Precious few things could have roused me from my idleness, but this public service announcement just had to be made. Do you know who David Ortiz is? Can you put a face to the name Johnny Damon, or Curt Schilling, or the Green Monster? I didn't think so, and you should be ashamed. Because today, these men claimed the Pennant of the 2004 American League Championship Series in the backyard of The Enemy in what has to be the most electrifying comeback in sports, ever.
When did it all begin? I'm guessing 1920, when Babe Ruth (yes, The Babe) was traded by the Boston Red Sox to the New York Yankees. 84 years, it seems, isn't quite enough recovery time for the aggrieved citizens of Red Sox Nation, who have made an uncomfortable habit of swearing bloody revenge "next season", every season. Most epic rivalries (Real Madrid-Barcelona, Republicans-Democrats, Hewitt-Roddick) see the fortunes of both sides rise and ebb from time to time in stark contrast to the other, but Yankees-Red Sox proves to be an interesting exception.
Let's see now. The Yankees have 26 World Series championships in their trophy cabinet; the Red Sox have, well, none. The Yankees added to their ranks this season Alex Rodriguez, the finest player in the modern game; the Red Sox procured Curt Schilling, baseball's grittiest pitcher. As always, this season pitched cool sophistication against wild abandon; poise against passion; Pinstripes Ltd again Idiots Inc. Last year this time, the Red Sox blew it once again in Game 7, which the Yankees won in extra innings off an Aaron Boone homer.
These statistics mean absolutely jack today.
How can I express in words the feat that the Red Sox have accomplished on the stroke of midnight today at Yankee Stadium, some point between Ruben Sierra getting nailed on a groundout and an entire Red Sox Nation raising their arms in celebration? Numbers and history can only paint so much: the Red Sox rallied from being 3-0 down in a best-of-seven series to take the ALCS 4-3; no team has ever stormed back from a 3-0 deficit to even tie the series, let alone win it; let alone win it in an emphatic 10-3 fashion; let alone win it against the like of Derek Jeter and A-Rod and the rest of the Evil Empire. Do you see how this is bigger than Man Utd's triumph in 1999? Can you fathom the raw human emotion of the players who were left for dead in Game 3 when they were routed 19-8 at home, players at whom all these statistics were thrown at, that proclaimed it cannot be done in 70 different languages across 300 newspapers and periodicals around the globe?
Demasiado malo, los Yanquis.
Trop mauvais, les Yankee.
Uma pena, Ianques.
About damn time.
10:00 PM, Thursday, October 21, 2004
the train's pulled up and he's leaving
this place, still alluring,
has lost some shimmer-
the silhouette bed of a swimming pool at dusk
where she still brushes her hair
glossy and marbled and maddening
but only at the back
here only he saw his reflection
against sheets of hair and swimming pools
the rivet in her box of tools
the back of everybody's mind
then this place brewed and bubbled-
troubled, hushed whispers
the rasp of voices
of hidden choices
they drove him from the comfort of his shadows
from under the radar, where he flew-
where he flew was too close to the sweltering prize
he could claim it and die a fool;
he could flee and die a martyr;
the princess or the tiger behind the door.
but may's already conceded the fight for december
and bruised, he boards the train for spring.
12:35 AM, Friday, June 11, 2004
THE FUTURE'S ORANGE
What I've been doing these past couple of months, prior to Sarah's godsent blogskin, is this: I've been trying to figure out how a shallow teen soap opera became late night TV's most riveting hour.
We're talking, of course, about The O.C. - and where we lay our scene is Orange County, Newport Beach, Southern California. "A soulless enclave of California wealth", if critic Tom Carson is to be believed (which he is not). Because while the concept of boundless affluence conjures up imagery of cold and unfeeling aristocrats, the good people of Newport appear to be fraught with the same insecurities and self-doubt that plagues the common man.
And this, amongst other things, is what makes Josh Schwartz' brainchild - conceived when he was only 26 - such a Gen Y revelation. It manages to combine the angsty indulgences of high school teen dramas with the sex-lies-and-videotape intrigue of adult primetime serials into a seamless end-product.
So kids tune in every week to find out if misfit-from-Chino Ryan Atwood (played to perfection by Benjamin McKenzie) hooks up with dense-girl-next-door Marissa Cooper (Mischa Barton, both the show's loveliest and worst actress). Yuppies rush home on Thursdays to see what fate befalls Marissa's dad Jimmy (Tate Donovan), who along the way cooked books to the tune of four million dollars. Housewives watch The O.C. for, well, housewives watch just about anything.
What's exceptional about The O.C., in my mind, is neither the acting nor the scripts. While Peter Gallagher does a terrific job with Sandy Cohen and Rachel Bilson as Summer Roberts is livelier than Kirsten Dunst on crack cocaine, the rest of the cast is merely good, not inspired. The script rehashes trite plot devices from a million other drama serials, albeit in a reasonably competent, compelling form - you just know that the socially-inept Chinese High-esque protagonist Seth Cohen will inevitably get the girl he hankers after, while the evil, neurotic Oliver Trust never will.
No, what's exceptional about The O.C. is the whole premise that living the American Dream is accessible - even deserved, if you grew up in a rough neighbourhood and were dealt a bad hand in life. Ryan isn't in Orange County to impose middle-class values of thrift and industry; instead, he adapts to its extravagant lifestyle like a Vera Wang gown to Cotillion. We're led to believe that every roughneck has his day. We're made to feel sorry for a guy that swindled his clients of four million dollars, because he had to provide his families with such necessities as ponies and champagne.
But who needs a reality check? It's TV. It's en-ter-tain-ment. I watch The O.C. because (and here I wanted to insert some worthy, metaphysical reason but I can't think of anything beyond the joy of watching Mischa act badly). And that, along with the killer soundtrack featuring the likes of Jeff Buckley and Rooney, is damn entertaining.
Oh and, I really like the blogskin so a million thanks to Sarah, without whom these lengthy columns would have no home.