I am not a sports nut. I have a passing interest infootball. Basketball and hockey I can do without. And I find golf and NASCAR  to be incredibly boring (yes, Isaid it. I find NASCAR to be a giant bore). But there is one exception and thatis what I want to talk about today.
I have loved The Boston Red Sox for as long as I can remember. I don’t remember much from back in the early 80’s, but I do remember playing with a handheld baseball game and I knew the starting lineup of the team even then. I even remember liking Yaz and he retired in 1982! I wish I hada great “my first day at a ballpark” story but I don’t remember the first time I saw a game live.  Before anyone asks, yes I played little league and I sucked.Now let me clarify, I am not an obsessive fan. I don’t watch every second of every game. I don’t keep track of every stat or obsess about the standings. I will accept if the Sox are playing horribly. But I am not a fair weather fan either, I watch in good times and bad.

My aunt is a major Red Sox fan and I am sure it is in nosmall part her fault I follow this team. She has a real love for the game whichI found contagious. Then my father used to bring me and my brother to gameswhich was great to. When I was a kid it was a simpler time, the Yankees suckedto so that was no big deal and the Sox were such perennial losers you never gave it much thought. I was too young to remember ’75 or ’78, they meant nothing to me. I had no idea what heartbreak this team was really capable of.Then October 1986 came.

 

Even if you’re not a Sox fan, heck even if you’re not a Baseball fan, I imagine you know this story. It was the Red Sox vs The Mets in Game 6 of The World Series. It was two strikes, two outs away in the tenth inning. One more strike, and that was it. The Sox would win their first World Series in sixty or so years. I was standing in front of the TV, with the rest of my family, anxiously awaiting the big celebration. Then it happened. A line drive, right up the first base line….right through Bill Buckner’s legs!! The winning runs scored, and that was it game over. Yeah that hurt, and it was probably then I was an official Sox fan because I finally felt the pain the team was capable of causing. And you know, it wouldn’t be the worst either! No,the worst came in 2003. This was the year that Pedro Martinez pitched in the 7th game of the ALCS. He pitched 7 solid innings, and it looked like the Sox were on their way to another World Series. That was until the manager, Grady Little,chose to have Pedro start the next inning….and then keep him in even after theYankees mounted a comeback! At least in 1986 there was another game the next day, this was it! I even yelled at the TV which I never do.
 
Ok, getting off track because this article was about how I love the Sox. Let’s talk about Fenway Park, one of my favorite places in theworld! Is it an out of date ballpark? Better believe it is. But man when you go inside, that doesn’t matter. It sounds cliché and all, but there is just something special about being in that place. You can watch all the games you want on TV, but watching a game being played live in front of you is something special, good or bad. I remember being on the edge of my seat as a closer tried to save a close game years ago, the pain of watching the Sox be routed by the Blue Jays way back when, and the excitement of the walk off home run which I have experienced in my last two trips. I don’t get there often, once a year ifI’m lucky, but man do I love it!

 

Favorite players? It’s hard to say from the old days because many of my favorite players went to play for that other team. I loved Wade Boggs and Roger Clemens. Jim Rice was such a great left fielder it inspired meto play that position in little league. In later years we had Manny Ramirez, Curt Schilling, and David Ortiz who of course is still playing.
 
Then came the best thing ever, when the Red Sox won the World Series in 2004 and 2007. Yes I know how long ago that was and I am aware that the team sucks these days, but who cares we still won the World Series!! Those two October’s were so long, waiting for each game. 2004 was the worst because the ALCS looked lost, until the Sox came back from a 3-0 deficit to winfour in a row! I will always remember being up until 2:00am waiting to see the outcome of one of those games. Just a great time and I am glad I didn’t have to wait until I was old and gray to finally see that stupid curse broken.

 

By the way, I liked the movie Fever Pitch with Jimmy Fallon but I totally understand why the majority of people did not. I did have one major gripe with that movie. The film closely follows the 2004 Red Sox leading to the World Series win. But in act three in order to create conflict, the creators did something stupid. The main character chooses his girlfriend over the Sox, and when he finds out the Sox came back from a 7-0 deficit to win, in the ninth, he is angry at her and so forth. Problem is, that never happened! It’s kind of like what Nostalgia Critic meant when he discussed Patch Adams, if you are following a true story you can’t manufacture events which didn’t happen so the movie can have some added drama. Yes the Patch Adams one was worst but this one still bugged me. Especially when the newscasts in the scene showed Boston fans dancing and celebrating like idiots, we have a little more classthan that!

 

 
2007 was an awesome year; the Sox were like a machine that year. They totally deserved that World Series win! Sure there was a time when I did not follow them closely. The early 90’s when the manager was Butch Hobson I paid very little attention to the team, mostly because they weren’t that good. But even during the lean years I still watched, on TV or live at Fenway, and thelittle kid inside of me was always hoping that things would turn around and that this could be the year! True I may not watch every game and I am realistic enough to accept when there is no way the team will turn things around, but I still keep coming back year after year. And I suspect I always will. It’s a special part of my life, in the hazy days of summer it’s so awesome to relax on a chair in the warm sunshine. A game on the radio and a glass of lemonade in your hands (not a beer drinker).
 
Before I wrap this up I wanted to address something that always bugged me. If you hate Baseball, fine. I mean that, you’re entitled to your opinion. However I get tired of people who think I am crazy and say that Baseball is “boring”. If you mean “boring to me” then that’s cool, NASCAR is boring to me, but there are those who just say it’s boring and wonder how I could ever like it. Baseball is a strategy game, kind of like agame of Chess. Every move, every decision, every pitch can change the outcome of that game. You never know what’s going to happen. I can’t count how many timesit looked like a game would go one way, only to have a lucky home run change itall. And if you think a no hitter is boring, you don’t get it. Ok yes strategy is important in other sports especially football with all the plays, but football is also a very physical sport which Baseball is not. Baseball is a slower game, sometimes to slow no argument, but if you really watch and the game is interesting it can be edge of your seat suspense. So I really hate it when people argue with me about that, and people have. While baseball does not have the action of other sports it is not boring. It’s supposed to be relaxing not for non-stop thrills.I always counter that by asking if they can really say that football is always exciting. What about when it’s arout or a badly played game? Don’t tell me every football game is an edge of your seat action filled thrill, just like not every baseball game is a slow bore fest.  Besides I love it and who are you to tell me that I shouldn’t? :)
So as a new season begins this coming Monday, I hope that wehave a better year this year. Baseball is of my favorite things to watch,actually one of the only things I watch on TV these days, and while I agree theseason is way too long I still enjoy it. Oh, and yes since I am a Red Sox fan Ido hate The Yankees. I mean I will always respect them, but I will never routefor them. That’s all for me, hope you enjoyed this little look at another thingI just love.

By richb

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