Jump to content


Yo! You're not logged in. Why am I seeing this ad?

Photo

We Have Lingered in the Chambers of the Sea


  • This topic is locked This topic is locked
26 replies to this topic

#1 The Allented Mr Ripley


  • holden


  • 8969 posts

Posted 16 November 2012 - 12:15 AM

The polyester double-knit Red Sox uniforms of the ’70s debuted shortly after the second Watergate break-in. They were antithetical to the tradition synonymous with Boston, but everybody else was doing it. The blow-dried Disco Strangler ethos of the decade was just beginning to take hold, bringing its synthetic fabrics with it, much as the character-filled Scollay Square had given way to the concrete brutalism of Government Center. The Red Sox were being swept asunder by baseball’s version of urban renewal.

So yes. Doorlatches were taped at the Democratic National Committee and the Sox began wearing V-necks and pants with elastic waistbands. Duane Josephson was one of the CREEP burglars. He was caught and he’d never play another game, spared from ever wearing the new unis. Maybe he got off light.

Selling out to the nascent era’s fashion didn’t completely haunt the Sox; they went on to finish in second place that year, ultimately foiled by both the strike that cost them an irreplaceable ½ game in the standings and by Aparicio falling as he rounded third, but it was the best winning percentage the team had posted since 1967. Reclamation project Luis Tiant also found a permanent home in the starting rotation. The Sox’s youth movement was beginning to blossom. Mario Guerrero was in the Symbionese Liberation Army. He would go to spring training in 1974 straight from Berkeley.

Mustaches grew and gold chains slithered down hair-covered chests like lava through the pines. Mirror balls spun and 18 ½ minute gaps were listened to, people began jogging and leaving their keys in communal bowls at suburban parties and forming long lines at gas stations. A President resigned. Judge W. Arthur Garrity ruled that Boston’s schools were unconstitutionally segregated. Nobody liked the solution.

Saigon fell and The Gold Dust Twins came to Fenway and played 81 dates a year. Fred Lynn’s grace was delivered from magical terrycloth wristbands, Jim Rice’s power came from his defiantly modest Afro. Beachballs bounced around the bleachers, floating lazily through the marijuana haze. Cutoffs and flip-flops and Bud Man bucket hats reigned. Amity meant friendship. A fly ball by Carlton Fisk clanged against the left field foul pole, then a bloop single by Joe Morgan broke hearts. October’s spotlight burned bright.

In the cold of winter, Peter Seitz made a ruling. In Boston, police escorts in riot gear rode alongside school buses. People wore leisure suits.

Ted Landsmark had an American flag swung at him and Graig Nettles dumped Bill Lee on his shoulder. America celebrated her 200th birthday. Lynn, Fisk and Burleson didn’t sign their contracts until midseason, which drove drunkard and probable racist Tom Yawkey to his grave. Darrell Johnson was fired. A Gerbil was hired. He set off metal detectors at airports.

Hair spilled over collars. Everyone squinted as if looking into the sun, mouths slightly open, top row of teeth exposed. They shined their Corvettes and IROCs while listening to Foghat on the 8-track. Someone thought to test the water from sump pumps in Love Canal.

The Red Sox showcased their might in 1977 as George Scott returned to Boston and hit 33 taters while making the world regret those tight-fitting uniforms. Butch Hobson hit 30 home runs from the 9th spot in the order. The sun shone warm and the Force was with us, until it wasn’t. Even the Force needs pitching.

Cocaine residue clouded glasstop tables. Husbands and wives wondered how to ask for divorces. Kids hunkered down in paneled rec rooms, striped tube socks pulled high, MAUI 76 emblazoned across their faux football-style shirts. The Brothers Gibb, deities in champagne satin suits, communicated with us through the radio. We didn’t fully understand what they wanted, but they made white people dance and everybody was scared as they waited for the clock to strike midnight. Too much glow, too much Have A Nice Day. Everything was goldenrod or avocado or burnt umber.

Then the ‘70s sent us their herald, Dennis Eckersley, who was formed when lightning from the gods struck California beach sand. Babylon 1978 was complete, and that strong summer sun became a searing glare as the Red Sox blew a 14 game lead to the Yankees. The Gerbil had benched or banished half the team’s talent. Dwight Evans was beaned by a Mike Parrott fastball. Butch Hobson rearranged elbow chips in between throwing errors. A Massacre ensued. But there was a still a little time left in the season. The Sox fought back hard enough for eight more days to force a one game showdown for all the spoils, as if they could sense an era was drawing to a close, leaving everything on the field as they valiantly shielded their eyes against the magnifying glass that hovered squarely over Fenway.

Then lounge lizard Mike Torrez yielded a popup home run to Bucky Dent as Yaz leaned against The Wall, head hanging, cleated red Spot-Bilt kicking the warning track cinders, the blood draining out of his body.

A Pope died. A new Pope was named. He died. Congressman Leo Ryan took a flight to Guyana, concerned about a cult. Stan Papi was on the tarmac, waiting. There was a gunfight. 900 people drank Flavor-Aid. End scene.

Next spring the Red Sox went back to buttoned jerseys and belted pants, embracing their Calvinist roots in order to quell this madness, penance for flying too close to the sun. Embracing mediocrity in the process. The schedule became a reason to watch Yaz get 400 home runs and 3,000 hits and not much more. To watch his last few golden years as Lynn and Fisk and Burleson were pushed out of town and the hope of postseason baseball subsided. A players’ strike. The summers stultifying in their meaninglessness, the klieg lights of October dimmed. Longingly thinking of cherry red batting helmets and V-neck pullovers, because even though the tumult had been heartbreaking, it was never dull.

