Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Redsocks Rivalry Will Never Be the Same

Wednesday night, I lost a great, great friend.

His name was John Bonfatti. Everybody called him Jay. And anyone who met the guy soon recognized an unforgettable personality. He was a solid journalist, a writer for AP and The Buffalo News, though career points cannot begin to describe his presence. I've never known anybody with more friends or a kinder heart. Jay visited his brother’s family on Cape Cod, had a glorious day, went to bed that night and did not wake up. He was just 52.

Jay was a Redsock diehard, which meant we enjoyed one of those Ying-Yang relationships common to New York and Boston sports fans. Every Yank nutcase has a few Redsock counterparts, and that’s the meat of the rivalry – believe me, it’s not Mariano vs Youk – it’s only your close friends that make playing Boston special. And whatever happens, hell, it’s always an excuse to call.

I was with Jay the night that ball rolled through Bill Buckner’s legs in 1986. We were at a party, and, of course, I was boycotting the MetSock World Series. All night, Jay humped the TV, screaming as Boston built its insurmoutable lead. With the final glory in sight, I quit moping and stood nearby. I remember Jay shouting, “This is the closest we’ve ever been!” And with the Mets at their seemingly final gasp, he started yowling. That’s the only way to describe it. Wait -- no -- let me take that back. He was “yeeeeing.” It was the sound that your windshield wiper splashers make, when you're out of fluid, except that it was 100 times louder. He yeeeeeed until that ball rolled into right field. Oh, it was painful to watch. I couldn’t even razz him for – well – maybe for a day or two. But that's how it had to be.

Wednesday, I'm told Jay had a glorious day with family. I have to believe they watched the Yankee-Redsock game that night. If I know Jay, he was giddy over the outcome -- the Dustin Pedroia grand slam, the 11-3 rout that basically ended the Yankee season.

I imagine him yeeeeeing. God, I hope he was yeeeeing.

At this point, please bear with me, because it's really late, I should be in bed, and I’m not sure if what I’m about to write makes any sense.

But to me, this lame 2008 Yankee team is finally worth it.

I’m sitting here, and I'm just thinking how my friend must have gone to bed laughing. The Yankees gave him a smile on the last day of his life.

There was a reason, after all.

Rest in peace, Jay.

Your team won the last game.

I suspect I’ll never hear the end of this.


Stang said...

I'm speechless. Glad you aren't, duque. That was nice.

Anonymous said...

El Duque, that was some of the finest blogging I've read in a while.

I truly love the humor this site provides. But today, I am enthralled with your ability to compose such a wonderful post.

Another reason this is truly my favorite blog.


The Shamus

PS- Great close to the post....

Anonymous said...

Eloquent post Duque.