Valentine just came back from the Dominican in in effort to win Ortiz’ heart over. If only all we needed was heart for players to play. Ortiz was flattered, but at the end of the day, it’s a business. Well, that’s what the players and managers think.
But for real Boston it’s so much more. I spent my February 14th eating hot dogs, throwing them back with my American beer from a plastic cup. Because for me, like so many others in Boston, February 14th is often when our hearts open back up. I watched Bull Durham that evening. That night I went once again from hopeless to hopelessly romantic. Because my Grandfather never saw his team win, but he never gave up. And I had seen our team win twice. And on that cold night I could start dreaming up new romantic record-breaking ways our team could win as I watched footage of the catchers and pitchers reporting to Fort Myers.
This February it is going to take a lot more to feel that romance again. The Red Sox broke our hearts in an epic way last year. We schedule as much as we can around their schedule. We put in an unreasonable amount of our paychecks to see them play at our favorite place in the world. We put way too much at stake to see Wakefield’s next win. We wake up drowsy after four hours of sleep to go into work. And we go in with a smile, gloating to coworkers of the reason for the circles under our eyes, even if it is a loss. Boston is baseball. So when the players weren’t, it broke us. It wasn’t that they lost, it was how they lost. It was how they acted as losers. Terry Francona, is a God, to so many of us. Tebow’s got nothing on Terry. Tito took a team our loved ones; loved to death, without ever seeing them win a big one, and he made them winners. Twice. It was more than we could have asked for. Some, even complained, two wins seemed too much. So when our heroes did nothing to save our God, and they only looked to save themselves, our city grew quiet. We looked to the veterans, because they knew, they understood Boston. But even they were too focused on their own personal dreams; their business broke our hearts.
So I hope, I sincerely hope, Valentine’s Day feels different than it has been feeling as of late in Boston. Winning over Big Papi’s heart, or leading Japan to victory, are still of little meaning. He needs to win back Boston’s heart. The best baseball city in the country is in need of some love and Boston might just be a harder language than Japanese. For better or worse, baseball is our one true love, we keep coming back. But as the case always is with true loves, will it come back to us?