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A DAY OF LIGHT AND SHADOWS
Jonathan Schwartz
February 26, 1979
A Red Sox fan, so devoted he has listened to their games over the phone in Paris, recounts the glittering glory and the chilling finale of last fall's New York-Boston playoff
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February 26, 1979

A Day Of Light And Shadows

A Red Sox fan, so devoted he has listened to their games over the phone in Paris, recounts the glittering glory and the chilling finale of last fall's New York-Boston playoff

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I was astounded when Yaz connected with an inside fastball for a leadoff second-inning homer, a blast that from my vantage point looked foul. Fisk and Lynn followed with fly-ball outs, Lynn's drive propelled to deep centerfield. I reasoned that Guidry, after all, was working on only three days' rest, that he was a fragile guy, that maybe there was a shot at him.... Maybe there was a shot at him.

Torrez was getting stronger as the game moved along. When the fourth inning began, my nerves were so jumbled that I felt it impossible to continue standing in that puddle staring out at the field. I wanted to break away from it, soften its colors, lower its volume.

I climbed up the metal ladder and went into the men's room, a separate little building with one long urinal and two filthy sinks above which was written in large, well-formed blue Magic Marker letters and numbers, FATE IS AGAINST '78.

In the press room the ABC telecast was playing to an empty house. I sat down to watch an inning or so and was joined a moment later by Ned Martin, whose partner, an amiable, childlike man named Jim Woods, was handling the fourth. Woods' usual innings were the third, fourth and seventh. Knowing of this arrangement, I had hoped for Ned's appearance. Someone so close to it all, so immersed in it all for so many years, would have the answer. He would reassure me, calm me down.

"Well," I said.

" Torrez," he said.

"Do you think?"

"Can't tell."

Ned is usually more loquacious than he was that afternoon. He is as articulate and as creative a sports-caster as there is in the country. He is often poetic and moving. "The Yankee score is up," he had observed late in September from Toronto, where scores remain only momentarily on the electric board. "Soon it will be gone," he had continued in his usual quiet tone. "It will flash away like a lightning bug into the moist and chilly Canadian night."

From Chicago a number of seasons ago—I wrote it down at the time: "The dark clouds approaching from beyond leftfield look to be ambling across the sky in no apparent hurry. They know what trouble they are and are teasing the crowd with their distant growl."

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