Sunday, October 28, 2007

More of this please!

Okay, I'll admit it. I'm incredibly greedy. You'd think that 2004 was enough to satisfy me. But, no, it's not. That victory was so incredible - mainly, because it came at the end of such an unexpected playoff run. They caught me totally off guard. Maybe because the only games I had access to at that time were those that the national networks deemed SE Tennessee worthy of seeing. I remember making some serious decisions: stay up for game 4 of the ALCS and risk another broken heart - like the one from 1986 that had taken me a decade to overcome? Oh, well, okay, maybe I'll give them one more chance...

And because my access had been so spotty, I didn't "know" the team. Oh, sure, I knew some of the key people. But I hadn't been there all the way. In some ways, it makes me feel like a faux fan - I didn't endure the heartaches of that season first hand...

But I do owe that team a huge debt of gratitude. They got me hooked on Red Sox baseball again - and I realized early in the 2005 season just what I had been missing out on. Before that season even began, I had my new satellite tv hooked up - and was able to see as many games as I could stand. Not long after, I got my first home computer - suddenly I had access to all kinds of kindred spirits through the various RS forums and chat rooms. I got to go to a week's worth of Fenway games - my first visit back there in almost 30 years. Wow.

In 2006 my obsession grew! I got the chance to see a game from the Green Monster seats, and saw my first series at an away park - Turner Field. Got to visit Camden Yards for the first time. And saw 5 games at Fenway - which included two walk off wins. Okay, a huge disappointment for the post season, but..

2007! Wow! From the day pitchers and catchers reported in February, I've been totally dialed in with this team. I love to keep a scorecard during key games and, as I look back, I have scorecards from some Spring Training games, some with players whose names I barely remember. I expanded my love of RS into a new travel goal: to visit as many of the Major League Parks as I can. I took a fantastic and fun trip with Kelly - saw 9 games in Atlanta, San Diego and Seattle - incredible parks made all the more fun because they were filled with Red Sox fans. And saw three games at Fenway - man, I love that place. Please scatter my ashes there.

So, this post-season has been the end of an incredible year. When I look back at my blogs from April and May, they're full of admonishments not too think too far ahead, take one game at a time. But even then, I felt we had a special team. In my wildest dreams, I thought we'd make it to the World Series - but the pragmatic me thought, no, lightning can't strike twice. Yet here we are. 8 months removed from those first Spring Training games. When I was reading reports of those promising rookies, Buchholtz, Ellsbury, Pedrioa. When our multi-million dollar man Matsuzaka had only been seen on Asahi beer commercials. When we thought Beckett had already shown us his best stuff. When we thought Okajima had only been signed to be a companion to Daisuke. When we thought Papelbon was going to be a starter.

The picture above was taken in November 2004, during the Trophy's tour of Red Sox Nation. It made an appearance in Atlanta - I felt like a complete idiot for driving 120 miles just to see a hunk of metal. But there were 100s there just like me - transplanted New Englanders, Red Sox fans, wanting to share the excitement of that 2004 season.

I'm greedy. I want the chance to have another photo like this one taken.

Go Red Sox!! Time to fire up the VCR - I want this night's festivities available for me to watch and rewatch many times over the next few months of the off-season. I just hope to see Papelbon and Beckett doing that Riverdance in a few short hours.

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