The Baseball Conversation Starved Red Sox Fan Who Came to Dinner

This last weekend, my husband and I hosted our annual holiday party after the holidays, a gathering of friends who have too many other obligations to get together during the actual holidays. This is my favorite party we throw every year. Friends fill the house enjoying cocktails and wontons in quantities that can only be described as festive. Why wontons? Long story short, I started making them in addition to other things because I like dim sum. Our guests routinely hoovered them by the handful so years ago we just made wontons the focal point and our own peculiar holiday tradition. We have a “pink elephant” gift exchange where everyone brings a copy of a favorite book for one round and a DVD of a favorite movie for another. So there is lots of raucous fun as everone ohs and ahs over what each person brought and then “steals” the presents from one another. I don’t think we stop laughing the whole night and everyone leaves with a new book to read, a new movie to watch…and often a list of a few new ideas to put on Netflix or add to their reading list.

New among the guests this year? One baseball talk starved Red Sox fan. An old friend of my husband’s whose path we crossed again about a year ago. This is a gentleman who talks a heck of a lot of Red Sox trash and plays Shipping Up to Boston and Tessie on his cell phone “for” me when the Sox are in town. Not that I ever throw it right back in any way or do anything else to warrant such treatment, of course. *smiles sweetly and attempts to look innocent* But oddly enough there was less bravado about him this evening. He wanted to know my opinion about the deals and if I had heard anything new. He wanted to make sure my husband and I would take him to the game again when the Red Sox were in town because he had so much fun last year. This last was not the mocking comment I originally took it for, mostly. Ignoring, for a moment, the egregious stomping my team suffered at the hands of his team once three glorious innings of the Angels on top came crashing to a halt as Dan Haren took a Youk line drive to the pitching elbow (eh, that’s baseball) and turned the mound over to a string of side show acts, I actually had a good time too. I want the Angels to win this year, thank you very much, but yeah, I’ll take him to the game again. It’s fun to have someone else sitting with us who knows his stuff, even if he cheers at all the wrong times for my taste.

And then things got weird. This Angels fan suddenly found herself feeling like she was comforting the Red Sox fan about his team’s Hot Stove activities. But, you guys got Crawford and Gonzalez, I said, I hate to say it but you’re going to put a heck of a team on the field this season.

Meh, I know, he said. But I’m worried about Bon. They’re thinking of trading him you know, or just letting him go to another team next year. If Bon isn’t a Red Sock anymore then, that’s it, I just don’t think I can be a fan anymore… This lead to a retelling of how my friend became a Red Sox fan as an adult and of his first game, seen from the Fox Sports box at Fenway no less, and a squeaker of a Jonathan Papelbon save…followed by a lot more whining (because, seriously, if your team has had the offseason the Rod Sox have had, it’s whining) and downright wistful hope that all of this was part of some greater ploy to keep Papelbon’s demands reasonable so the Sox can resign him in 2012 as a free agent.

And then the realization hit me. Oh my God! The anger. The threats. The rationalization. All in one thought pattern no less. Could it actually be? And there you have it ladies and gentlemen, proof that the scourge of Hot Stove Grief can strike anyone, even that most unlikely of candidates, a Red Sox fan in the middle of 2010-2011 offseason!

* * * * *

In Angels news, the team signed Alberto Callaspo to a one year contract, avoiding arbitration. So that’s one 2011 arbitration situation nicely side-stepped and seven more to contend with before the season starts. Yikes! If we don’t have Adrian Beltre or another star at third base in our future, then I am happy with this decision. Callaspo plays a good third base, not a Gold Glove third base by any means, but he does get the job done. And Callaspo’s bat, streaky but respectable over the course of the season, was not the reason the Angels third base position produced a dismal .223 batting average last year. He and Aybar just need to get over their occasional bouts of detrimental oneupsmanship (as opposed to the good kind they also exhibit which spurs both to work harder) and call the GD ball for crying out loud!



  1. raysrenegade

    I really love that party idea for an after the holidays get-together. I hope you do not mind, but I am going to borrow that idea for next January and have one about the time of the BCS National Championship game.
    That would get us together, plus give us a reason to cheer.
    Got a few book selections for 2012. JImmy Buffett, the singer is also an aclaimed author whowrote three great Carribean-based novels, “Where Is Joe Merchant?” (which should be a movie), “A Pirate Looks at Fifty” (my favorite) and “A SAlty Piece of Sand”. They are different from your ususal novels in that every character is brightly described and worth the price of the book.
    And a movie to get would be “Sugar” or “Chasing 3000”. They arenot your ususal Hollywood movies, but have a great baseball theme and are a great thing to watch during the months right before Spring Training.
    Can’t comment on the Red Sox fan…..My parents always told me not to talk to strange people (lol).

    Rays Renegade

  2. blithescribe

    Rays Renegade – Thanks! Please, steal away. It’s a wonderful party favor turned party game and it was an economical solution to the gift giving question in my circle of friends when the recession hit us all pretty hard. Heck, I gave the Outlaw Josey Wales this year, one of my all time favorites, and I found it at Borders in the $5.99 bargain bin. And it would be really easy to theme this for a particular gathering as you suggest.
    Jane – I think he would have annoyed most folks, probably even other Red Sox fans. But I just had to laugh because it never ceases to amaze me how the odd personal preference or two can completely skew a person’s perspective away from reality.
    Emma – That’s what I told him, in addition to laughing with and at him. He’s a good guy, which made this extra funny. Unfortunately, this guy aside, my husband and I do not have a lot of baseball friends locally so no baseball books or movies were given or received. My husband and I have given Major League and Bull Durham in the past and they were well received because those two appeal to even the non baseball fan, but I have a feeling that if I gave a book like Ball Four people would be stealing to get rid of it rather than to get it for themselves. Sad but true. But if someone had a number of baseball friends they could easily theme the pink elephant exchange towards baseball.
    – Kristen

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