By Gerard Lombardo – @wickedlinedrive
Baseball is especially important to New Englanders; it represents the end of misery. Day in and day out, with the end seemingly never in sight, we battle the dreary precipitation, and menacing threats of an ever looming Nor’Easter. Costco shovels break expediently, dirty snow is eaten by dogs and children alike, and deductibles are negotiated in many “it wasn’t my fault, there was a sheet of ice” auto collisions. The sun is laughing, giving us the middle finger, as 21 year olds awaken at sunset after long nights of “college,” and I find myself making dinner at 4:30 PM, feeling as if the day is already over.
Snowbirds flock to the home states of Grapefruit and Cactus League baseball, smartly, while us younger generational folk stick out the rare – but expected – sub zero nights. Sure, the Bruins and Celtics are capable of holding us over, or for some, are looked forward to instead of the baseball season. And there’s no discounting the nearly guaranteed 19 Patriots games, albeit only on a once a week basis. But it’s just not enough.
The glitz of baseball partly comes from the insane schedule they play. For me, the All Star Break is like a shitty vacation; great time of the year for a few days off, but what am I actually doing with my time? After watching games for upwards of 15 nights in a row, three days off seems never ending. Even dealing with the rare off day baseballers look forward to can be difficult. The routine of waking up, going about your day, but knowing that Sox baseball awaits you that evening, is both calming and hopeful at the same time. The media and social networking ensure we never miss a beat, or have to endure even a minute without Red Sox banter, news, or analysis.
Then it ends.
And now, for four months, we wait. With patience. The Hot Stove isn’t burning, but the cooks are getting their pots and pans out. The team has already canned the manager, and hinted that the 2017 power outage will be addressed. Minor league free agents will be invited to spring training, Giancarlo Stanton blockbusters will be discussed, and stories of Farrell’s demise will leak out eventually.
But for now, for Sox Nation, 7:05 PM is meaningless. It doesn’t represent the end of a long work day that is forgotten during a Sale start, or the start of a last second barbecue, intertwining with Joe and Tim on the mic. On some nights, we won’t have a basketball, football, or hockey game to tune into. The summer season, Red Sox season, is on hiatus.
Fortunately, time never stops, time never slows down. Every day without baseball is a day closer to the March 29th season opener (thank you, MLB, for ensuring more early season rain outs), to the end of 5 o’clock sunsets, and to the end of pre season speculation. Personally, the off season has already gone long enough. I’m ready to be enthralled in storylines, scores, and hot starts by cold clubs. For the next 169 days, the virtue of patience is my new best friend.