The late baseball commissioner Bart Giamatti once wrote that baseball “. . . breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart.” That bit, which is widely quoted, came in his essay “The Green Fields of the Mind.” People tend not to quote much of the rest of that piece, but almost everyone knows the stuff about baseball breaking your heart.
That essay was inspired by the final day of the 1977 season when Giamatti’s Red Sox saw their summer end as the Yankees sat at home, once again preparing for the playoffs and eventual World Series glory. It’s a testament, then, to once ubiquitous Red Sox failure in the shadow of once ubiquitous Yankees glory.
That script has changed over the years, of course, as Boston has won three World Series and the Yankees have scuffled and tried to rebuild on the fly of late. This year the Yankees have been surprisingly successful, however, with that rebuild bearing earlier-than-expected fruit. The Yankees hosted the Red Sox this weekend, trailing Boston in the standings, but hopeful.
Last night New York had a chance to win the rubber match of the series. They took a 2-1 lead on a Todd Frazier sac fly in the eighth and, in the ninth, brought in fireballing closer Aroldis Chapman. Chapman struck out Hanley Ramirez on three pitches when in stepped rookie Rafael Devers, who himself went down 1-2 to Chapman. The excitement in Yankee Stadium was palpable. Chapman was about to strike out Devers for out number two and then he’d no doubt get out number three to secure the Yankees victory.
Let’s watch how excited the fans were as Chapman prepared to put away Devers:
Oops. Devers homered, sending the games to extra innings where the Sox would eventually win.
This poor man, whoever he is, now knows that “. . . it breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart.” Even Yankees fans’ hearts.