Today I am a Tampa Rays fan. It is time.
I bow to no Red Sox fan on the fervor and faith scale, until today. I can attest to 60-odd years of faithful, bloody, bruising support for the Sox through the trials of Enos “country” Slaughter, Bill Buckner, Bucky Dent, Ray Boone, Grady Little and the rest. I go back to Clyde Vollmer. I drive 5,000 miles (lot of detours) to watch spring training.
My Sox dues are paid — in full.
But even I have my limits. Mine were violated Monday night at the center of the Evil Empire known as Yankee Stadium. I missed the beginning of the game. When I turned on the radio, the Sox were already behind the hated Yankees 6-1. It was like the third inning. The $100 million man, “Dice K” Matsuzaka, was pitching and the announcers told me he gave up five runs in the first inning.
The first inning.
I sat on the sagging couch at Cobb Manor and rooted for the Sox to come back somehow. They did. With home runs galore, they came back and were leading 9-7 in the ninth inning. There was hope. We had our all-time closer, John Papelbon on the mound. Let the celebration begin.
The Yankees $275 million man, Alex Rodriguez, slammed a two-run home run to tie the game. God, I hate him. Then, something called Marcus Thames hit another one and the Red Sox lost once again, leaving them 8½ games behind my new team, the Tampa Rays and 6½ games behind the hated Yankees. In mid-May.
The season, and David Ortiz, once known as Big Papi, are done.
Let’s face it, The Red Sox are not headed for the playoffs this year, barring heavenly intercession.
The main thing is to beat the Yankees, at all costs. The Rays can do it. The Sox cannot. Face it.
Evan (not Eva) Longoria. Carl Crawford. B. J. Upton. Carlos Pena. Willy Aybar. These are my new heroes.
My decision has been soundly rejected by friends and acquaintances. These are the words I have heard. Sell out. Fair weather friend. Lightweight. Traitor. Perhaps I should switch to “European football,” it was suggested
And these are my friends. My militant nieces are even worse.
I don’t care. How many years do I have left? I am almost as old as John Wallace, who is headed for 70.
I shall contact the Rays in Tampa and order the fan outfit, which consists of appropriate T-shirts and hats. My piles of Red Sox gear will go in the back of the closet, with that ski gear that will never see snow again.
There is a method to my madness. My family has been cursed since they left Ballyvourney, Ireland. Something about sheep stealing, I have been told. A Twomey will always lose, whenever possible. When I made the second biggest mistake (don’t ask) in my life and invested in some Florida land, Cousin Jerry said, “What are you, crazy? A Twomey can never make money in real estate.” He was right, of course. My purchase, an hour from the Tampa Rays stadium, precipitated an international banking and finance collapse.
That is the power of the Twomey curse. Once I start wearing that Rays hat, the poor devils will start losing. The Red Sox, free of my support could start winning like they were supposed to. Pitching and defense. Right.
It has been suggested that I aim the Twomey Curse directly at the Yankees, to ruin their season. I could start wearing that familiar “NY” gear.
Right. Just after I start wearing a swastika on my sleeve.
Even I have my limits.