Singin' the Boston Bluesby Matt Reno
Nov 12, 2003 (Updated Apr 13, 2005)
Popular Products in MusicThe Bottom Line Bob Chabot tells why it's not easy to root for the Red Sox.
"From the Berkshires to Boston, there was a low, dyin' sound. Grady left Pedro too long on the mound."
These are the words of Red Sox fan Bob Chabot in response to the coaching atrocity that occurred in the 2003 American League Championship Series. Chabot's song Too Long On the Mound (Some Last Words for Grady Little) tells of the heartbreak endured by all Sox fans, as they watched their World Series chances slip away.
In case you spent the fall of '03 under a rock, here's what you missed. The Boston Red Sox, having not won a World Series since 1918, looked like they would finally have another chance. They had a three run lead over the New York Yankees going into the bottom of the eighth inning of Game 7. Pedro Martinez was pitching a great game, but fatigue was setting in. Boston's manager Grady Little came to the mound to ask Pedro if he was good for the final five outs.
Now, everyone watching knew it was time for Pedro to tip his hat and let the red-hot bullpen close up. But Little decided to keep the tired ace pitcher in. Pedro couldn't finish the job and allowed three runs to tie the game. The Sox lost on an extra innings home run, a hit that may have never happened had Grady taken Pedro out.
Chabot's song perfectly encapsulates the emotions Sox fans everywhere have endured since that night. The song is slow and somber, and Chabot, singing in his Dylan-esque voice, starts nearly every verse with the plea "Oh Grady, oh Grady...," basically what most Sox fans have been repeating since that night. Chabot begins by summing up the story and then stating the obvious: "It's a manager's duty to make a difficult call/ When his superstar pitcher won't give up the ball."
Throughout the song Chabot hurls plenty of vitriol in Little's direction, but he does so in such a comical way that you can't help but smile: "And if there's a God sitting up there in Heaven/ He'll not let you in 'til you atone for Game Seven.../ Oh Grady, oh Grady It was no curse this time/ Unless it's a curse that takes away a man's mind."
But the song is not just a Grady Little insult fest. Chabot makes sure to acknowledge the pain of all Sox fans. Twice he describes everyone's frustration at being helpless to tell Grady the obvious: "Embree was ready/ And Timlin was too." He later addresses the loyalty of the perpetually heartbroken Red Sox fans: "I will pick myself up and go find me a reason/ To go through it all again in the next season."
I'm too young to remember '86, so 2003's disappointment is my generation's ball through the legs. With Too Long on the Mound, Bob Chabot has perfectly captured the feelings of every Sox fan, not only in 2003 but in the past 85 years.
To order a copy of the song, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
And just for the hell of it, here's a link to a poem I wrote last year about the Red Sox. I really thought this was the year the poem would become irrelevant. Next year...
More Red Sox reviews:
MLB World Series DVD
The Teammates: A Portrait of a Friendship
Tales From the Red Sox Dugout
Wow... I was right on that "next year" thing. Whoda thunk?