In addition to writing humor, I am also a devoted fan of the Boston Red Sox, even though the closest I’ve ever come to living there was the six months I spent in Bristol, Conn., as a production assistant trainee at ESPN.
Yes, it was just as glamorous as it sounds.
It was a beautiful girl I was trying to impress on our first date back in 2005, one who had just received her master’s from Boston College earlier in the year, who first turned me onto the Sox. Two-and-a-half years later, we were sitting at Fenway within half-an-hour of getting engaged.
Now, just over three years into our marriage, Jenny would probably acknowledge that I have become a more ardent supporter of the team than her–obviously still not to the same level as someone who grew up in Boston or New England (which would explain how this happened), but enough that I live in Indiana and am still currently watching games on the New England Sports Network despite the fact that we’re nine games out of the last playoff spot with 33 to play.
To that end, I’ve decided to make a bold play and pull out something I normally only don to end a five-game Sox losing streak (right now, they’ve won two in a row) or for an elimination game:
What’s the big deal about this shirt, you ask? Indeed, its beginnings are humble: a $5 purchase from a street vendor somewhere near Faneuil Hall.
However, back in 2007, with the Sox down three games to one to the Indians in the American League Championship Series, I boldly told Jenny this shirt was henceforth “The Slumpbuster” and that as long as I wore it, they couldn’t lose. Clearly, I was talking out of somewhere that was not my face. But you know what?
They didn’t lose again that postseason and, 10 days later, were World Series champions. When I was wearing the shirt, they went 7-0.
Since then, its record has admittedly not been perfect. However, “The Slumpbuster” was in full effect when the Sox rallied from seven runs down in the seventh inning of Game 5 of the 2008 ALCS to stave off elimination, and I would estimate their winning percentage when I’ve had it on is in the neighborhood of 90%.
I have never tried to stretch its mystical powers out over more than a month, but that is what I will attempt to do now. Because at 62-67, they need to win at a ridiculous 85% clip coming in to get to 90 wins, the same total that snuck last year’s eventual World Series champion, the Cardinals, into the playoffs.
So I will sport The Slumpbuster during every Sox game from now until they make the playoffs or are mathematically eliminated, chronicling our journey here on the blog. It’s a risky move–mainly because its magic requires that I don’t wash The Slumpbuster between wearings, and I’ll be sleeping in it the next nine nights since they’re on the West Coast.
They helped lead to my marriage, so I’m banking on the fact that they couldn’t also trigger my divorce. That may be a mistake.
But it’s the least I can do after this error in judgement that immediately preceded the team’s horrific collapse last September. (It’s the same link as above, but if you didn’t watch the first time, you really need to now.)