My grandfather is sick. He is also ninety years old, and when your heart fails at ninety, your options are severely curtailed. This will be his last World Series. It could, possibly, be your first.
In the interests of full disclosure, I have to say that he doesn’t cheer for you, and that, in all honesty, he probably has a pretty limited interest in your team. He is from
As it is with many other people, many of my memories of my grandfather are about baseball. His story about seeing Babe Ruth play at Fenway, and how he was unimpressed (In his defense, the Babe did fall over backwards and miss a pop fly. No one can be a legend all the time.) How, when a player was batting poorly, he “couldn’t even hit his weight”. The night that we watched Clay Bucholtz throw his no-hitter, and how every time my grandmother started to say the forbidden words “no-hitter”, he would shush her. “Ruth, you’ll put the whitewash on it.” I wish I had the words for that night; I wish I could explain that how, for the rest of my life, when I think about baseball, I’ll see my grandfather’s face, honestly believing that what an old lady says in her living room will somehow change the outcome of a game (a game!) being played a hundred miles away.
I shushed her too. I believed.
Part of the reason I’m telling you all this is for me – so far, the only way I’ve been able to get a handle on grieving for this man is to think about baseball games. Otherwise, it’s just too big. The other, bigger part of the reason is to ask a favor. We’re all Red Sox fans – him, me, and my mother, the biggest fan of the three of us - and there is a flip side to cheering for the Sox.
Please, win on Friday. Win on Saturday, and win on Sunday, and win as many times as it goddamn takes, because I can’t deal with the idea that the last World Series he watches could have the Yankees in it. I know it’s small, I know it’s petty, I know Yankees fans have grandfathers, too, but, like I said in the beginning of my letter, options are lacking right now, and this is the only thing I could come up with. I really need you to win.
Best to Cliff Lee,