Cross-country road trip, resurrected (#8)

This post originally appeared on theday.com on August 6th, 2007

I hope the Pacific is as blue as it is in my dreams. I hope.

I’ve been disconnected from much of reality for the last month. Living on the road and in the woods we didn’t spend much time getting reliable news.

I guess the thing I’ve most been able to keep tabs on has been sports. One thing you can count on in the summer when you walk into any bar, anywhere in this wacky country, is the soothing green glow of a baseball diamond shining through the dust.

Baseball has been a theme of conversation over the entire trip.

For one, I’ve become a lot more possessive about the Red Sox. I knew that they’ve become bigger over the last few years, but I had no idea. Fans are everywhere. It’s nice, but slightly devastating. My small grip on the team seems even more diluted.

In Los Angeles, people wear Boston hats like they wear Yankee hats—like name brands.

In West Virginia I started up a conversation with a guy who was decked out in Red Sox gear.

“Sox fan huh,” I said after he lit a cigarette with a Red Sox lighter.

“Aw yeah,” he said. “I’ve been fawlwin the Sawks fa yeas.”

It was the grossest Boston accent I’d ever heard.

“Where are you from,” I said.

“Pittsburgh. Bawt I’ve been a yuge Sawks fan eva since my brotha stahted goina Umass.”

After spending a few seconds gauging his lack of knowledge about the team, I wanted to punch him in the face. Do you Yankees fans ever get this angry at the leagues of moronic and ignorant bandwagon fans that you have?

I still love the Red Sox, but their soul is dissipating.

But for now it’s all about Bonds. Throughout the ride Will and I have been building on this childish fantasy that we would arrive in San Francisco just in time to catch Bonds’ record-breaking homerun.

We’ve become so infatuated with it that we’re now certain we’re going to catch it. It’s all working out, for once. We might have wrecked Will’s Volvo,[i] and we might be dwindling our savings’ accounts down to nothing, but it doesn’t matter because tomorrow we’ll be legends. And loaded.

We’re putting off job searching for a few more days. Yesterday we drove to a trailer park in Walnut Creek to pick up a beat-up, hot orange, six–person inflatable raft that we found for free on Craig’s List. We haven’t seen it float yet, but it’s beautiful. Room for us and just enough beers. [ii]

We’re getting to McCovey Cove early, in order to get a good place on the water. So we’ll be there at least three hours before game time, every game this week.

I’m bringing a fresh copy of Moby Dick to keep me company during the down time. I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve never read it. But I know the gist, and my feeling is that, in my lifetime, the closest thing I’ll ever have to landing a whale might be to catch a Bonds home run ball.

I am the modern day Ahab.

Oh, and for those Bonds haters out there, which seems like everybody these days, I need to get something off my chest. Lighten up. Seriously.

The man is the best hitter of my lifetime. Maybe the best ever. He used steroids. Shame. Boo hoo. So have half of the pitchers that he’s hit those bombs off of. He’s a pompous ass. So. So are most athletes. And Bonds deserves to be more than anyone.He’s dealt with more hounding by fans and media than anyone I can remember.[iii]

The more Will and I encountered Bonds haters across the country, the more we grew to like the fact that we were fans. Even in San Francisco, when I try to talk about Bonds people start by telling me how disgusting he is.

It’s an absurd stretch, but it’s like being the only fans of Led Zeppelin during their twilight years.[iv]

How is this possible? Bonds is a monster. He’s an artist, with the most devastatingly patient and powerful brushstroke ever known.

If anything is right in the world then we will catch that ball today. Almost everyone else trying to catch it will be doing so for all the wrong reasons. Not us.

We’ll actually deserve that cool two million or so.[v]


[i] When we drove up to a gas station in Arizona we had to stop a guy, who we called “Beers” because of the number of times he used the word “beers” in a span of two minutes, from filling the car up with diesel. “Oh,” he said. “Sorry. It sounds like a diesel.” It actually might be, now. This was the only sentence he used that didn’t have “beers” in it.

[ii] Will will also be wielding a big fishing net. He decided to go with a flat-top net design, instead of the standard circular net, which I think is a mistake. In our field tests in Wal-Mart, however, he did perform much better with the former. We could only do a variety of long-distance dry tests, though.

[iii] I wasn’t alive for Jackie Robinson or Ty Cobb. And A-Rod doesn’t count.

[iv] Zeppelin used even more performance enhancing drugs than Bonds.

[v] Will and I have decided to split the proceeds sixty-forty.

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