To the list of propositions so crazy they might be true -- Elvis walks among us; a monster lives in Loch Ness; President Bush can form complete, coherent sentences in private -- add the following:
I might owe readers an apology. (Note the italics).
Earlier this year, I wrote an article lamenting the sudden, oppressive ubiquity of all things Boston Red Sox, including (but not limited to) the Bloody Sock of Turin, sons weeping at their fathers' graves and Johnny Damon's bid for the Pen/Faulkner Award.
In addition, I likened the team's fans to overbearing neighbors who insist on giving yawn-inducing tours of their unremarkable homes and obnoxious, messy boarders who simply refuse to leave. Wrapping things up, I politely asked the Red Sox and their followers to get the [expletive] out of America's collective house, already.
Surprisingly, this didn't go over well in Red Sox Nation.
Unsurprisingly, said Nation flooded my inbox.
One irate writer dubbed me an ass. Another added a suffix that rhymes with "droll." Some questioned my sexual orientation; others (smartly, I must admit) pointed out the hypocrisy of a media member decrying a media-disseminated phenomenon.
Oh, and I also was blessed with my very own obscene entry on the Urban Dictionary Web site, the Stateside equivalent of British knighthood -- albeit with less shoulder-tapping from the Queen, and more accusations of an unwholesome relationship between myself and the primates at the National Zoo.
Hmmm. When Irish author Brendan Behan noted that all publicity is good, he probably didn't have illicit man-on-monkey action in mind.
Anyway, the outpouring of bile forced me to reflect: Was I wrong to rip Boston overload? Did I bruise some feelings? Was it now time to repent, kneel before Zod and beg for New England's forgiveness?
After careful consideration, I'd like to extend the following olive branch to Red Sox Nation.
I'm not sorry for my article. Not in the least.
That said, I am sorry that Sox supporters are saddled with Ben Affleck, that Jimmy Fallon starred in the movie, and that so much of their emotional well-being rests on the fickle shoulders of stick-swinging, pajama-wearing millionaires. Particularly when said millionaires are losing ground to a similar bunch in pinstripes.
Wow. Know what? That felt good. Real good. Way better than a phony mea culpa, one of those by-the-book sham apologies that pollute sports and society alike. Ben Franklin was right: Honesty really is the best policy.
And for reminding us all of that fundamental truth -- heck, for giving me a sterling example to emulate -- I'd like to thank Jacksonville quarterback Byron Leftwich.
Why Leftwich? During a loss to Indianapolis two weeks ago, the Jaguars quarterback flipped off Colts defensive line coach John Teerlinck. Twice. Teerlinck reportedly yelled at Leftwich from the sideline; the quarterback's vulgar rejoinders were caught on camera.
Following the game, Leftwich said he was sorry. Well, sort of.
"I made a mistake," he said. "I hate that I did it because I got caught on TV. But in the heat of battle, sometimes you do things. Maybe a little child was sitting there watching the game and saw that. That's the only bad part of it."