Thursday, June 26, 2008

Why I love Red Sox Baseball

It's exciting
It doesn't matter if we're down by four in the bottom of the 8th (like on Tuesday) or ahead by 5 in the top of the 9th (like Wednesday), the Red Sox can always be counted on to provide drama and excitement. Even when they're losing, you always feel like they're only one good inning away from taking back the lead. People are suprised to hear I've stayed up until the last out is made - even on a West Coast game - but I can't sleep until I know that game is really and truly over. It's rough on the digestive system - and on my tab at the local "packy" - but it makes for compelling viewing, both in my home and at Fenway (like Papi's walk-off homer above).

It's reliable
It's good reliable baseball entertainment. No losing streak is ever in a danger of dragging on too long. Not when you can rely on our Knuckleball King, Tim Wakefield:

to start every fifth day, and give our often taxed bullpen a break. And not when you can rely on having the Captain behind the plate:

Sure, he hasn't been an offensive threat of late. But the way he handles our pitching staff - well, it's the work of a maestro.

It's unpredictable
Whether it's Jonathan Papelbon and Manny DelCarmen helping us wait out a rain delay in this already classic video:

Or Mike Lowell cutting a rug at his charity event:

You can always count on the Sox to provide us with some quirky entertainment. And it's an old tradition, stretching back to the Bill Lee, Bernie Carbo, Kevin Millar. They're always are capable of surprising us.

It unifies usOne thing that has struck me in watching the Red Sox in their away games is the huge crowd that follows them. This was in Cincinnati two weeks ago, and this was the crowd watching the team warm up before batting practice! Waiting to get in when the gates opened were thousands of fans, all in their Red Sox gear - and very few home fans. When you walk on the streets when the Sox are in town, when you go into restaurants and bars, all you see are RS jerseys.

That common passion ensures you're never without friends when you're out of town or at a game. In Baltimore, I went into the ESPN Zone for a quick lunch and sat at the bar. Within minutes, I was in the middle of a lively discussion about the Sox with the folks around me. We talked about the players, games we'd been to, how our love of the Sox was born and when it became our passion. Last year, as we walked down the streets in San Diego, people would stop and give you a fist bump or simply say "Go Sox." It's so cool!

It's a part of us
I call this photo the Red Sox family. It's two generations of RS fans. We were actually in Boston for a game, and were on our way to Faneuil Hall to the Build a Bear Workshop, so that the kids could make Wally bears. When I talk to my family, it always comes back to how the Sox are doing, what they can do to improve. And my love spans the generations - my grandfather was a good amateur pitcher, my dad took me to my first Sox game when I was 8, and here I was taking these guys to a Sox game where we sat in the Green Monster seats. And my sister even got them out of bed last October to see the final out of the World Series. It's a family tradition, like it is in most New England households.

It's pretty

Whether it's Dennis Eckersley:Or Jacoby Ellsbury:

Photo by Kelly O
The Sox know how to provide us with some pretty scenery to look at. And the fact that underneath that pretty packaging is some incredible athletic talent, well, that's enough for me!

It's me

I got some flak from the family when my love for the Sox re-bloomed in 2004. A few sneeringly labeled me a "bandwagon" fan. The truth is, I had fallen out of love with the Sox after the heart-breaking loss in 1986. Up until then, I had been pretty rabid. But after that Series, I had a hard time recommitting. It's like when the boy you deeply love does something stupid to cause you to walk away, and then years later he realizes that you were the one. He comes back, courts you with flowers and woos you with seemingly sincere words, but it takes a while for you to trust him again, to allow yourself to forgive him. So it was for me and the Sox. But, they were persistent, and eventually they proved to me that I could trust them and love them again. And like that new commitment in an old relationship, it's proven stronger than ever.



Blogger Ted D said...

Fantastic post, Beth! I got goosebumps reading it!

There really is nothing like being a member of Red Sox Nation. I've got a sticker of Manny on my back window, and a BeckKett and YOUUUUUK bumper stickers and usually not a day goes by that someone doesn't drive by me and give me a thumbs up!

11:18 AM  
Blogger Beth said...

It's especially neat when you're not in New England. You feel especially special!

7:14 PM  
Blogger HorshamScouse said...

That was beautiful, Beth.

3:06 AM  

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