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Home » September 2008 Game CommentsSeptember 2008 » Clinch


Game 157: September 23, 2008
Indians 4 L: Cliff Lee (22-3) 79-78, 1 game losing streak
WinRed Sox 5 W: Tim Wakefield (10-11)
H: Manny Delcarmen (18)
H: Hideki Okajima (23)
H: Justin Masterson (3)
S: Jonathan Papelbon (41)
92-65, 1 game winning streak
Highlights: I wanted this. Not as much as I want Barack Obama in the White House, but close. I had hoped the Red Sox would cinch a spot in the playoffs on the day that Yankee Stadium closed, but the two events were close enough in time that in my senility I will remember them as happening in tandem.

“Grandma, you’re wrong,” my know-it-all grandkids would whine. “I read it on your archived blog from that season. In 2008 the Red Sox clinched on September 23rd, but the last baseball game was played on September 21st!”

“Just a few days off!” I’d snap back. “It was great how they put that Cy Young award winner in his place that game. That entire season that Lee guy only gave up more than five runs in a game four times, and one of the times he did it was against the Red Sox.”

It’s 2038 and I drift into rhapsodic remembrances of the championship 2008 season. My grandchildren have become used to the Red Sox winning consecutive titles, but the ’07-’08 pair was the first since ’15-’16.

“Don’t take this success for granted!” I’d warn them. “Don’t become like those spoiled Yankee brats with their sense of entitlement.” You’d never see any of them wearing a “Do the math: 20 World Series Titles” Red Sox t-shirt, although they could. It would be terribly fun to taunt the few dwindling fans of the Bronx Bromides these days. They’ve been stuck on 27 since the millenium turned.

Kids these days think they know so much more about baseball then their elders. My nudnick granddaughter tacked on, “Also, Obāsan, Dustin Pedroia didn’t deserve to have his number retired. You said you never want the Red Sox to go the way of the Yankees, but I think they did with him.”

Her calling me the Japanese word for “grandmother” softened me at first, but I knew it was a ploy. “Oh, so you’re telling me that a guy who on Rookie of the Year and then followed up in his sophomore season with an MVP award doesn’t deserve to have 15 up on the Fenway’s facade? The kid went on to win two more MVPs, went to 11 All-Star games, and surpassed Bobby Doerr as the Red Sox’s greatest second baseman.”

Her younger sister chimed in, “He’s funny looking! With his hair plugs he has more hair now than he did when he played! I like him as an analyst, though.”

“Amazing he was ever able to tone down his language enough to be a broadcaster,” I smirked. Hearing Pedroia talk about the lasers he used to hit during the NESN broadcast sent me further into the musty but still accessible vault of my memories.

“That was an amazing week in an amazing season. Speaking of so-called undeserved numbers being retired, Red Sox ownership announced right before that very game that Johnny Pesky’s number was going to be retired.” I recalled how frail he looked but how happy and grateful he was. “He lost years of his playing career to fight in a meaningful war. If there’s anyone who earned that honor by his contributions both on and off the field, it was him.”

Using the word war sent me further back into the desperation of that year outside of baseball. My country had been fighting an unsustainable, unjustified war and the economy was in shambles. The election changed the course of the nation. I looked at my grandchildren, thankful that Barack Obama’s presidency ushered in a new era of a rejuvenated America, an America that was a moral leader on the international scene rather than morally bankrupt.

I tell them about the dark times whether it be about our favorite sports team or our country. Not to frighten them, but to ensure that they are glad for the good times they live in.

“We traded away a Hall of Famer for a solid player but still won it all. Jon Lester threw a no-hitter. Injury after injury: Lowell, J.D. Drew, Beckett, Matsuzaka, Lugo... well, that last one wasn’t so bad. 2008.”

“Mom and Dad went to a 2008 retro party, that’s why you’re watching us. They said they were going to play a lot of Rock Band and Wii.”

I clucked my tongue and shook my head. “Seriously, they weren’t even born when that came out. I’m glad my memories are now fodder for a new generation.”

“Oh, Ba-chan, don’t get yourself grumpy. Look, Pedroia is ogling Violet Affleck in the booth.”

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