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Saturday, Oct. 23, 2004
I went up to the Watering Hole last night to watch the first game of the Series.

Now, the Hole is a changeling when it comes to what passes for membership. During the day, say before 8 pm, there’s a crowd of middle class working folks who linger over beer and solve the world’s problems in an orderly way, the barmaid wears jeans and spends a goodly amount of her time cleaning or flipping through the paper. She might have 6 customers before the regulars start rolling in after work.

The night crowd is altogether different. Generally young, loud and unintelligible. They favor clashing over the pool table with a strident jukebox turned up to NASA level. The barmaids wear leather pants and race around seeking open maws for the liquor trade.

The barmaids, cook and the Greek owner watch this transformation of customers on a daily basis. If they favor one lot over the other, they do a pretty good job of concealing it.

For me to haul my lazy self out of a perfectly good recliner and down to the bar is indicative of how much I’m pining for this particular baseball series. I want to watch it with other fans, I want to whoop with lust every time the Red Sox send their hammer up to the plate with men on base. I want endorsement from the barmaids who usually see only the stoic afternoon Outfoxed, and who take away stories of the more manic side of me to store up over the winter.

A dozen TV’s were tuned to the game and a dozen knots of fans choked the place. I happened to be at the core of the oldest bunch in the place (imagine that, eh?), who were identifiable by their leaving before the game ended due to early bedtimes or changing of colostomy bags or what have you. We growled at the game, we pontificated, we micro-managed. We got the kid doing the DJ thing to play Sinatra’s “New York, New York” in honor of the cook, a grim Yankees fan, and linked arms and sang and hooted. We put a Red Sox hat on the barmaid and threatened mutiny if she were to take it off.

I had a ball.

And realized, at midnight, when the thing was finally over, that going to the Hole for four hours on a Saturday night takes a lot out of you. Not to mention that I was the oldest human in the place at that hour. And I mean by a wide margin. I felt like George Burns at a Beastie Boys concert.

Damn you Boston Red Sox. You’re extracting a lot out of me here. Hurry up and get this thing over with. My liver and my marriage are at stake.

But I am alive to see it. And that’s a perfectly good thing.

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