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March, 2003

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A Correspondence

[Communiquť Sequence]

Epistle Ten - Letter from James to Those Concerned that the World Series and the teams involved would cause problems between he and the wife.

I wanted to drop a note of thanks to all of you who weighed in with your concerns regarding whether Amy and my relationship was going to be strong enough to survive a Red Sox/Cardinals World Series. As you know, we each grew up in or near the respective cities and have appreciated those who took the time to send thoughts on the issue if only to speculate which of us would end up on the couch, in the spare bedroom, down the road, or worse. I can't speak for Amy but I personally enjoyed all the advice I received beforehand from you guys out there once the match up was set and, while I didnít heed any of it necessarily and chose to view it instead as a sad commentary on the rest of your relationships, the fact that you were thinking about us and having fun imagining the tension that would likely engulf our household during the Series was appreciated.

As far as the Series went and the viewing of such in our humble abode, Iíd be lying if I didnít admit to a few trying moments. Things got particularly uncomfortable during game three when Amy, after sitting through two straight Cardinal losses at Fenway that were sloppily played by the victors, had expressed great disdain for some of the errors, both mental and physical, made by the Bostonians and maligned their defense overall and Man Ram in particular. Therefore, when she had to later watch the ball sail out of Busch on Mannyís first trip to the plate in her beloved home town, bitterness ensued. Things didn't improve much after his unlikely throwing out of Larry Walker at that same plate later in the inning either nor as we watched with mouths agape the boneheaded base running displayed by the usually fundamentally solid Cardinals. Such gaffs on the bases sure didnít sit well with one of us, I can tell you that, and Iím sure the hooting and hollering from the other couch didnít help matters but what do you expect after 35 years of watching other teams excel during this time of year? 

I believe also that it was around that point in the evening where it seemed necessary to again explain that even though I had been relegated to the smaller couch on this night and in this relationship, I should not have to apologize for any celebratory actions regarding my team as I had listened to at least 600 Red Sox games on the radio and attended ten or fifteen others at Fenway before the current occupant of the larger couch was even born much less made it to Busch Stadium for a game. And while some of this and the continued hooting as the Red Sox went on to a third straight victory may have indeed led indirectly to the spare bedroom prediction coming to pass, it was only for a few hours and hardly with cataclysmic effect. 

What is true however was that in the hours after the Sox had locked up the 3-0 lead, passive aggressive nocturnal behavior began rearing itís ugly head. Sox fan, not wanting to celebrate anything prematurely, decided to hit the hay early in order to help tomorrow arrive sooner and to be fresh for a crack of dawn tee time. It was then that Cardinal fan commenced the following tactics: The turning on and off of bright lights, bouncing on the bed unnecessarily, having long, mostly one way conversations in a regular voice after midnight with two dogs that were also trying to sleep, inviting both dogs (all 327 lbs of them) up onto the bed in question, and then crunching cereal well past two in the a.m. Come to think of it we're not sure if this qualifies as passive aggressive behavior or just plain aggressive. At that point this sleepy ex-New Englander saw the writing on the wall and adjourned to a quieter part of the house where it turns out that when your team has a chance to clinch the world series after 86 years, 3 or 4 hours of sleep is enough even if you get it on a slanted futon in the guestroom.

And then as game four, the clincher, neared itís conclusion on a day, which will now help one of us better remember our wedding anniversary since it occurred four years exactly after the original nuptials, there was some slamming of bedroom doors and turning up of music to drown out the crowing and aftermath coming from the living room where an impromptu gathering was held to celebrate a day that one of us thought might never come. Corks were popped, old footage was watched, anecdotes told, and tears shed for a parent who grew up in New England and was never able to witness this day. Joy for the rest of the family which are all back in Beantown near the festivities was felt. And although it is true that the Red Sox half of the family did sleep on the couch that night, it was more a case of thatís where that particular fan was when they finally fell asleep then any mandate handed down or unwelcome situation in other rooms of the house. And while said groggy fan didnít get much in the way of condolence the next morning for their aching neck and pounding head from sleeping sitting up with ESPN blaring and a Red Hook spilled in their lap, all seemed back to normal as the Cardinal half of the tandem, (sans Puljos jersey) chucked the Red Sox half on the shoulder and went off to work with a smile.

In any event, itís over now, the Sox have done it, and the coast is clear for smooth sailing at least until Christmas when we venture back to St Louis for the holidays. It's been advised that leaving the authentic 1975 Red Sox hat that's been worn every day since game three of the Yankees series on the shelf back at home would be a good idea.

So thanks for writing even though there really wasnít that much at stake since a group of good guys were going to win this series either way. And believe me, not a day goes by during baseball season or any other time when Iím not thankful to be married to a Cardinal fan and wonderful girl whoís idea of the perfect date has always been to simply be taken to the nearest baseball game.

Have a good off season.

James

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