleep dreaming of the day they would win. Boo hoo.

That set up another 11 years of losing until 1986 when the Red Sox overachieved with Wade Boggs, Spike Owen, Roger Clemens, Jim Rice, Marty Barrett, Bill Buckner, Dwight Evans, Tony Armas and Tom Seaver.
Yes, we forget Tom Seaver, the hall of fame pitcher was on that team because he only got half a season with the BoSox after being swapped from the White Sox for Steve Lyons. Now, If Tom Seaver pitches only one game that matters for the Red Sox, that game would have to be Game 3 of the World Series. The first game in Fenway, the Sox are up 2-0 in the Series. They needed experience and they needed a pitcher with guts and poise. They needed a leader. I remember that game because I really didn't have any confidence in Game 4 starter Al Nipper so, Game 3 was very important. If Tom Seaver had been available to follow up Bruce Hurst and Clemens then I don't think the Mets stand a chance. But Seaver had hurt his knee before the post season (so did Tony Armas) so the Sox had ALCS hero Dave Henderson in Centerfield and the Game 3 starting pitcher for the Red Sox was an animated man named Oil Can Boyd.
In a "Say it ain't so" moment I got Oil Can's autograph outside the player's parking lot and he was the only player who really didn't look healthy...who smoked cigarettes, if I recall, and now I learn he smoked crack cocaine every game of 1986...and pretty much every day of his entire 10 year career. That would explain why he signed my Sox yearbook and said, "Hey, Boy, go hustle me up some rock and I'll give you my glove."*
Instead of Tom Seaver, the Red Sox gave the game 3 ball to A FUCKING CRACKHEAD! Yes, Boyd won 16 games with The Sox, but if I remember he was always pitching when the Sox explosive offense scored 14 runs. Boyd surrenders 7 to the pathetic Mariners and still gets the win. See? This is why I don't go into sports anymore. The research it involves is so pitifully pointless, like examining the toilet flushing strength on the Titanic or researching the canvas material of a sunken Spanish Galleon. Who cares?
Oggy, after scoring some crack cocaine in 1986

Well, Boyd was part of my team. I thought he was animated, outspoken, excitable, but I never questioned his commitment. So he liked to vacation in Haiti. Big deal? He lost Game 3, giving up a home run to the late Lenny Dykstra on like the third pitch of the game. YOUR CRACK COCAINE WASN'T WORKING TOO GOOD WAS IT, FUCKHEAD? The game got out of hand and the Sox lost. Then Al Nipper lost Game 4 to tie the series and Hurst won Game 5. Then Game 6 arrived and Clemens pitched the game of his life (he wasn't doing steroids yet) but some horrible decisions by manager McNamara pulled Clemens for a fruitless at bat by the worthless Mike Greenwell. That left Calvin Schiraldi in charge of the mound and he totally fell apart. There was an error by the first baseman and the Sox snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.
Oh, where was Tom Seaver? So, the Sox lost game 6 and Oil Can was going to lose game 7 but there was a rain delay for one day and for some reason manager McNamara regained his senses long enough to give Bruce Hurst the chance to start Game 7.

Yeah, it's really crazy that he didn't let A FUCKING CRACK JUNKIE START GAME 7 OF THE WORLD SERIES!

Never mind that MY ENTIRE CHILDHOOD HINGED ON THEM WINNING THAT WORLD SERIES. TOO BAD THAT I WAS ONLY 15 Years old and didn't smoke crack because I HAD TO LIVE WITH THE CONSEQUENCES OF WHAT HAPPENED AND I HAD TO BE SOBER. (Oggy punches computer screen until his knuckles bleed)

It turns out that half of the Mets were also using coke and crack (Gooden, Strawberry, Hernandez, etc.) I think young Oggy and Gary Carter (RIP) and Dwight Evans were the only people involved with that World Series who weren't smoking crack every day in 1986. Who knows, maybe Oil Can would've won Game 7 causing me to celebrate by smoking crack...and leading to my own crack addiction. It's all speculation.

So, that's why I don't write about sports anymore.
I'm going to go smoke some crack because I'm due.

*Not true.
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Man in the Van by Oggy Bleacher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.