Monday, September 19, 2011

The King of Red Sox Nation

The 2011 Major League Baseball season is winding down. There are about 10 games left to play before the playoffs. You might be saying to yourself, "What does that have to do with horror?" Well, it is Stephen King Week and the Sox are King's team (and mine). So that's what is has to do with horror.

We won't go into the potential late-season meltdown the Sox are going through right now. Let's just say that when the calendar flips to October, the Sox better still be playing. October just isn't as fun if my boys aren't taking the field.

And it's probably worse for King. He actually lives close enough and can afford to go to games at Fenway Park. I've seen the Sox play but never in Boston. Someday.

King is more than a fair weather fan. He's written one novel, "The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon" in which a former Red Sox player served as a spiritual guide to a girl lost in the woods of Maine.

The book hasn't reached the level of respect many of King's novels have, but it's one I enjoyed. Despite what some critics have said, I think King writes female characters rather well. They are rarely weak or meek and generally don't need a man to take care of them. Then again, I am a man raised by an independent woman, just as King was. So maybe it's a different perspective.

"The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon" also has the distinction of being published as a pop-up book.

As for Tom Gordon, he eventually became a Yankee, which sucks. But not as much as Roger Clemens or Johnny Damon becoming Yankees. Jerks.

Speaking of Johnny Damon, King co-wrote a non-fiction book called "Faithful," chronicling the World Series championship 2004 season. He joined with fellow fan Stewart O'Nan (who grew up as a Pittsburgh Pirates fan, but we forgive him. having once thought I would bleed Dodger blue for life, I kind of have to), for a series of email exchanges discussing games and players throughout the season. After the tragic end of the 2003 season, it often seemed like the 2004 campaign would go down the same. But the Sox triumphed, the book got a happy ending and we got the amazing cover photo of catcher Jason Varitek whacking punk-ass Alex Rodriguez in the face.

Man, I love that photo.

"Faithful" is a book by and for fans who love the game but don't need SABRmetrics to enjoy it. For anyone who read King's memoir "On Writing" or followed his "Pop of King" columns in "Entertainment Weekly" (or even if you've ever read one of his forwards to his own novels), you know that King has a strong voice in non-fiction. He writes like he talks, which is something I always thought was a good thing. (More of criticism of King's colloquial style later in the week.)

So, root, root, root for the Red Sox. If they don't win it's a shame.

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