Wednesday, March 25, 2009

KGB: Keep Goading Buckner

There is a really stupid and mean spirited TV ad being run by a website that promises to quickly answer any question sent my text message. The spot for has staff rushing to assist a "38 year-old causation male" who is suffering from "brain lock." It seems this affliction surfaced when the man was unable to recall who played first base for the Red Sox in '86. This, of course, is a reference to the man who made one of the most egregious errors in World Series history: Bill Buckner.
As a life-long Mets fan, the sight of the ball skipping through Buckner's legs in Game 6 of the 1986 Series brought a gasp of disbelief followed by tears of joy and years of smug happiness. It was, I kid you not, one of the most joyous moments of my life. The Mets, of course, went on to win in Game 7 and Buckner instantly became the Mrs. O'Leary's cow of Red Sox lure. For years, I have often quiped that he is my all-time favorite Red Sox. (Admittedly, that's like asking me my favorite fungus.) I thought it was wonderful that Mets won, little did I care that Buckner would endure years of ridicule and acrimony.
But it has been more than two decades. We've all moved on. Much to my ever-lasting chagrin, the Red Sox actually managed to win the World Series in 2004 and 2007. After they won for the second time, their management (finally) invited Buckner back to Finway Park for a ring ceremony held at the start of the '08 season. He received a 4 minute ovation from the Red Sox fans. (Face it, they would probably still hate him if not for those series wins.)
After the ceremony, in an emotional interview (which helps explains the twisted syntax) Buckner said, “I really had to forgive, not the fans of Boston per se, but I would have to say, in my heart, I had to forgive the media for what they put me and my family through. So I’ve done that. I’m over that. And I’m just happy that I just try to think of the positive. The happy things.”
So why would this upstart web site decide to pick on Bill Buckner 23 years after the fact? Has this man not suffered enough? It says to me the these kgb folks have much in common with their name sake from the old Soviet Union: Brutal and ham-handed. I don't care what they are selling, I am completely turned off by this obnoxious ad. (This from a Mets fan!)
One final thing: I never hated Buckner. He always struck me as a class act bitten on the butt by happenstance. In fact, I only hate the Red Sox, because A) They are always tough to beat, B) They play in a glorified band box not worthy of a high school team and C) Their fans tack funny and hate New York (both teams, including that one in the Bronx whose name escapes me.) If anyone wants to bash former Philadelphia Flyer Dave Schultz, feel free. I still hate that goon's guts.


JohnnyB said...

I was a Bill Buckner fan when he was with the Dodgers and I lived in LA. I thought he took a lot more heat than he deserved for that play. As I remember it, the pitcher had walked two guys and given up a hit. It was more the pitcher's responsibility for the run than Buckner's. Of course, his error was the visible and immediate cause, so I get it, but rarely does anyone bring up the plays prior to that one.

al in la said...

JohnnyB, the pitcher you refer to is Calvin Schiraldi. He allowed three runs in that infamous 10th inning of game 6. Schiraldi, who was once a Met by the way, garnered a 0-2 record and an ERA of 13.50 in the Series. Schiraldi was the real weak link. He, more than any one player, is responsible for the Sox losing the '86 World Series. (He and Met third baseman and Series MVP Ray Knight.)

Even so, Buckner should have fielded that ball.

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al in la

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Los Angeles, California, United States
BORN: Brooklyn RAISED: Staten Island WHERE AT NOW: Los Angeles, California WHY: We will one day know.