The Old Red SoxPlay
The old man was sitting at the table in the young man's kitchen. He was sliding the salt shaker from one hand to the other.
"They're gonna win the World Series," the old man said.
The young man looked at him. "You make it sound as if that's a bad thing," he said.
"I don't recognize them," said the old man.
"What do you mean? There's Pedroia, Ortiz, Uehara. Same guys who've been carrying 'em all season."
"That's not what I mean," the old man said. "What they used to do, no matter who carried 'em, they used to fall over. Sometimes they'd get you thinking they wouldn't, but they would."
"And that was better?"
"It was something that was dependable, is what it was," said the old man. "It was something that was ours. Nobody else lost the way they did. They were artists at it, is what they were."
"I'll take what they've become," said the young man. "Winners in 2004, winners in 2007, I like it."
"They're gonna win again this year," said the old man. "Then it's three World Series in the last ten seasons. What are they, the Yankees?"
"Would that be so bad?" the young man said.
"Bite your tongue," said the old man.
"No, really," the young man said. "What's the matter with the Red Sox winning? It's fun."
"Fun," said the old man. "I guess. If you're in it for the fun, fine. What I remember is Carl Yastrzemski pops up. Bill Lee tosses a balloon that Tony Perez hits about four miles. Bob Stanley throws a wild pitch. Or it's a passed ball on Rich Gedman. Doesn't matter. It was always the same, even if it was different each time."
"You're a glutton for punishment," the young man said.
"What I am, I'm a Red Sox fan. Or I was. Now, I don't know. I don't recognize 'em, especially now they're gonna win the World Series again."
"Maybe they won't," said the young man.
"Nah, they're gonna win," the old man said. He stood up and flexed his knee. Sitting made it stiff. "I'm hungry," he said. "You got anything in the refrigerator there?"
"Gall and wormwood," the young man said.
"Okay," said the old man.
"Savor it," said the young man.
"It used to be I could," the old man said.