"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

The Big Hurt


I was walking up Sixth avenue last night after work when I spotted a middle-aged man wearing a Red Sox hat.

“How are you taking the news?” I asked.

He hadn’t heard. So as we passed each other, without breaking stride, I told him. He looked at me blankly, turned, and kept walking. I smiled, unexpectedly satisfied. Later, I saw another guy with a Sox hat, pushing a stroller. He was closer to my age. I asked him the same question.

“Does it even matter anymore?” he said. He looked disgusted. “Why don’t they all just admit it? They were all using. Every last one of them.”

Some Red Sox fans were arrogant or foolish enough to believe that their team’s clean; Yankee fans would be naive to think that even Derek Jeter or Mariano Rivera are above suspicion.

Over at ESPN, Howard Byrant writes about faith:

Think for a moment about faith. Not about baseball or the press, about the union or management, the home and away teams, all the stuff that seems so important but in truth really amounts to nothing. Such surface concerns melt away with the years, like snowdrifts in April.

You have to go deeper than that to understand the meaning of the New York Times report that David Ortiz is one of the names who tested positive in the now-infamous 2003 performance-enhancing drug testing.

You have to distill it further down, way down to the bones, to the basics, to the people you’ve met in this world and all the individual ingredients that comprise the concrete, the foundation — the conviction in the eyes, the passion of the words, the firmness of the handshakes, all the devices designed to make you vulnerable, to make you believe.

Dig down there, to where it counts. And when you get there, don’t think about batting average, or the latest news about who tested positive for what, but about the mentality of the professional athletes who spend so much time and energy constructing an elaborate confidence game.

I saw The Hurt Locker last night which does a brilliant job of demonstrating how war is a drug (lying can be a drug, cheating can be a drug, especially when big money is involved, and let’s face it, this entire “sterioids era” has been about money). The director Kathryn Bigelow pulls off a tough trick; she creates drama and tension about a guy who defuses bombs. Okay, that sounds inherently tense, but we know that she’s not going to kill off the protagonist in the first reel, so how to make it interesting? Well, I won’t spoil it for you, but I will say it is an expertly made movie. There are some flaws–you can see the fate of an intellectual corporal coming a mile away–but the performances are strong, and it is incredibly tense after all. It is an entertainment but left me with a feeling of just how crazy this war has been. The movie is as good as advertised.

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1 The Mick536   ~  Jul 31, 2009 10:21 am

You cannot believe the tears from the Nation. Living here in VT (my residence for the past ten years), I take more crap about being a Yankee fan than you can imagine. I have compiled a list of comments that serve as icebreakers which I won't bore or entertain you with, but sufice it to say the dialogue hasn't been pretty. But today, the Faithful pass me in the street with heads bowed. I want to say something kind, but cannot bring myself to do it because of the abuse I have taken. On the simplest plain, the problem with the SOX fans is that they only root for the home team and don't really follow or know anything about the game or its history. Perspective is a word alien to their vocabulary.

Off to see Funny People this stormy afternoon. The next rain, we will see The Hurt Locker.

2 jonnystrongleg   ~  Jul 31, 2009 10:31 am

my red sox fan brother said he'd rather ortiz got busted AND hit game winning homer yesterday than not get busted AND not hit the homer.

as soon as the yanks dropped the game in the standings last night, this was strctly rear-view mirror stuff.

3 Joel   ~  Jul 31, 2009 10:33 am

When A-Rod's name came up on the 2003 list there was real anger, disgust, vitriol and a nationally televised Peter Gammons mea culpa interview. With Ortiz there is sadness and a resignation that "they all did it."

Talk about double standards.

4 Simone   ~  Jul 31, 2009 10:43 am

I have my fingers crossed that Derek Jeter does not test positive or get caught, but not holding my breath.

5 a.O   ~  Jul 31, 2009 10:54 am

I have complete faith in Derek Jeter.

And I sincerely hope Roid Sox fans now have some glimmer of just how obnoxious and hypocritical they are.

6 jakegr1   ~  Jul 31, 2009 11:01 am

"the problem with the SOX fans is that they only root for the home team and don’t really follow or know anything about the game or its history. Perspective is a word alien to their vocabulary."

Have you been to the yankees lhblog? Have you read the type of yankee fan that comments there? II find it ironic that you label the entire red sox fan base one way, while ignoring your own backyard.

You might want to look into the word 'perspective'.

7 Cru Jones   ~  Jul 31, 2009 11:04 am

[2] no way RSN gets off that easy.....after all that 2004 crap about "no i can die in peace" and "if only my grandfather could have lived to see this day", basically the entire RSN orgy, looks incredibly ridiculous now. sox fans are so self-righteous about their team and their history. no longer.

sure, RSN will always have the world series wins, but the joy is gone. forever.

8 jonnystrongleg   ~  Jul 31, 2009 11:16 am

[7] Though it's not up to me whether RSN gets off easy, I certainly care more about the 2009 pennant race than who has the perceived moral high ground until the next revelation.

let RSN struggle amongst themselves and enjoy first plavce as long as the yanks can hold it.

9 Shaun P.   ~  Jul 31, 2009 11:24 am

[1] [6] I'd take exception to that line too. The vast majority of Sox fans I know - at least the ones who didn't "magically" become fans sometime in October 2004 - are quite knowledgeable, not only about Red Sox history but the history of the entire game.

No, the real issue is what Joel identifies in [3], and what I called the "Rodney Harrison" treatment yesterday. PED use is only a big deal in vast swaths of Red Sox Nation when its "the other guy" who did it. When its one of their own, well sir/ma'am, let's just move on, the past is past - and didn't you know that PEDs don't really help baseball and football players? Why look at all the scrubs who used and got nowhere!

Rodney Harrison got a mostly free pass on his hGH use from many, many Sox fans and New England media types - sports and otherwise - who later bemoaned how horrible and evil A-Rod was for using PEDs and lying about it. If it had been Peyton Manning, or any big name who played for the 2007 Giants, and not a Patriot, the offender would have been hung in effigy, and we may well have seen mobs with torches and pitchforks in the streets.

This is not true of all Sox/Pats fans - but sanctimony does reign supreme in some quarters of RSN, and certainly in lots of media spaces. Note that there are plenty of hypocritical Yankee fans too - not so much in the media though.

10 Yankster   ~  Jul 31, 2009 12:48 pm

As disgusted as I am by anything sux, and I'm really in a deep hate, there will always be a difference between your guy being one of the first five league MVPs currently active involved in a brand new fresh scandal and having your stars (one of whom doesn't even play for the team anymore) come up as being part of a years old stale scandal. Fresh scandal is legitimately more emotional, in my opinion, than adding on.

Now, they might show some grace and say, yeah, I shouldn't have poured it on so thick last time, but I doubt the sux are up showing grace. Not part of the brand.

[5] I also have complete faith in Jeter. that son of B. better not let me down! I want to keep dreaming.

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver