I cringed hearing how Boston’s bullpen had just blown another lead on ESPN, thus losing an 11-10 slugfest after taking the first game in the three game interleague set. The rubber match was slated for 1:05.
I had my ticket. I didn’t have my trusty Red Sox hat.
Translation: Boston had already lost Sunday’s game thanks to me. This much I was convinced.
Let me explain.
I’ve got this dingy but wearable pseudo Trot Nixon (above) Boston Red Sox hat that I sport when I watch my beloved Red Sox play, regardless if it is in person, on TV or flashing back on TiVo as Pedro Martinez yanks poor 72-year-old Don Zimmer down by his cranium circa 2003 ACLS Game 3, Sox-Yanks. Granted, in my twenty-two years as a die-hard Sox fan, I’ve only seen them live three times. But even then I am a perfect 3-0 and was anxious to make it 4-0 as my three-man posse and I put the cap on what will forever be a memorable ballpark road trip via Kansas City and Arlington (tardy readers please see previous post).
Apparently however, through my feverishly late night pre-trip packing and ensuring my small toothpaste and lotion were in a small zip-lock bag, I failed to remember my trusty dusty Red Sox lid (still not sure where and when I purchased the cap, but it could have been around the Carter administration).
Right then and there I knew I had done in Terry Francona and the fellas.
Dead man walking.
I’ll admit I am not superstitious. But I do believe in faith: the same kind of faith that separates Dwight Evans disciples from those itching to ride shotgun on the Bo-Sox bandwagon these days. I digress. Yet I was stressed. I could picture my hat on my closet shelf all the way back in Portland. Still not sure what I was thinking not packing a baseball hat on a baseball trip, let alone a Red Sox hat knowing full well I was going to see the Red Sox.
I snagged my cell phone and called Emily- my understanding wife who would surely comfort me by offering to overnight the hat via Fed Ex at now 10:05pm Pacific Time. No such luck. She instead kept the call breif, wondering had I really woken her for such lameness.
Next, I shot a text to my brother Marc -one of my six older brothers – who was nestled nice and cozy around a family campfire. He’s a Chicago Cubs sympathizer; surely he would help ease my pain and drive two-and-a-half hours north to Portland, wake Emily and throw my hat in a Kinko’s drop-box labeled “Next Day Air”. I figured since the Cubs last won a World Series in 1908, he would do anything to support fellow fanaticism among two storied franchises, right?
He openly mocked me and suggested I buy a new hat at the game.
Einstein then instructed me to purchase a bloody sock instead.
It was the Curse of the Bambino resurrected, disguised in my own forgetfulness.
All I could do was pray.
Pray my travel mates wouldn’t hold it against me when the Sox lost that Sunday afternoon, even though I warned them repeatedly about the latenight woes of “Hat Gate”. Pray Josh Beckett could at least go seven innings, scatter eight hits, strike out four and allow two runs, resulting in a no-decision. Pray Dustin Pedroia and Manny Ramirez would hit solo homeruns. Pray the family sitting next to us wouldn’t make us stand-up every other pitch so their antsy kids could buy every souvenir and over-priced concession at Minute Made Park. Pray the Boston bullpen could actually do their job. Pray Houston’s Mark Loretta’s pinch-hit RBI single in the bottom of the 8th inning wouldn’t give the Astros a 3-2 win.
Pray the Sox wouldn’t fall out of fist place behind the upstart Tampa Bay Rays with the loss that fateful Sunday afternoon under the closed dome.