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Quando fiam uti chelidon

Well, nobody can say that they didn't see that coming.


Nope. And at times like these you just have to give thanks...


Thank you Boston Red Sox for your foreshadowing back in April, the cruelest month, the coming of this dry death, this dead mountain mouth of carious teeth that cannot spit, where here one can neithah stand nor lie nor sit...


And thank you Boston Red Sox for the wicked pack of Tarot cahds you drew stahting at the beginning of Septembah — the drowned Phoenician Sailor, (Those are pearls that were his eyes. Look!)

Here is T Francona, The Leader of the Sox, the fady one of situations.

Oh, here is the man with the neck tattoos, and here the Bard, And here is the glare-eyed Lackey, and this cahd,

Which is blank, is something he carries on his back,

Which I am forbidden to see.


And that corpse Theo planted last year in the Fens,

It has begun to sprout. It set bloom this year.


Yes, we knew, we knew our fate, the Unreal Collapse, a dead sound on the final stroke of nine, and of the days ahead undah the brown fog of a wintah dawn.


Ah, yes, that brown fog of a wintah dawn.


You know, brown is so in right now.


Are you kidding me? I looking friggin good in brown.



Probably goes without saying that the guts of today's dialog is taken from one of the greatest poems in the English language, The Waste Land.

Oh, but just to clear, not taken word for word but twisted a bit to fit our peculiar situation.

I'm so brown I'm looking up at brown.

Well, at least they don't have to turn to "glare-eyed Lackey" to pitch tonight. Sigh.

My gourds,swollen no more ;O

Wow, I didn't think anything could make me feel hopeful this morning, but the Waste Land did it (one of my all-time favorite poems too, alongside a fair amount of Keats and Yeats' The Second Coming." My quote for Theo and crew this winter:

"What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow/ Out of this stony rubbish?"

dear haht,

am sorry for all yall - sort of. would be better if the MFY didn't make it neither. hopefully the rays/tigres/rangers will stomp them out right quick

but it was teh kewl to see ellsbury come back this year - especially after he had been essentially written of by fans/media

but look at it THIS way - all youse sawx fans, unlike us astros fans, really CAN say wait until next year - you have the money to fix the team. we don't - no money, no decent minor leaguers.

it can always be worse...

And in Chillicothe, a brown eye winks.

Our resplendence is never quiet...however sometimes all it has to say is "DERRRRPPP!".

Oh, great strip today H.B. Puts truth to the idea that the best prose comes from pain.

Well, LarryE, sorry I was too optimistic in my prediction of last night.

This is indeed what it was like to be a Red Sox fan in the late 40s and early 50s. You knew, you just knew, that despite their great stats, they were going to find a way to lose. And that they would lose in a witches' brew of bad coaching, bad managing, and lack of heart. The truly discerning Red Sox fan of 1975, which is what I had become by that time after 29 years of futility (little knowing that there were 29 more to come), knew in his gut, as he watched the Fisk HR hit the foul pole for the walkoff of Game 6, that they were going to lose the next day in the most heartbreaking way imaginable. And so they did.

I just knew they were going to lose last night in the most heartbreaking way imaginable. And so they did. It was karma and payback, yes; but it was also the burden of history.

That brown eye is winking at you,Bob :D

My brother and I thought it was funny when my day would say, "They'll break your heart." But he knew his share of "The final stroke of nine." Today, I'm numb from this "stony rubbish."

Due to my enormous stupidity in introducing this team and it's pathos to my beloved husband I have brought a curse upon myself.

An early morning phone call pleading: Why? WHY have you done this to me!? Why did you make me care about these baseball shenanigans? I was perfectly happy in my life not knowing what a 6-4-2 double play was!

The cold realization washing over me in that moment that it's very likely I will not get laid until Spring Training, out of punishment.

Thank you, thank you very much.

Careful, kid. They'll break your heart.

