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Tuesday, April 12, 2005
Red Sox overload

By Patrick Hruby
Special to Page 2

Let's start with a strained pop culture reference.

After all, this is Page 2. In the HBO series "Curb Your Enthusiasm," there is an episode in which Susie offers Larry David a tour of her new home.

David, of course, declines, infuriating Susie in the process:

SUSIE: So come on, I'll give you the tour.

LARRY: Oh, you know what, that's OK. I get it.

SUSIE: What do you mean?

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LARRY: Well, you know, it's ... bedrooms, bathrooms, I get it. I see it! It's beautiful. It's great.

SUSIE: You don't want a tour?

LARRY: Eh. You don't need to walk me around.

SUSIE: All right, get the [expletive] out of my house, OK, Larry? Just get the [expletive] out right now!

Beautiful. Great. No need to walk me around. For countless sports fans who didn't grow up in New England -- myself included -- David might as well have been talking about Red Sox Nation.

It's ... longtime suffering. The curse. The comeback, the bloody sock, fathers crying with sons. All that facial hair. Oh, and you won. You finally won. Anything is possible! We get it.

Now, can you please leave the rest of us alone?

Pretty please?

Like for another 86 years?

Really, it's too much. And that's without mentioning Jimmy Fallon, let alone Ben Affleck. Though it's difficult to pinpoint the exact moment when the Red Sox went from plucky underdogs to suffocating, omnipresent cultural pollutant -- possibly when "Fever Pitch" hit theaters; probably when Johnny Damon's shirtless vacation photos appeared on Page 3 -- the fact of the matter remains. No mas. A thousand times no mas.

Ever since last fall, the "Boston wins!" phenomenon has stumbled around in the manner of a drunken sailor on shore leave, pawing and slobbering over anything that crosses its path. To a point, that's OK. Eighty-six years is a long time at sea. Anyone involved with the Red Sox has plenty of steam to blow off.

But when said steam ends up in everyone else's faces, well, that's a bit annoying. And by "a bit," we mean a lot.

To put things another way: If President Bush appeared at Fenway Park, proclaimed "ich bin ein Red Soxen" and announced a 10-year crash program to reanimate Ted Williams' frozen head before the terrorists beat us to it ... well, we wouldn't be surprised.

Of course, some might suggest treating Boston like offensive pornography, or any regular series on MTV: If you don't like it, don't watch it. And certainly don't set your TiVo to record "Trippin." Fair enough, except for one little detail.

It's downright impossible to avoid the Red Sox.

Go to a bookstore? There's Damon's aptly titled "Idiot," along with a half-dozen quick-and-disposable "What a year!" tomes.

(Really, how many "inside stories" of the most improbable championship season in sports history can there be?)

Go to the movies? There are Fallon and Drew Barrymore running onto the Fenway turf -- the most likely reason "Sahara" finished atop last weekend's box office.

Go online? Blogs, blogs and more blogs. Boston baseball spawns more amateur sports journalism than Page 2.

Flip on SportsCenter? The Red Sox are receiving their championship rings for the 2,745th time. The Zapruder film received less scrutiny.

Flip to Bravo? Damon and Co. are getting a makeover on "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy." Sadly, Mike Piazza doesn't host.

Flip to C-Span? Curt Schilling is testifying about steroids, even though his physique makes it clear he has zero firsthand knowledge. Perhaps Congress wanted his autograph.

Heck, I can't even put my feet on my coffee table in peace. Not without Damon and Jason Varitek staring back from the covers of Sports Illustrated and ESPN The Magazine.

What's next -- David Wells on Men's Fitness?

Look, it's bad enough that the rest of us are constantly told how great the Boston-New York rivalry is, never mind that Andy Roddick has a better record against Roger Federer than the Sox do against the Yanks. But we can live with that (the October games are pretty good). What we can't live with is all Boston, all the time. Not in a sport where rooting interests remain intensely regional.

San Francisco fans care about Barry Bonds and beating the Dodgers. Chicago Cubs fans obsess over their own curse. Washington fans are ecstatic to have a freakin' team. Fans everywhere are content with their parochial concerns. We don't really care about what happens in Boston -- nor should we, at least not until the Red Sox start winning titles like the Patriots.

Boston fans ought to understand. After all, the Red Sox are special to Red Sox Nation, same as Susie's house is special to ... Susie. And that's swell. Just don't expect us to take the tour. In fact, get the [expletive] out of our houses, already. Schilling is bleeding all over the carpet, and Damon's hair is clogging the sink.

Honestly, it's enough to make us root for the Yankees. Well, almost.

Patrick Hruby is a sportswriter for The Washington Times.