Thrill is gone.


By baseball Emmet

The short term memory is shot to pieces, of course. But conversely, the long term memory is spectacular, at least by comparison.
I don’t know where my keys are, or where I parked my car. (Sometimes I use the remote to pop the trunk, just to find the Honda.) But I can clearly recall the day more than 60 years ago that my father and I emerged from the gloom and doom of subterranean Fenway Park to the glorious green and sunshine of the ball field. I still haven’t got over it.
It warped my young brain.
I was doomed from the beginning. I was born in Kenmore Square, a long fly ball from the park.
I have gone about as far as I can with my beloved, last place, Red Sox. This is where I came in. They were always lousy when I was a kid. That was a given. They always lost to the Yankees, that was a given. They won is 2004, then again in 2007, just to see if our hearts could take it. Mine did, just barely.
Up until midsummer two years ago, they were the best team in baseball. Everyone picked them for the World Series. The only question was who they would play, and beat.
I don’t know what happened. Since then, they have been one of the worst teams in baseball, finishing last, behind the, gasp, Toronto Blue Jays. I call it the Don Buddin Formula, named after of the team’s worst shortstops, ever. It decrees that the natural order of things is that the Red Sox will break whatever is left of your heart. That is what they are there for.
Because I am a maniac and hate winter, I have been driving (no flying, please) to Fort Myers each spring since 1993 to check out the new team and even the new ball park. Traditionally the month of March is spent in the cheapest, flea-bag motel as close to the ball park as possible. Half the reason for the trip is the weather of course. I schlepp the rusty Trek
Bicycle about 5,000 miles just to ride every day in a bike path safely away from the traffic. It is tradition that a dip in the pool follows each game.
The Red Sox are lousy, as we have seen. The motel which used to be $35 and $45 a day is now $75. According to my Roslindale High School math, that is $750 for 10 days, plus tax…for a lousy motel.
The Red Sox spring training ticket form is around here somewhere. I have to tell them soon whether I will pay $500 for the 20-plus games. If I don’t buy the seasons tickets, I will lose them and they will go to the next person in a very long line. I will never see them again.
A life-changing decision.
Last year, I found a semi-charming Minnesota couple who agreed to share a condo 10 minutes from the new park. The entire month cost me $700 with a kitchen and pool. Some days, I didn’t care if I went to the ballpark or not.
Now what?
The Red Sox dumped a whopping $270 million in bad contracts to traditional losers Adrian Gonzales, Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett, sending them to the Los Angeles Dodgers. No one missed them
In our teen-age Red Sox hearts we assumed that would mean the Sox would hire the best and brightest hitters and maybe even some…pitching. That would tilt the scales towards a return Florida trip.
But no.
So far, they have signed something called Mike Napoli, from the Texas Rangers, for a whopping $39 million. Mikey hit .227 with 24 home runs last year. Big deal.
The latest news is they have signed Shane Victorino (not a household name) for another $39 million. Last year Shaney hit .255 (better than Napoli) and hit a mere 11 home runs.
Big deal. That’s $78 million for two players I am only dimly aware of, hardly enough to decide a Florida trip.
It looks like the Fort Myers party is over, after almost 20 years. The Red Sox are simply are not worth the 5,000 mile effort. The thrill is gone.
At least until the first blizzard.