For Red Sox fans, the years between 1986 and 2004 seemed like an eternity. Many of us remember exactly where we were the night we watched the ball roll between Bill Buckner’s legs, and we watched the dreaded “curse” rear its ugly head once again. (Truth be told, people really need to lay the blame on Bob Stanley’s wild pitch for the loss of that game. The Sox were already toast by the time of Buckner’s error.)
The Sox made the post season several times in the years afterwards, but we also had to watch the Yankees reestablish their dominance and the rebirth of the game’s greatest rivalry.
But it finally happened in 2004. Randy had already moved to Pennsylvania by then and entered Fenway Park for the last time in the Fall of 2002. Seeing the team clinch the title for the first time in 86 years inspired a true rush of emotions. Randy watched the moment on television while a one-month-Cecelia slept on his lap. All he could do was sit there and cry.
Well, they’re in it again. The second-highest payroll bought the another pennant, and we now see the makings of, dare I say it, a Red Sox dynasty. The Sox have gone from a team that we hope will win to one that we now expect to win. Previous to 2004, only Yankees fans harbored this unfortunate expectation for their team. In 2005, I watched the Sox demolish the Phillies in interleague play, and on the subway ride home, I had to endure chest-thumping Sox fans deriding long-suffering Phillies fans, who easily identified with Sox fans up until the year before. Thanks to the astronomical cost of seats in Fenway, Red Sox Nation has fanned out across the country in search of cheaper and more available seats in the stadiums of opposing teams. There, they often behave like unwanted guests, who have completely forgotten their sense of humility.
Well, I was there in 1975. I watched the Bucky Dent’s cheap-o home run in 1978. And I was on the dance floor at Pearl Street in Northampton, Massachusetts watching the game on a big screen when the Mets staged that horrifying comeback. I saw Wakefield give up the homer Yankee stadium in 2003. All that pain and disappointment made it all-too-easy to transfer at least some of my allegiances to the Philadelphia Phillies in 2005.
As a result of seeing the Sox transform into this juggernaught, last night’s win had little of the gravitas and historical importance of previous years. Perhaps after so many years in the wilderness, it’s long overdue. Maybe we should sit back and just bask in the glow of greatness. After all, isn’t winning everything? Isn’t it truly American?
Maybe, but so is rooting for the underdog. Seeing the someone prevail against all odds just feels better. It makes for a better story, and in the end, it’s all about the story.
We’ll be rooting for the Red Sox, of course, but if the Rockies win, we won’t spend the days until spring training in a funk.
We posted the next installment of “Cece & Daddy Have a Talk.” Enjoy.