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Saturday, December 27, 2008

2012 (A Short Story)


I was laying in bed late one night last summer reading "Joe DiMaggio- The Hero's Life", when all of a sudden, I put the book down, picked up my notebook and pen and started writing. I kept on writing and didn't stop until I had filled up about 6 pages. What follows is almost exactly what I wrote that night. Certain events since then have sent me back to the drawing board to tweak it a bit, but otherwise very few changes have been made. This is a story (fantasy, really) that just that flowed out of me with literally no effort at all. This is my first attempt at writing fiction.

2012 (A Short Story)

It is September of 2012. The Red Sox have been dominating the AL East since 2004, having won 5 of the last 8 World Series by an astounding margin of 20 games to 6, and setting a new Major League Record for most wins in the regular season in 2010 along the way. Terry Francona has been a brilliant manager and has been receiving all star performances from Pedroia, Youk, Bay, Ellsbury, Papelbon, Beckett, and Dice-K. Even Wakefield is still throwing that screwy knuckleball and doing it well! He's 46 years old, but Hoyt Wilhem and Wilbur Wood both pitched into their late 40's, and Satchel Paige pitched until he was 53, so why not Wake? He still gets 175+ innings per season and 4.20 has been his highest ERA since 2007.

And Lester! Jon Lester! His fairy tale continues as if he's living in some parallel universe. He has been dominating the Junior Circuit like no other lefty since Randy Johnson was in Seattle. He has become the ace of the staff, not an easy thing to do with a staff that includes All-Stars and Cy Young winners Beckett and Dice-K. He's won no less than 18 games in each season since 2009 and lost no more than 9 in that same time span. He's struck out at least 175 batters and has had an ERA no higher than 3.15, a remarkable feat considering that Fenway is a difficult park for southpaws, to say the least. He has 9 shoutouts and 2 no-hitters since 2008, and a Cy Young Award of his own last year. He even made it into the 7th inning with a perfect game going on that was broken up by a cheap infield hit that was questionable to all but the 1st base umpire whose view of the play was somewhat obstructed. Tito racked up yet another early exit that day arguing Lester's case, but to no avail. This has been a Red Sox dynasty even more impressive than their run in the early 20th century when that team won 5 World Series in 15 years before the infamous, but almost now forgotten sale of Ruth to the formerly despised Yankees.

The Yankees on the other hand....

Ah, yes, the Yankees. The once great and proud Yankees had fallen on hard times. After completely missing the playoffs in 2008 for the first time since 1994, Hank Steinbrenner continued to screw up the club so badly into 2009, that their (remaining) fans were calling for his head on a stick! Even Joba Chamberlain, the poster child of the new generation of Yankee's was disgracing the once venerable franchise with his many notable trips to the stripper clubs, DUI's, and his continued harassment of Kevin Youkilis which finally earned him a fine and suspension. The Evil Empire had been destroyed by the Rebel Red Sox so badly that Steinbrenner finally said, 'Fuck this shit', sold the team, and went back to his horse ranch much to the delight of Yankee fans in the tri-state area, thus ending the Steinbrenner years in disgrace. The new owners immediately set about to right the ship. They hired a brilliant GM to replace Cashman and immediately made several 'Fuckin' A' trades, as Billy Beane called them (trades that when other GM's hear of, they say, 'Fuckin' A!') Working the off season trading market like the stock market, they loaded up with top draft picks and top prospects for 2011. They cut loose all the old and overpaid stars: Damon, Matsui, Abreu, and Petitte. They cut loose all the over-priced candy that Hank went out and bought after missing the playoffs in 2008, including Manny Ramirez, who missed most of 2010 and 2011 with injuries after Hank washed his feet and then gave him $90 million. The Yankees were still stuck with some of the old guard from the 1995-2000 dynasty, the ones who King George bowed down to and lavished with contracts back in 2007: Old Man Jeter, and Mr. Controversy, A-Rod (Posada and Rivera had finally hung up their spikes in 2011.) One thing was certain about A-Rod, barring injury or unforeseen circumstance; he would hit more than 800 home runs by the time he was done with his career. The Yankees lost 92 games in in 2009, but with the new owners making immediate changes in the way the whole company was run and not just the approach to fielding and managing the team, they fared much better in 2010, winning 80 and losing 82, and continued to improve in 2011, but slowly, winning 82 and losing 80. But 2012 was different. The draft picks and the farm system had finally produced some bona fide major leaguers who were primed for breakout seasons in 2012, comparable to the Papelbon- Youkilis- Pedroia- Ellsbury- Lowrie- Lester breakout years. No one really thought that they were a legitimate challenge to the Sox, but winning 90 games was a real possibility this year.

The Sox had developed a model farm system and had handfuls of major league quality studs in Pawtucket just chomping at the bit to get a taste of the big show. 2012 brought a slew of injuries to the team, but they continued to win, although with not quite as much authority as the year before. The Sox were on a pace to win 95 games this year despite the injuries, but the whole AL East had become the strongest division in the major's. Even Baltimore was a contender. In 2011, all 5 teams finished at .500 or better. The Yankees had been having a superb year for the young team and were only 2 games behind the Sox heading into the final series of the season for both teams. It seemed as if every season the Yanks and the Sox played each other on the last weekend. It wasn't of course, but it just seemed like it. Sox fans were delighted that after looking up at the Yanks for all those painful 86+ years, that the tide had turned and the Sox were enjoying their dynasty. Coming into the final 3 game series of the year, the Yankees were hot, winning 10 of their last 12 and were only 2 games behind the 1st place Sox. A-Rod had finally gotten his shit together and started producing when it mattered. The Sox had been playing well and only needed to win 1 of the final 3 games to clinch the division. With Beckett, Dice-K, and Lester scheduled to pitch the final 3 games at Fenway, it seemed that the Sox had a virtual lock on the division title. Beckett and Dice-K were superb! Unfortunately, the young Yankee pitchers were 1 run better as the Sox lost 1-0 and 2-1. It was the first time in over 200 games that the Sox had been shut out! An eery, unsettling discomfort fell over Red Sox Nation that hadn't been felt since 2004. But not to worry- Jon Lester would be pitching the finale. Lester had been having yet another career year: 24-6, 2.92, 209 K's, 0.98 WHIP, but there was one batter in the whole American League who seemed to have figured him out: A-Rod. While his numbers against Lester weren't outstanding, he did have more success against him than anyone else in the league.

It is now the top of the 9th inning and the Yankees have 2 outs. The Sox are up 4-3, Lester is spinning another gem, but he walks Jeter after an 8 pitch battle, the last one barely an inch off the plate, or so it seemed. Although A-Rod has had some success against Lester this year, he had been baffled by Lester all day this day. Lester had another great game going with a low pitch count, so Tito decided to leave him in, as A-Rod had been having marginal success with Pap this year, as well.

0-1 ->

1-1 (barely) ->

1-2 ->

1-2 (foul) ->

1-2 (foul) ->

1-2 (foul) ->

2-2 ->

2-2 (foul) ->

2-2 (foul) ->

3-2 ->

3-2 (foul) ->

Finally on the 12th pitch of the at-bat, 2 outs, full count, go ahead run at the plate..... SWING!


Oh shit!

Back, back, back, back...

Just like the old days between the Yanks and the Sox!

Originally posted on walstib, ykwim? by Red Sox Sonoma 12/10/08

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