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.
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.