Sober night fell, no longer set to the thumping bass or soaring strings of the discotheque; a glass of milk by the bed instead of a Schlitz tall boy, a tablet of Anacin instead of a line of coke and a Valium.

Spaghetti-thin stirrups pulled high under the calf-length hem of the uniform pants, the lovely striped sock rendered invisible.

Edited by The Allented Mr Ripley, 29 November 2012 - 01:24 PM.


#2 Drocca


  • darrell foster wallace


  • 15164 posts

Posted 16 November 2012 - 07:11 AM

This is the best thing I have read on this board.

Apologies for the substance free post but that is incredibly beautiful

#3 PaulinMyrBch


  • Don't touch his dog food


  • 5054 posts

Posted 16 November 2012 - 08:22 AM

You had me at "tradition synonymous"

#4 drleather2001


  • given himself a skunk spot


  • 14098 posts

Posted 16 November 2012 - 03:26 PM

Did someone hire Craig Finn to write a song about the '70s Red Sox?

#5 Mystic Merlin


  • SoSH Member


  • 21398 posts

Posted 16 November 2012 - 03:40 PM

tl;dr







Just kidding, I enjoyed that.

#6 SoxLegacy

  • 546 posts

Posted 16 November 2012 - 04:58 PM

That was outstanding!

#7 Frisbetarian


  • ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫


  • 4656 posts

Posted 16 November 2012 - 06:20 PM

Outstanding writing, Kevin. That was a pleasure to read.

#8 mabrowndog


  • Ask me about total zone...or paint


  • 37999 posts

Posted 16 November 2012 - 06:30 PM

Amity meant friendship.


I love that line.

Posted Image

#9 jose melendez


  • Earl of Acie


  • 12782 posts

Posted 16 November 2012 - 07:19 PM

Awesome.

One quibble. Possible racist?

#10 Frisbetarian


  • ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫


  • 4656 posts

Posted 16 November 2012 - 08:09 PM

I wasn't going to mention the Yawkey thing, but as long as we're quibbling. Scollay Square was quaint?

#11 DeJesus Built My Hotrod


  • SoSH Member


  • 10173 posts

Posted 16 November 2012 - 09:10 PM

"...who was formed when lightning from the gods struck California beach sand."

Anyone who knew of him back then knows this captures what he was, perfectly.

#12 The Allented Mr Ripley


  • holden


  • 8969 posts

Posted 16 November 2012 - 09:35 PM

I wasn't going to mention the Yawkey thing, but as long as we're quibbling. Scollay Square was quaint?


Hookers and vomit aren't quaint? Well look who's Mr. High Society.

#13 The Allented Mr Ripley


  • holden


  • 8969 posts

Posted 16 November 2012 - 09:36 PM

Mario Guerrero wasn't in the Symbionese Liberation Army?

#14 geoduck no quahog


  • SoSH Member


  • 5614 posts

Posted 17 November 2012 - 06:24 AM

You are indeed T-Allented, Mr. Ripley.

Thanks for the rescuing me from a mediocre day.

#15 Al Zarilla


  • SoSH Member


  • 21112 posts

Posted 18 November 2012 - 11:37 AM

The drunken sailors at the dives in Scollay Square got more desperate between a quarter to one and a quarter to two.

Had to say something besides wow, great writing.

#16 Otis Foster


  • rex ryan's podiatrist


  • 1088 posts

Posted 19 November 2012 - 02:35 PM

Week-day matinees at The Old Howard, complete with hawkers selling French postcards. Dimeys in the Half Dollar before dinner at Joe & Nemo's.

What's not to like?

http://www.thecrimso...square-burlies/

#17 Mugsys Jock


  • Longtime Member


  • 3994 posts

Posted 19 November 2012 - 02:39 PM

Great stuff... but where's the tribute to tackle twill?

#18 Koufax

  • 1891 posts

Posted 19 November 2012 - 02:54 PM

Agreed that this is a wonderful piece, but what are the Chambers of the Sea? And have the lawyers for the Duane Josephson estate been in touch with you?

#19 pjheff

  • 256 posts

Posted 19 November 2012 - 05:22 PM

Agreed that this is a wonderful piece, but what are the Chambers of the Sea?


I'd imagine it's an allusion to T.S. Eliot's poem "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock."

#20 Average Reds


  • SoSH Member


  • 10150 posts

Posted 19 November 2012 - 05:34 PM

"...who was formed when lightning from the gods struck California beach sand."

Anyone who knew of him back then knows this captures what he was, perfectly.


The best part is that it still does.

And great job Rip. I could hear the Bee Gees in the background while reading that.

#21 The Allented Mr Ripley


  • holden


  • 8969 posts

Posted 20 November 2012 - 11:04 PM

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

Edited by The Allented Mr Ripley, 20 November 2012 - 11:27 PM.


#22 notfar

  • 951 posts

Posted 20 November 2012 - 11:24 PM

Beautiful.

#23 bosoxgrl


  • big fan of Seamen


  • 2538 posts

Posted 27 November 2012 - 09:53 AM

A piece of my childhood revisited. Beautiful.

#24 drtooth


  • 2:30


  • 9136 posts

Posted 27 November 2012 - 10:57 AM

Outstanding Kevin!!!

#25 BC1994

  • 582 posts

Posted 27 November 2012 - 02:03 PM

Awesome stuff.

It has always blown me away that Prufrock, which to me is the distillation of middle-age angst, regrets, etc., was written by Eliot when he was 22-23 years old.

#26 SoxJox

  • 1025 posts

Posted 29 November 2012 - 01:16 PM

n/m

Edited by SoxJox, 29 November 2012 - 01:17 PM.


#27 The Allented Mr Ripley


  • holden


  • 8969 posts

Posted 29 November 2012 - 01:18 PM

It is.

Posted Image




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users