Same game, different episode.
Sox-Astros rematch this weekend. Random heroics; unexpected stars; the dependables falling apart. The scene just set itself up for nostalgia. A young man's memory playing a personal highlight reel.
It was raining that night, that much I can say for sure.
Lottie's Pub, Bucktown.
I didn't notice that we'd racked up a substantial tab.
I didn't notice that I might've tanked on the GRE that afternoon.
I didn't notice that I had to work the next day.
I didn't notice that this was what my grandpa was always talking about.
I didn't notice that the TV by our table had a yellow tint in the picture.
I didn't notice that some people didn't make it to the bar that night.
I didn't notice much...
...because that night, in the rain and fog under the Chicago moon, we saw with our own eyes that they had done it.
For that one magical night, the Sox were the undisputed best team in baseball. And we celebrated, and we danced and we drank and screamed our lungs out in the streets because here, because now, there was suddenly reason to celebrate being a fan. We had given them years of devotion and love and finally, finally, finally we got the payback.
Elation, joy, and civic pride in exchange for a lifetime of misery. It was a fair trade, and I'd make it again in a hearbeat.
And from there, it's hard to get worked up about smaller pieces of the season. They will win again. They will lose again. For now, those are just hurdles. Details.
It's not the post-game show that anyone is thinking about anymore. MVP races, leader boards, Silver Sluggers and Gold Gloves...they're nice, but so what? We're past that now. There are bigger things to root for.
Celebrations two-million people wide. The streets covered in black and white and Sox logos. Holding your head high and saying "you're goddamn right I'm a Sox fan." And that moment.
That moment. When they win; when we win.
Baseball as theater. As the human drama.
It's the idea that two people will pass each other on the street. One is wearing a Comiskey Park t-shirt. The other has his Carlton Fisk jersey on. And the two will nod in silent agreement in the cold of a rainy October night.
Without a sound one will say "We did it."
And, without a sound, the other will answer "Let's do it again."