Imagine, for a moment, a four year old kid hiding under his brother's bed in Needham, Mass in 1970 watching the Bruins play on TV, waiting to hear the name of his favorite player, Bobby Orr. This poor kid was uprooted as a 5 year old to move to the deep south in 1972 but the Boston roots stuck.
The Red Sox sprang into his consciousness in 1974...a final week of the season in which the Red Sox lost to the Orioles. 1975 was a glorious year for this 9 year old...this kid stilll thanks his Dad 32 years later for letting him stay up late on a school night to watch Carlton Fisk homer off Pat Darcy in the 12th inning of the 6th game of the World Series. Much to his dismay, Jim Burton gave up a single to Joe Morgan in Game 7 and that was all she wrote for 1975. 1976 and 1977 were fun but disappointing years - in the 75 offseason, favorite player Cecil Cooper was traded to the Brewers and this kid was depressed for months. 1978 was another terrific summer - the Sox had a big lead but saw it dissipate. This kid begged his mom to pick him up early from school to see a one-game playoff with those Yankees. On the radio, (on the way home) he heard Yaz homer early in the game...but 29 years later, he stills curses Bucky Beeping Dent and Lou Piniella too. This kid would call local radio sport shows in South Carolina debating the merits of the Red Sox lineup and it is very likely no one in the state cared but him.
Lean years until 1986. Now a college junior in these pre-internet years, he would run to bookstores in Georgetown in Oct 86, after class to scour the racks for a 2-day old Boston Globe so he could read the local Red Sox coverage. Another classic World Series Game 6 and after this one, he ran down the halls of his dormitory screaming at the top of his lungs "How could they blow this?" (Just a weeek or so after declaring Dave Henderson and Don Baylor his new personal heroes)
More pain followed....the years seem to run together as he handled military life, married life, raising 4 children. 2003 is another red letter year and Aaron Boone. Finally, fortunes reversed in 2004--tears streaming down his face--the Red Sox had finally won it all.
Excuse the dramatics in re-creating my sad little life--a life that seems to be bookmarked against the ups and downs of the Red Sox---many more memories than this but you get the idea. And I am sure many of you have very similar stories.
Flash forward to today....I have a Game 7 World Series ticket thanks to a dear friend and a fellow diehard. I would love to see the Red Sox win in 4 games but pardon me (and my friend) for having the audacity to dream about the idea of seeing the Red Sox win a World Series in Fenway Park and being present to see it. I am not rich. I plan to stretch the family budget to fly up from DC on Thursday if I am so lucky. I have not jumped the bandwagon. With this team and their history, there is something so right about a Game 7. It has never been easy and it does not feel right when it is easy. The 2004 sweep of the Cardinals did not seem right either -- but perhaps that was a cosmic way to spare people a few heart attacks after the comeback against the Yankees. Yes, the Sox won in 2004 but pardon me for thinking that it would be extra special this year if it happened at Fenway (and especially with me and my friend present to see it).
I am sure there are a small bunch of fair weather fans that Shaughnessy correctly describes but I find his broad brush criticism condescending. Again, here is a guy who is paid to go the ball park to write about the games. Does he not realize how lucky he is? Can he even begin to fathom what it would mean to an out of town fanatic to be present to see the Sox win it all?
It would quite literally be one of the highlights of my life. Forgive me for feeling that way