Now THAT'S a kick in the Poopchute,Pseudo

Thanks, once again, for a great year, h.b.

I don't know about anyone else, but I refute the notion that this loss is worse than 2003 (or previous editions). This was more of a gentle touch-down, the conclusion of a long, slow descent. The others were more of a present day Bard fastball: belt high, right down the middle and headed straight for your testicles.

My only question: did you have today's strip partially prepared in advance, much like Lindsay Lohan's pending, half-written obit that awaits only dates and last-day details?

Things change.

In 2003, I woke up feeling as if an irradiated sword had been shoved in my abdomen and twisted into my descending colon. Today, I have to paint something and do some paying work.

As sdu so aptly pointed out in the middle of (our) night, BG wrote that “the game is designed to break your heart”. True, I suppose. In 2003, BG, was a God of Letters. In 2011, he is the dead dad of the guy who is always the gay punchline on Saturday Night Live and the dead former president of the school where Ryan Lavarnway matriculated.

These Red Sox didn’t deserve to win. Maybe we did, the sick-fuck fans who followed every hairline fracture, HR Derby slideback, antique bookstore opening (sorry hb) and trips to Fla, API and whatnot. Also, the Laser Show might want to dial it back just a smidge. For me, I tapped out during the “Rain Delay” featuring Nick Cafardo (or was it Gordon Edes ) and Heidi (“if you can’t see my labia, you are not trying”) Watney. I skipped the John “I’m John Rish” Rish rain delay coverage on the former Dale Arnold Network. Five hours later, I learned The Truth. I posted a comment. I went right back to sleep.

Things change. As my friend, Touré points out, it’s a “post-Black” world. http://www.npr.org/2011/09/27/140854965/toure-discusses-what-it-means-to-be-post-black.
Try telling that to the Republican/Tea party honks, for whom “Obama Care” really means “Nigger Care”. And while we are at it, and I wish this was my original line, but it is not: “For the Greatest Generation, they sure said “nigger” a lot. Things change.
So, let’s move on. The sun has already come up. Bruce Chen will not be starting in Tampa at 4:07pm. John Lackey can go fucking dirty beasts whilst his cancer suffering wife reads the pre-nup again. [ Let’s face it, girls, he’s a catch.] Tito may get fired. He doesn’t deserve it. Theo may get fired. The Pink Hats will dissipate. Maybe I’ll be able to buy a ticket in May, and the gentleman of an ethnic persuasion (let’s just say they fared poorly in WWII) who stole the tickets I subsidized for ten years and then took them back may have to eat a pound or six of ticket shit.
I loved the Red Sox.

Things change.

Great as usual, h.b.

l.c., Gotta confess being called a racist is getting kinda old. I'm just sayin'...

Things change, pal.


I think the worst part of this is that I somehow didn't care as much as in 2003 or 1986 or 1972. Even when they were playing well Crawford seemed like a deer in the headlights, Lackey was abysmal, the Albers/Morales crew was uninspiring, Papi's act wore thin (remember the error rant--real funny), and Lester was his typical grumpy self. Though it was great to watch Ells prove himself to his doubters (I didn't think he was soft but I thought he was ony slightly above average), Pedroia come back from his injury, Youkilis gut things out, and AGon's usually gorgeous swing, I just couldn't get excited about the team even when they were "the best in baseball." Before the pitching went south (with the Bard implosions the exclamation points), something was missing. I haven't felt this way since the Dave Stapleton years, and I'm not sure why. Maybe it seems like the players were going through the motions, but I think it goes deeper than that. Maybe it is because the team tries to suck out every last penny of every consumer (bricks, anyone?) but seems to take us for granted. It's a sad feeling (although a million-fold better after '04 and '07). But something is wrong.

Hubris. It is why the gods punish us.

OK, Blue Stater. You were right in the general sense. I became a Sox fan as a 10-year old in April of 1967. So in the past 44 years, I've witnessed many heartbrakers, '86 and '03 being the worst. In understand that '49 was bad too.

