Somewhere in New England, a father is saying to his 12 year old son “THIS is what I was trying to tell you!”
You had to believe Red Sox Nation was due for a regenerative dose of pathos after living the high life of Billy Ray Valentine for most of the 2000’s. Which is why there’s no feeling sorry for ‘The Nation’. Not anymore.
Once upon a time, they evoked pity. They were barren of title throughout the reign of greatness that was Ted Williams. They lived an “Impossible Dream” season all the way to the 1967 World Series thanks to Yaz and his triple crown and despite a devastating injury to Tony Conigliaro. Only to be stopped in their tracks by Bob Gibson.
And it only got worse from there. I believe the ’78 Boston Red Sox were the greatest North American team NOT to win a championship until (ironically enough) the New England Patriots came along in 2007. I’m fairly certain if you would have given that ’78 club one Yankees player they could have held hostage until after their one game playoff with the Yankees, Bucky Dent would have been at the very bottom of their list of candidates.
The 1986 Boston Red Sox barely seem real to me. They read like a Capra piece that never saw the light of day. That series was the only time I have ever rooted for the Red Sox. I hated the Mets that much. And I have to admit, over the course of a week, I got all caught up in that Yawkey mythology they peddle to the Southies from birth.
By the time Buckner happened, it was already fait accompli. Why the Red Sox didn’t just forfeit Game 7 so as to give their fans a jump on binge drinking into blackout, I will never know.
2003 was no love song for the denizens of Beantown. But I always saw that ending as being more about Grady Little believing in his guy, Pedro Martinez, than about curses. I really don’t see that series loss as a choke job so much as some Custer logic 2.0.
No feeling sorry for the Sawx or their fans though. Especially after they went and made Nation an annual membership. And especially after Top Step Schilling and his bloody sock routine . . and Dave Roberts . . and a couple World Series sweeps.
Giving back nine games and two spots in the standings in less than a month’s time? You almost have to TRY to suck that badly. Unless you’re the Pirates, in which case you just have to wake up and go to work.
But the fact the Sawx blew it doesn’t mean the Bambino’s making a comeback and they know it. Almost makes me wish I was in a Boston pub tonight, Yankees cap and all. Of course, I would be carrying a ton of insurance in the form of a steady pace of rounds on my tab. I think they’d like me enough to set me straight on my formal dress with something like “You can stay, but lose the fucking cap.”
Same time next year Boston.