I still remember the first time I fell in love. It was also, of course, the first time my heart was broken.
I was sitting in Mrs. York's second grade class at the Jackson/Mann School in Allston learning how to spell "kat". Now, I know what you're thinking, but it wasn't Sandra Ng, or Michelle Miller, or Lourdes Oases. Yuck! They were girls. My love was higher, purer.
My brother Tom was home from the minor leagues and came into my class, spoke to Mrs. York briefly, and waited outside for me. Mrs York said, "Christopher, you're mother is very sick and your brother is here to take you home." The tears begin to well when I asked my brother what was wrong. Out of earshot of Mrs. York, he said, "Nothing. I got to tickets to see Pudge." Yipeeee! We jumped on the 57 Kenmore Sq. bus and spent the day at Fenway. "Pudge" was all I could talk about until he was gone two years later. "He plays for a different Sox now", my mother said. But, his number 27 was backwards. He wore 72.
I was confused and sad...
By 1999 I had moved to New York.
My brother Gerry called me asking if I wanted two tickets to the Sox-Yankees game. "Pedro's Pitching", he said. I'd seen Clemens pitch many times but I'd never seen the guy who replaced him. It was September 10, 1999, Randy Johnson's birthday, and Pedro pitched what David Cone and Wells called the best game ever pitched at Yankee Stadium. He struck out 17 batters and faced one over the minimum. I wore no Sox garb and cheered every K with quiet awe. The guys next to me, BC grads, were flummoxed. "You rooting for this guy?" One said. "Man, this is the best game I've ever seen. You have to be impressed." I answered. "No you don't. The Yankees are losing. That's all that matters." I told him I was a baseball fan first and got back, "I'm a Yankees fan first, then baseball. All that matters is that the Yankees win." Some "lady" in the handicap area asked a cop to kick me out. "He's a Red Sox fan." They did. It was the first time I ever got ejected from The Toilet.
It was then I began my mission behind enemy lines.
The Sox swept the series and made the playoffs, only to lose to the Yankees for the pennant. But, it didn't matter much. The future was bright. On the way Pedro turned in another of the greatest pitching performances ever. He threw 6 innings of no-hit relief against the Indians to help win the ALDS. He eventually took us to another two pennant series. We won the World Series. Then he was gone.
Until tonight. Come on down to Thom's and see Pedro's return.
$4 El Presidentes and $3 Narragansett's while supplies last.
Thomers enjoying Narragansett
More Pedro stories: SI, Touching All Bases, The Globe
Is this the end?
Mama told me one day it was gonna happen
But she never told me when.
She told me it would happen when I was much older.
Wish it would've happened then.