I regret if I said anything that would call into question anyone's political beliefs. The point was, things change.

Some things change at varying paces.

Love you, love the show, hb.


I know this in my bones

"We'll always have Liverpool"

Yazbread, if God punished hubris, the Skankees would have a grand total of one championship.

Rich, I have learned that baseball and football are not good bedfellows.

Basball fans can be incredibly passionate but football fans, for lack of a better description, are ridiculously batshit crazy.

There's a lot of things about the fandom of each sport that doesn't translate.
For example, when I took my husband to his first Red Sox game (in Seattle) he was ASTOUNDED that the fans of each team intermingle and are even (gasp!) cordial with one another.

Thanks for another great year, h.b.

So it ends like this, feeling like 2003 all over again. Actually, I can't tell if it's better or worse that 2003. Then it was just another failed year against the backdrop of some may other failures. Now 2011 stands in contrast to 2004 and 2007.

So in the end I fall into old habits, "Wait until next year."

TS Eliot makes everything better.

On behalf of my Milwaukee-denizen good friend, go Brewers.

ah The Waste Land...conicidentally used by Stephen King , a huge sox fan (duh), to write his epic Dark Tower series....maybe this is a good thing. maybe we can get rid of all the pink hats and go back to the way it was before. Shit, the pats lost to frikkin Buffalo. life is a wheel. i shall now grow my mullet back out and peg my pants again. If you need me I will be break dancing on a cardboard box somewhere in the vicinity of copley plaza.

A lot of erudition on the board today. I wish I had something classy to say, but this morning I got nothin'. I just feel spent. Brown is the color of the day.

Thanks for The Waste Land, h.b. Wish I'd had more appreciation for it back in college. I find it comforting today.

Great Job h.b.
My 10 year old asked me this morning after we watched the end of the game (we both fell asleep thinking we were in): Is this how it felt in 1978 Dad?
I replied: I don't know; how do you feel?
His answer: bad, real bad.

It sucks, but the swoon may have helped a 10yo understand being a fan.

It was easy to love a team that always wins; but its the heart breakers that make the wins so special.

At least that's what I told him.

Yeah, I had that conversation with my 17 year old. As a Marlins and Red Sox fan, he has seen 4 World Series wins before his 18th birthday. He doesn't understand the pain.

Yeah, I had that conversation with my 17 year old. As a Marlins and Red Sox fan, he has seen 4 World Series wins before his 18th birthday. He doesn't understand the pain.

Thank you, HB & LC for the words.

The Lord said that "a seed must fall to the ground and die" to bear much fruit. Adrian Gonzalez said it wasn't God's Will that we win this year. The dying seed of hope will grow in the young eternal breast a harvest of autumns; none of us became fans by attending parades. The heart must be broken, the seed must die, before the tree of love can grow in its misty soil. As we partake in the sufferings of the cloud of witnesses, we may grow saintly like them, loving unconditionally because our hearts have been broken.

your artistry is particularly evident during these moments of crisis. and remember, as that great philosopher Papelbon said, "What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. I’ve always come back from outings I have not done well and learned more from them, made me more of a leader. That’s it really."
Except the way he said it, with wild-eyed intensity that did not appear to be an application for a leadership position, seemed to suggest that he would be willing to demonstrate what he had just learned on somebody's face.
Again, this site is a work of art, and I would like to thank you for making the baseball season more entertaining.

I'm a big louclinton fan. I've got nothing else to add. Oh, except... I hope I never see Lackey again.

Saw it coming by the stern refusal to pad the lead via baserunning blunders galore (really, Papi? Really, Aviles?) and was unsurprised by the epic 3.5 minute unraveling of our baseball world (altho the Rays win was a given after they tied it, as the MFY didn't have a guy with an average over .265 in). Time to become a fan of the other 7 teams in the playoffs.

