I had someone ask me the other day why I'm such a faithful fan to the Red Sox... especially with the way they started the season this year. Well, I've been a Red Sox fan too long to be anything else.
But after talking to that friend, I thought it would be interesting to look back and really take a look at why I am such a fan. And then I decide I would just write about it and post it here... hopefully y'all will enjoy my story. :)
It all started on July 16, 1981. That day, for me, will always be a core day in my growing up. I was 5. I didn't understand what "death" was. And yet, on that day, I lost one of my biggest lifelong heroes, Harry Chapin. He's still one of my heroes. I didn't understand what they meant when they said that he died on the radio. All i knew is what my mother told me... that he wouldn't make any more music.
I moped around the house that summer. Oh I went out and played ball with my brother but I just didn't have any oomf.
Then my Dad introduced me to the Red Sox. I don't remember who they played that day. I just remember I was fascinated by the game. We watched it on WSBK, as we did a great many games after that.
Over the years, we watched many games together on WSBK, sitting there yelling at the TV, eating chow mein (made from the box not bought at a Chinese restaurant) and basically enjoying ourselves.
My brother and I were both in Boy Scouts, both making Eagle by the age of 16. One of the things we did every year with our Scout troop was to go to Scout Day at McCoy Stadium and watch the Pawtucket Red Sox play. I remember several years in a row getting to be the one to carry the American flag out onto the field for my troop. I always loved going to see the Paw Sox play. They always put on a good show
The last time I saw the Paw Sox play, there was this young kid on the squad. Kid had a kinda hard to spell last name and I had never heard of him before. But he hit two very long home runs that day and I remember turning to my dad and saying, "This guy's gonna be a star." Two years later he was a main stay with the big club. His name? Nomar Garciaparra.
I've watched with a broken heart as a ball went through the legs of Bill Buckner (and laughed my ass off when I recently read that scene recreated earlier this year in the book Wolves of the Calla by Stephen King) I've watched great pitching performances by guys like Roger Clemens, Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling and Jon Lester. I've seen great batters like Jim Rice, Wade Boggs, Manny Ramirez (who drove me crazy on a nightly basis), and Dustin Pedroia. I've seen guys who always seemed to turn it up a notch when the game was on the line, like Mike Greenwell, Dwight Evans, Trot Nixon. And I've watched two straight World Series appearances where the Red Sox have swept their opponents.
I'm moving back home to New Englad later this year... I'm in the process of buying my first house in Providence, Rhode Island. I've never been to Fenway Park, but I'm going to go this year if I get back soon enough.
And I'm gonna go with my Dad. Because, yannow, it's his fault after all. :)