Alternate ending

CUT!

CUT CUT CUUUUUT!

OK, c’mere. Do you see this script? Do you? Look right here, genius:

“The Boston Red Sox, who were down three games to one and came within seven outs of being eliminated, complete yet another stunning and historic comeback to claim the 2008 American League pennant; World Series starts at Fenway Wednesday night. ROLL CREDITS.”

Now, listen, jackass—who are you again? Tampa who? Tampa Bay? And you think you can just waltz in here and start ad-libbing? I don’t think so!

Why not? Well, not that I owe you an explanation, Mr. Johnny Come Lately Tampa Bay Rays, but we’re the fucking Red Sox! That’s why not! This is what we do! We snatched a World Series berth out of your smirking, toothless, manta-ray mouths the other night in one of the most historic comebacks of all time! Now, riddle me this, smart-ass: why the hell would we do that if we weren’t predestined to advance to the World Series?

Not only that, but Zan and I? We remembered to do the cheer! And—OK, OK, aaaaand I wore my magical Red Sox apparel. What exactly makes you think you can flout the power of my superstitious, OCD-induced rituals?

I mean, I was pumped—PUMPED!—for a Red Sox vs. Phillies World Series … and I guaranfuckingtee you that so was just about everyone else who follows baseball and doesn’t live in Tampa fucking Bay!

Tampa Bay! I mean, the nerve of you people!

Now I have to wait for this feeling to pass … this sick lump of defeat, disappointment and sorrow that’s been knocking around in my stomach for the past 11 hours. Granted, it’s nothing like the state of shock I was in after Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS … but, in the wake of our championship wins in ’04 and last year … well, frankly, I’m no longer equipped to deal with failure.

To be fair, I will readily admit that I am extremely spoiled and fortunate; this was only my seventh full season as a diehard fan … and the Sox have gone to the postseason for five of those, and won the World Series twice. I saved myself 32 years of pain and disappointment by not giving a rat’s ass about sports until 2002.

Of course, that realization makes me think that I may be setting Zan up for more than he bargained for. The kid’s five years old and he’s already been around for two World Series victories. His frame of reference is completely skewed. What if they don’t win another one for 86 years?

And it’s not like following this team is a casual undertaking. Seven months and 173 games, this season encompassed. More than half of the year here at Casa de Scratches includes a daily undercurrent of Red Sox fandom … which is fine when your team is a juggernaut, but what happens if we slip into a decades-long postseason drought? I’m almost 40, and I feel like my puppy just died; how can I subject a little kid to this kind of (potentially long-term) disappointment?

Fortunately, he’s still too young to be truly broken up about this year’s demise … and half our family lives in Philly, so we still have a horse in this race.

But, still … Tampa Bay wins Game 7? Stop it. Just stop it.

Next year.

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