Agree with you Tom. As maddening as the season has been, from the panic-inducing (is that a proper use of hyphen?) to the glorious middle to the soul-sucking (same question) ending, visiting this site daily has been a consistently entertaining refuge. So thank you, hb. Thank you so much.

panic-inducing beginning, that is

Perhaps he should be known as CHG (Curly Haired Gooch):


Thanks for all the kind words.

Does anyone remember if I took time off last offseason? I vaguely recall taking a hiatus toward the end of year. Either way, not sure how this offseason will play out.

Definitely things will continue along normally, though with some days off here and there, thru the World Series.

I had intended to have the "Best of..." book ready by now, but... nope.

@hb You took a couple of months off last year, after the season concluded.

As I said then, "take what you need, we'll be here when you return."


Echoing lc. Need any help from us with the Best Of project. Perhaps we can start a thread of recalling personal favorites in the off-season?

It might make me a pink-hatter, but after sharing a pitcher at dinner last night, I went to take a nap during the rain delay and couldn't get back up when my husband came in to tell me that the Rays had tied it up. I'm relieved that I didn't have to witness the end of the season. Checking my phone for the result at 2:30 am and seeing Natalie's succinct FB post said it all.

h.b., brown is a fitting color for today - like the blues but without the music.


Thanks for that suggestion. I'd been toying with something similar in asking all of you to come up with some of your faves.

I'm planning to structure it as all one liners, and having 162 of them, i.e, the best ones from 2004-present.

I'm pretty sure there are enough one-liners, i.e, bits the characters said that can stand alone without additional context, to fill the 162.

I already started a spreadsheet and got about to June of 2004. Takes longer than I'd expected to read every strip and not get lost in day dreaming and nostalgia.

but after sharing a pitcher at dinner last night

further details welcomed

Well, with the ignominious end to the 2011 Sox season, we have nothing BUT time in October for daydreaming and nostalgia here in the comments, so let us know if we can help. :)

h.b. Echoing many others today, thank you for another great year of entertainment and interest. This blog and the community it serves is very special. It's also weird. I haven't met you, h.b., or any of the other posters but I feel I know you and them in some remote, and admittedly partial, but at times emotionally-nourishing way.

Sox fans should take solace in the fact that even if we had gotten to the post-season, it's virtually impossible to imagine we'd beat the Phillies. I agree with YouDaMan that this team lacked a fire and resilience that, for example the '04 team had. I didn't always like everythink that Millar and Damon said and did, but I feel it's undeniable that they provided a looseness to the clubhouse that the '11 team probably could have used in the last month. I hope Francona's not made the scapegoat, because it wasn't his fault the starting pitching sucked so bad. Things change, as l.c. has said today. This offseason, it will be interesting to see WHICH things change with our beloved Red Sox.

Thanks again, h.b.

@Yaz, well it wasn't Wakefield cause I would keep him all for myself.

It was actually a local microbrew wheat, which unfortunately was reminiscent of orange dish soap, so more like .

ugh, apparently my choice of punctuation around "insert name of fruity mlb pitcher here" means omit.

Surely I am not the only observer of the current baseball scene to notice that the twin epic collapses of the moment are those of the Boston Red Sox and the Atlanta, née Boston, Braves? Do we really need more bad karma right now?

And thank you, h.b., as I should have written earlier, for the strip. Only the foibles of our Red Sox would inspire something like Soxaholix. Sorta puts me in mind of the discussion on the PBS MacNeil-Lehrer News Hour the night after the '86 WS collapse. It featured, if memory serves, the director of the Fogg Art Museum and the chair of the Harvard classics department in a discussion of how, in classical artworks, young men dare greatly and fall greatly. I somehow doubt that that discussion and Soxaholix would arise out of the doings of, say, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

I was in sec. 27, 3 rows off the field...15 yards from Crawford. I am now convinced that he has been the Ray's Most Valuable Player two years in a row -- he just happened to accomplish this feat wearing two different uniforms. He could not have ever won a gold glove.
Baltimore fans verbally raped us after the game. MFS- m..Showalter- a hollow, stuffed manager of 93 loses.

