By Mary Paoletti
I was talking to my dad on the phone last night when we lapsed into familiar silence. We were both watching TV.
"Beckett's pitching a good one," he said.
"Dad, the Celtics are on," I countered.
"It's the playoffs!" I said.
It's a battle we've waged for a few weeks now.
I'm not winning.
Beyond the gavel slam of "I'm the dad, you're the kid; I'm right, you're wrong; I'm big, your small," my father refuses to be wooed by the drama and romance of the playoffs. "The Cup" may as well be the gear Bob Stanley wore under his baseball pants. And Hub hoops? Forget it. There was a multi-decade stretch where the last live Celtics game my dad saw was at The Real Garden, on The Real Parquet, with The Real Big Three. He was more than happy to keep it that way.
So it is baseball or bust in the Paoletti home.
But my dad's not winning either. Last night I didn't watch a single pitch.
The Bruins are off until Saturday. Did it matter? Nope. Big Baby was annoying me and playoff hockey is playoff hockey, so I flipped over to CanucksPredators. When Nashville fans threw a catfish onto the ice, I didn't call back to ask my dad where, exactly, he thinks a person would keep a dead catfish during a hockey game before throwing it. When Shea Weber lifted Ryan Kesler like a bad puppy up and out of the crease by the scruff of his neck, I laughed with a bunch of strangers on Twitter.
Curiosity eventually (impossibly) outweighed Glen Davis and I bounced back to the NBA. Those last five minutes of regulation were more tense than a prison shower. But more fun. I fist pumped and swore and curled into a ball at the edge of my couch.
Though the Celtics lost, I was glad I watched.
My dad tells me I've been missing out.
Beckett did pitch well Monday night. The righty lasted seven scoreless and threw 70 of his 103 pitches for strikes. Alfredo Aceves balked again, which is always funny as long as the move doesn't actually lose the game. Carl Crawford hit his second walk-off just this week.
The cheers went unheard outside of Fenway Park because I, and everybody else, was too busy watching the elderly Celtics get dumped from their wheelchairs by Miami.
The C's have one night off and the Bruins have four so the Red Sox will have my full attention. For an hour.
The Red Wings will try to force a Game 7 on San Jose at 8 p.m. I like the old, (legally) faithful Wings. Jimmy Howard's years tending net for UMaine only further endears them to me. I won't be ignoring the Sox entirely -- Boston v. Blue Jays is an AL East showdown, after all.
Throw in Jacoby Ellsbury's 18-game hit streak and Jon Lester on the mound, and I can guarantee a flip back to Toronto during Game 6 commercials. Will I catch every pitch? Not even half of them. Will I witness the moment Jarrod Saltalamacchia takes another step away from the Mendoza Line? Maybe in a month.
For now, the sports standoff will continue.
At least until the playoffs shooting stops.