My Red Sox might not be lighting the world on fire this year, but you can be sure I tuned into the action when they hosted the Yankees last weekend for a three-game set.
Now yes, the Sox had been better as of late, coming into the series just five games behind the Bombers on the year.
Of course, they returned to form, dropping two games to their perennial foes.
But my interest in this series went far beyond my desire to see the Old Towne Team cut into the Yanks’ lead in the American League East.
There’s a lot riding on this; in fact, the entire comedy world hangs in the balance.
Prior to the start of the MLB season, three friends and I (two of us are Sox fans, the other two support the Yanks) made a friendly wager. The parameters of the bet were simple: if the Red Sox win the season series against the Yankees, the two losers of the bet will be forced to perform five minutes of standup comedy at an open mic somewhere in New York City.
If the Yanks win? It looks like I’m going to have to channel my inner Seinfeld.
Now, as a devoted reader of my column, you may already know that I am not, by any objective sense of the word, funny. And you don’t know the half of it.
I wouldn’t call my fear of public speaking “crippling,” but the fact remains that if you put me in front of an audience, shove a microphone in my hand and ask me to speak extemporaneously, bad things tend to happen.
When I was in college, I served as the rush chairman for my fraternity. During the rush process—the time of year when it was my job to ostensibly recruit new members into our organization—I was forced to give a speech to a lecture hall of around 180 first-year students.
It did not go well.
I caught the eye of one of my brothers in the audience and immediately was struck with a case of what scientists call “the giggles.” And boy, did I lose it. About two minutes into my speech, my notes were all but forgotten as my head was down on the wooden lectern at the front of the auditorium. I was laughing uncontrollably, my face red, shoulders heaving as I tried desperately to stop chuckling and finish my presentation.
I did not manage to make it through my speech, but I did have to answer several questions from college administrators who were convinced that I was on something. Suffice it to say, I’ve done my best to avoid such situations since.
Until this bet, that is.
On the surface, it seemed like a sure thing. The Sox retooled the offense this offseason, the Yanks seemed to be mired in uncertainty and I was beyond sure that we’d have the Yankees’ number this year. The chance to beat the Yanks and watch two of my closest buddies squirm their way through an uncomfortable set at the ChuckleHut? That’s a win-win in my book.
Fast-forward to July, and the Yanks are up six games to three on the last place Sox. After last weekend, just 10 games remain between the two teams. A Boston sweep could buy me a little breathing room for the time being. If the Yanks roll, I’d better start listening to old George Carlin bits.
So I urge everyone, regardless of your personal rooting interests, to pull for the Red Sox these next few months.
Not for my sake, but for comedy’s.
Don’t let the laughter die on my watch.
Follow Mike on Twitter @LiveMike_Sports.