Well, that was a serious downer as mrs sdu, the 8 year old 'sox fan and I prepare for our little prilgrimige to the Melbourne Cricket Ground for the Maggie's attempt to repeat. However, it was truly epic, and sorta/kinda why we love baseball. Plus, as today's strip shows us, we still have TSE and hb channelling the same. Thanks.

I'm throwing my sad, resigned support behind the Brewers cos I love a fat first baseman who whacks the ball real hard and Laverne & Shirley came from there. Whatever.


h.b. another classic!

That was two epic fails for me this year...At least you have the Bruins...*sigh*

Hey, for most of the night last night in Baltimore, we had fun, and that's why we go to the park... Sox lost a close game and MFYs coughed up a seven-run lead in the eighth... What can you do. The MFY's do that kind of thing, and if you like it when it works for you (2004) you have to also put up with it when it doesn't. And keep Tito but not the slackers.


Added commentary on some of the strips in the Best Of...book would be welcome! Whether it be from you or the constant regulars on the site.

I know I'm probably asking too much from what is a one person show, but if you have additional notes, non-published comics, and other such 'extras', that would be an unmissable purchase.

And...um...a tangible copy this time around? I don't mind paying more for it, I'd just really like something to keep on my bookshelf.

Kind words? This strip and its regular commenters suck: Myself included.

Been checking in and reading all day. Still working through the pain to comment much...just to echo most of the sentiments above. Thanks, HB. Thanks Sox for a decent May - Aug. Thanks to TSE and rest for putting into words what I can't.

Go Maggies!

Just wanna pile on the Thanks to hb for another great season of strips.

So, The Sox find a way to spectacularly blow it all in the end.
The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Here's to next year.

...and like Paps says "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger"

Until He Who Dwelleth in His Mom's Basement shows, this faceplant of a season feels somehow incomplete. Just sayin'.

Somehow, I just don't give a fuck. They can't hurt me anymore. I feel nothing. Maybe 04 & 07 did that for me, I dunno. They have been preparing us for this for over a month. These guys couldn't string together 2 wins in like what, 40 games? They were going to miraculously turn it all around in the post season? With the mouthbreather on the mound and who's army? Who are we kidding? The fork was stuck in these guys weeks ago.

But that night, in particular, a strange (and ever since inexplicable) thing occurred to me. Starting from a brief standing sleep, I was horribly conscious of something fatally wrong. The jaw-bone remote smote my side, which leaned against it; in my ears was the low hum of an ugly crowd, just beginning to shake in the wind; I thought my eyes were open; I was half conscious of putting my fingers to the lids and mechanically stretching them still further apart. But, spite of all this, I could see no scoreboard before me to steer by; though it seemed but a minute since I had been watching the card, by the steady LED glow illuminating it. A stark, bewildered feeling, as of death, came over me. Convulsively my hands grasped the remote, but with the crazy conceit that the remote was, somehow, in some enchanted way, inverted. My God! what is the matter with me? thought I. Lo! in my brief sleep I had turned myself about, and was fronting Yawkey Way, with my back to the Fenway mound. In an instant I faced back, but not in time to prevent the vessel from flying up into the wind, and capsizing.
Look not too long in the face of the fire, O thou fan of the Olde Town Team! Never dream with thy hand on the remote! Turn not thy back to the W-L line; accept the first hint of the hitching tiller; believe not the artificial fire, when its redness makes all things look ghastly. To-morrow, in the natural sun, the skies will be bright; those who glared like devils in the forking flames, the morn will show in far other, at least gentler, relief; the glorious, golden, glad sun, the only true lamp- all others but liars!

Thanks, h.b. What you do here is Art.

S'75 - impressive!

Have a feeling Tito's opting for early retirement today.

Ha. Brilliant. Thanks for another great season. Sigh.

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