Jim Austin's Vermonter at Large
Jim Austin
Jim Austin
is a freelance writer from Putney, Vermont.

His previous columns are archived HERE.

Posted 10.23.04


Yanks Tank. Thanks.

It is the morning after the seventh game of the ALCS. It was not a dream. I didn't put on beer goggles last night and wake up with a snorting wart hog. I drank responsibly and woke up beside Heidi Klum.

The curse may not be dead yet but it is definitely on life support. The Sox lost their first three games of the seven game series and everyone, including the player's mommas wrote them off.

In the history of the game no team had ever come back from the dead to win the series. In a script that could have been written by George Romero*, the Sox did just that.

The hero of the day was everyone's favorite mental patient, Johnny Damon.

His two homers put the game away for the Sox and squashed the hopes of the satanic Steinbrunner and his empire of the damned. Damon spent the first six games of the playoffs in a stupor at the plate. It was as if he had swallowed a hairball that lodged in his upper g.i. tract.

It really looked like he had forgotten how to bat. He flailed at balls out of the strike zone like a chimp killing garter snakes with an axe handle. But then, in game seven, with the bases loaded, all that changed. The clouds parted and a tubby wraith floated down and hovered just above Damon's head. I saw it, didn't you?

It was the long-dead ghost of the Babe. He reached down and touched Johnny's helmet and mouthed the words "I forgive you."

On the very next pitch Johnny, my new best friend, launched a titanic grand slam that effectively sank the hopes of the Yankees.

In the interests of full disclosure and to forswear some killjoy fan from writing in I will say that I am first and foremost a Blue Jays fan. But when they fade from the picture I turn to the Sox and become one of the "Nation."

I hold the same allegiance to the Patriots when my Detroit Lions are mathematically eliminated from the playoff picture. Usually by game 5 of the season.

I am also rooting for the Astros to win. It goes against the Austin grain to cheer for any team from either Texas or Florida but I have a nefarious reason.

I want Roger Clemons to pitch Game 7 in Fenway.

I want Damon, Ortiz, Ramirez and Millar to drill balls through the mound until he looks like a Swiss cheese. I want him to lose game seven of the series and be the Sox's bitch for eternity.

Clemons, as you know, is the embodiment of all that is wrong with the world. He is a slow-witted dim bulb with a peculiar mutant arm that can throw split-fingered fastballs at high rates of speed.

Had he been born with a normal arm he would work in an adult bookstore or sell methaphetamines to children for a living. He should have a bolt through his neck.

Instead, he lives in a mansion, will go to the Hall of Fame on the first ballot, and is married to a woman that makes Cindy Crawford look like Ross Perot. I don't like him.

Tim Wakefield will be starting Game 1 at Fenway this Saturday. How appropriate to choose an aging flutter-ball pitcher to lead off the last chapter of this magnificent story. Unlike Clemons, Timothy is a lantern-jawed defender of freedom who loves kids and his mom.

Whether it be the St. Louisers or the Houstonians, I guarantee victory for the Red Sox. I can't believe that the visit from Babe's ghost to Johnny Damon was applicable only to the Pennant. I know he meant to say:

"Beantown angst-ers, you have suffered enough. My thirst for revenge has been sated. You may now win the World Series and take your place among the grand pantheon of winning clubs in this, the most magnificent of sports."

I don't know about you but I'm getting all ferklempt. (* Director of famed zombie movie "Night of the Living Dead.")