Sleeping With the Enemy

APRIL 2, 2007
How the Red Sox's got their groove back

Sometimes you have to be objective when working as an illustrator, even when it calls in to question your loyalties and fan-hood.   I'm a true blue Yankee fan from the early days of my childhood.  My first memories of baseball are at Yankee Stadium where I saw Thurman Munson,  Reggie Jackson, Craig Nettles and Ron Guidry play in front of my little boy eyes.   In those days baseball's greatest rivalry was Yankees/Red Sox and still is today.   So much history!  I remember coming home from school, in the 3rd grade, to watch Bucky Dent hit the legendary homer off of former Yankee, Mike Torres, to help them topple the Sox and get in to the ALCS and then win the series.    A indelible memory for me and for every Yankee fan.   Another big  Yankee/Red Sox's memory for me came shortly after being diagnosed with Severe Aplastic Anemia in the fall of 03 and things were looking bleak and I was deteriorating by the day.  The Yankees were in an incredibly tight American League Championship series with the Red Sox.  It was game seven and they were tied in the 11th, 5-5 in an incredible nail biter.  Tim Wakefield was pitching for the Sox's and the Yanks couldn't hit a lick off of him.    Normally, I couldn't stay still in times like these but the illness had fatigued me so much that I feel asleep on my couch shortly before the moment of truth.   I never saw Arron Boone hit the game winning walk off home run live, but my best friend in California, also a Yankee fan, called me on the phone, screaming and waking me up out of my stupor.   He said "Did you see that man! Boone hit a homerun and won the game!!!"  I was amazed, I couldn't believe it.   A real moment of sunshine in otherwise scary time for me.   I'll never forget it even though they didn't win the World Series that year.    However, a  year later I found myself getting chemo and radiation in preparations for my marrow transplant and the Yanks were facing the Sox's once again in the playoffs.  The Yanks had won the first 3 games rather handily and I just happen to have a nurse who was a Red Sox fan.   I couldn't help myself but give her hell about the Yankees doing a number on the Sox's.  My hair was falling out, I was on a morphine drip and it was the only thing that felt normal to me...  break chops on a Sox's fan.   She took it all in stride and she gave as good as she got.   Well,  you know what they say "Pride precedes the fall"   and man did I fall.    The Yanks lost 4 straight and the Sox when on to break the "Bambino Curse" and eventually win the World Series that year.   Fact is, I really didn't complain.   I was cured of my disease and the Sox won the series that October.   Things Change!!!!!     

 I still love the Yankee's but I'm happy for the Red Sox's that they broke their legendary curse and have made the Yankees/Red Sox rivalry once again the best thing in Sports.

This painting was commissioned by Boston Magazine's, Bob Parsons, a real gentleman every time I've worked for him.   They were doing a story on The Red Sox "getting the groove back".    Theo Epstein ( the GM) and Larry Lucchino ( the team president )  were the guy's who put together the Championship season of 2004, but had a falling out the next year and performed with lack luster results ever since.  This season they are thinking big.  They got this Japanese pitching phenomena they call "Dice K", Daisuke Matsuzaka, which some Drawgers have illustrated and posted already.  They have made their team more competitive with other additions as well but he's the guy they have riding the PR machine.   I thought Theo and Larry needed an attitude adjustment -- a really recognizable attitude adjustment, since they were "Getting Their Groove Back".  So I thought I'd turn them into the Jake and Elwood Blues of baseball.  To me, they looked the part and for Bob Parsons as well. 

So for all you Sox's fans... Go Yankees!
Theo Epstein as Elwood Blues
Larry Lucchino as Jake Blues
Topical: Editorial