Archive for the ‘Boston Red Sox’ Category


Bob Stanley

May 24, 2022

Worcester Birds notes, games 61 through 72.

  • G61: L 8-5
    • Decent start by Fidrych squandered with bullpen implosion by McClure and Tekulve. This whole thing is about Fidrych. If I can’t make it work out for him, what’s the point?
  • G62: W 5-4
    • Bostock with triple, single, and 2 RBI supports good start by Dixon. On the night of this game, I said good night to my older son and walked our dogs, and when I came back in my son was crying. My wife was comforting him. “What’s wrong?” I said. “He’s worried about death,” my wife said. I told him I knew how he felt, thinking about Lyman Bostock, who died when I was the same age as my son and when he seemed immortal, perched near the top of the Sunday batting averages.
  • G63: L 8-5
    • Forster pummeled. I’m in therapy now. Finally. I started a couple of years ago. I want to be as healthy as I can to be there for my family.
  • G64: L 5-2
    • Stanley ineffective; Lee with 4.1 scoreless in relief. I started writing in notebooks when I was 12, in imitation of Sparky Lyle’s The Bronx Zoo. I wanted my life to seem that funny. It wasn’t, or not very often. Much more often it was just me, wrestling, flailing. My first stack of notebooks became such a burden by the time I was 19 that I threw the whole stack in a dumpster. I have all the notebooks from that point on. Open up any one of them and you’ll see someone who could have used therapy. But I avoided it. Found other ways to keep going, most of those ways different forms of numbness.
  • G65: L 5-2
    • Tiant pitches pretty well but Mingori is a gas can (3 runs in 2 innings). Three losses in a row. In therapy I have not bloomed into some magnificent creature able to fly above pain. In fact it’s been the opposite. The numbness is starting to thaw. I am feeling things. I am feeling pain. I am learning to track that pain.
  • G66: W 1-0 (Fidrych 9-3)
    • Fidrych with 6.1 scoreless innings; Morgan with two key defensive plays and two walks, including the one that starts the game-winning rally.
  • G67: L 4-2
    • Offense stays cold. When I was a teenager and diving deep into solo Strat-O-Matic to numb myself with the buzz of imagined winning and the winning wasn’t coming I kept rolling the dice and rolling the dice, hoping to will the home runs back into the bats of the guys who were my psychic avatars. The spiraling of the dry, clicking impotence of that, those dice rolling across the plywood shelf I used in my room as a desk (though never for schoolwork—I kept falling farther and farther behind in everything), the buzz never coming. The anger rising. I can still feel it now. It’s in my throat, my jaw, my teeth.
  • G68: L 6-4
    • Forster authors another sloppy mess. My only significant point of connection outside that room and that desk and my notebooks and those dice rolls was on my sports teams. I kept playing baseball in the Babe Ruth league, but I was overmatched at that level as I’d never been in little league, and near the end of a losing season I quit. I kept playing basketball for my school team. In 7th grade we lost all our games, In 8th grade we lost all but 2 games. In 9th grade we lost all our games. In 10th grade we lost all our games. I wasn’t exactly friends with the players on those teams. We’d see each other in the halls and say hey but there wouldn’t be eye contact.
  • G69: L 3-2
    • Bill Lee continues to shine with nothing to show. Bob Stanley, after a strong 3.2 innings in the previous game, is unavailable for middle relief, and the available pitchers struggle. Back when I was losing with my own sports teams I kept rooting for the Red Sox, hoping to find the numbing buzz of winning in fandom. Bill Lee was gone by then, but Bob Stanley was still there. He would come in and give up a lot of hits and sometimes wriggle out of trouble and other times not, and he carried the weight of a poor performance in the 1978 playoff game, and then in 1986 he was the man on the mound when it all went completely to shit.
  • G70: L 5-3
    • McClure and Tekulve blow a 2-run lead in the 9th, squandering a strong Tiant start. Thank god for alcohol. Thank god for marijuana. Thank god for that feeling of rising above it all. That’s how I felt for a while, sincerely, but then for a long time I didn’t feel that way but kept rolling the dice and rolling the dice, waiting for the feeling to return.
  • G71: L 7-3 (Fidrych 9-4)
    • The Bird struggles, and his 6-game winning streak comes to an end. I’ve got to make changes with this team! But I can’t gut the strong defense behind Fidrych, and the team is already struggling to score. The bullpen was performing over its head for a while, allowing the mirage of a first place finish to materialize for a while. Now McClure and Tekulve are coming back to earth. But there are no relievers available who would be an upgrade. The only possibility is to recycle some of the midlevel shitty handymen on the staff such as Forster, Mingori, Dixon, and, especially, in terms of allowing me to imagine grabbing hold of the painful feeling that’s been inside me all my life, in my throat, my teeth: Bob Stanley. He’s as good as gone. Dumping him and the others will probably only steepen the slide of my team, as the only way to trade in players in my league is by picking up more cheaply priced players in return. Worse players, probably. But there will at least be the tiny little buzz of destruction, of quitting, of dumping, along with the tiny little buzz of stupid hope that the new slightly different collections of probabilities will bring the dice rolls back into my favor.
  • G72: L 3-0
    • I am a loser. I have always been a loser. My therapy isn’t merely an exploration of struggles but an attempt with the help of a professional to identify and question the thoughts in my head. Are they true? And why do they come up? And are there other thoughts that I might bring more to the fore, any things that are going OK, any things I’m thankful for? This is part of it too. I’m dumping Bob Stanley today, but I know I’m not dumping the burden of my past, the feeling in my throat, my jaw, my teeth. I’ve still got a lot of work to do with that. And I’m thinking of how Bob Stanley used to attack beachballs at Fenway with a rake. They used to fly and bounce around the bleachers on fists and boozy cheers and eventually they would land out on the outfield grass or in the bullpen and he would stalk them with a rake and pounce and swing down and puncture them. Bob Stanley was never a loser. Bob Stanley made me smile.