During a trip to Boston to visit graduate schools with my fiancee, I happened across a copy (quickly purchased) of the official program for the 1999 MLB All-Star Game, held at Fenway. As I flipped through the preserved pages on the ride home, I saw names and faces I hadn't heard or thought of for years, and learned a thing or two in the process. Anybody know that Alex Gonzalez, our own number 11, was an All-Star? What about the fact that Derek Jeter was hitting over .370 at the break? Nomar was (surprise) coming off an injury but still The Next Big Thing at shortstop, the Texas Rangers had red caps, and Mark McGwire was cheered like a god. Only seven years ago, it was another time.
We remember 1999 for the heartache we felt, for the disappointment and the sadness. But there are moments we remember where baseball is just the game we love, and the All-Star Game is their poster child.
I, for one, have taken several healthy days away from the intense Sox schedule I'd been subjecting myelf to all summer, and it's helped me tremendously. I still think the Sox can do this, and I desperately want them to, but I realize it doesn't look like it right now. There's a growing chance they won't be able to rebound from these injuries, and we'll all go home sad and lonely.
But just like '99, I'll come back in the spring, and try again, regardless of the standings the year before. 2006 will become another year with strange inside jokes about Coco's batting stance and Manny's dreadlocks.
I guess the point of this article is to just remind everyone that, in the end, we're coming back anyways, so let's enjoy the ride we've got.