Red Sox: the Heartbreak

(Schmaltz Diet Advisory: This section is to be read with at least 2.3 grams of saccharine per paragraph. If you suffer from a weak heart of if your eye-ducts clog easily, you may want to skip this section and play minigolf instead. No Happy End in sight.)

After Boston got over their humiliating 8:19 loss to the Yankees in Game 3 and somehow managed to hang on to their straw of hope in two overtime victories, it became pretty obvious that the perfect storm was about to hit the shores of New England. And hit it did. Even the reclaimed home-turf advantage could do little to stop the accelerating Red Sox tsunami from sweeping the Bronx.

So by the time the World Series started, the Baseball Gods had pretty much made their minds up as to whom they would elevate to the throne. The year 2004 was to be the year of Sox. And there was little any mortal power could do about that. You can't really arm-wrestle with the Hand of Destiny.

Like a silent movie, the river of time flows quickly by and the chocolate birds on a hot tin roof will never have enough time to open their eyes.

But the river itself is little impressed by all of this and memories of the season will soon be undertowed away by a stream of quiet tears. Like a massive flowing silence with swans of red shawls splattered all over its glossy surface, like an airplane sewing its path through shredded clouds, the ancient waterway will wend its way through freshly shorn fields and across wild, unkempt grasslands. By the time it reaches taciturn bayous, its surface will be covered with dragonfly wings, with translucent visions of crucial plays, retrieved from cold fires of insomnia. Lose your way in their reminiscing meanders and sooner than you'd think you'll see the sun through a salty sea. And with it pastures and fallow fields strewn with trumpet creepers and sneezeweed and meadow beauties. And if you look really close, you'll see a sea of cardinal flowers, the serrated tears of Salome. But far below the fallow fields, aspirations will have to survive a long winter in the Kennel for Unfulfilled Dreams; flowers, once vibrant with chromas and aromas, will turn into hardy plants eking out their living in an abandoned coal mine.

Meanwhile, down in the basement of the Busch stadium a loose plank shifted and out of the hole crawled a little hobbit carrying a baseball mitt. The hobbit lived under bleachers for decades and witnessed all the victories and all the losses. Obscured by a moonless night, he hobbled slowly in the direction of the Mississippi river. When he reached the embankment, he sat down on a mossy stone for a while to catch his breath; then he put the glove on the riverís ever-changing surface and pushed it gently into the current current, letting it bob past the past:


"Sending my glove far away 
Down the stream to distant seas
And with it my washed out dreams
And peace for a rainy day"

Palm touches thinning mirror
Lean fire licks its shadow
And the minutes keep on drizzling
And the river slowly limping 
To see


© 2004  Jan Rehacek



The Book of Cardinals 2004

Part III.

Inning: 9

Albert Pujols in the dugout (Game 4)

AP Photo/Al Behrman


Part I. Namesakes
1. Cardinal Stritch University
2. Cardinal, Virginia
3. Cardinal Systems
4. Vatican Cardinals
5. Tantoo Cardinal
6. Arizona Cardinals
7. Cardinal Numbers
8. Cardinal Bar
9. Cardinal Fish

Part II. 7th Inning Stretch of Imagination
1. What's In A Name?
2. Nine Amendments For Extreme Motorists
3. Better Butter For Bitter Batter
4. Infield Fly Rule For Dummies
5. How To Wash Red Socks Properly
6. My Kingdom For A Pitcher!
7. East St Louis Vacations Inc
8. Are You A Cardinals Fan?
9. Banbury Cross

Part III. Three Dreams
1. Dodgers: The Robbery
2. Dodgers: The Handshake
3. Dodgers: The Shower
4. Astros: The Flight
5. Astros: The Homer
6. Astros: The Ritual
7. Red Sox: The Comedy
8. Red Sox: The Drama
9. Red Sox: The Heartbreak