Monday, March 8, 2010

Will It Take a Miracle?

I actually tried to watch another preseason matchup this weekend- I'm sure not too many bluehats can say the same. Maybe it was for the better that no games were being shown on NESN and the other networks this weekend. Dave gave me a "you're so uncool" look when I asked about the outcome of Friday's game against the Twins... apparently everyone knows preseason games are just practice. Or maybe he was just cranky because the Sox lost to the Twins 5-0, although in the split-team double-header on Saturday it was Red Sox 9, Twins 3 even if it was Rays 6, Red Sox 4.

So instead of a preseason "practice" I was "treated" (another Davism) to an important aspect of my Sox-driven baseball schooling (Dave again, but I think you get it now) - the Mother's Day Miracle on Red Sox Classics.

A little recap for the pinkhats who weren't at the game on May 13, 2007, and there were quite a sea of them in attendance- I guess hundreds of men convincing their wives to forego breakfast-in-bed and celebrate Mother's Day at Fenway was the first miracle. The Sox are down by five going into the ninth, they manage to bring the score up to 5-4 with only one out remaining. Oriole's closer Chris Ray bobbles a ball hit by Julio Lugo allowing Jason varitek and Eric Hinske to score the winning runs. Miracle.

Now here is the sad part, the part I am trying to reconcile, the part mentioned by an anonymous commenter on the thread following my last post. I haven't lived through the highs and the lows, especially the lows, with the Red Sox to really appreciate the Miracle. Sure I remember going to the games with my dad and feeling sad when the Sox lost. But it was just kind of an aw shucks sadness similar to the sadness I felt when my dad brought ice cream back to our seats and it wasn't in the fun little batting helmet. A sadness that was fleeting, and made better by the fact that the game, like the ice cream, was still enjoyable.

So what's it going to take? Will reading about the players and the team, learning the rules, watching the games, sitting in Fenway Park make me a fan? Or will I be telling my grandchildren about the game of 2010 where we were down by 6 in the ninth... rocking in my chair and still wearing my pink hat?


  1. That was a great afternoon. I was headed to a run, listening on XM and they just would not record any outs... I think I was about 45 minutes behind schedule, sitting at a remote trailhead in Colorado with a big grin on my face as they finally came out on top!!

  2. I think that your "the connection to the game" you seek will come from neither your husband (whose passion has clearly sparked your interest), nor from the execution of your 162 game plan. My guess is that an emotional connection to the game may come through your child(ren). As they fall for the game, its outsized heroes and expectations.

    First of all let me state that I am a huge fan of the game (first) and the red sox (second). I lost my childhood and extended adolescence to the game. It is difficult to find a picture of me between ages 7 and 23 without a baseball hat affixed to my head. I played back yard baseball, spent my paper route money on baseball cards, and wood bats (that seemed to crack whenever my older brother swung them). My heroes as a 12 year old were Carlton Fisk and Bill Lee (who could make a baseball break like no one else I had seen). My parents, in a rare lapse of discipline allowed me to watch* game 6 and I saw Fisk's epic home run to preserve the sox chances for one more game. We all know how that series ended. Lee started game 7 gave up the big home run to Tony Perez in the 6th and the sox just missed again. Ecstasy and Agony - indoctrinated, a Red Sox fan was hardened.

    I played organized ball through college but fell away from the game in the 1990s as career and new interests (girls - ultimately my wife and young family) diverted my attention.

    When my oldest son turned six we began to play catch in the yard. And catch on he did. Over the next few years he came to command almost every aspect of the game - both as a young player and as a fan. He had a near photographic memory for player stats and game situations and watched and listened to at least 100 games a season (clock radio next to his bed).

    In 2002 he had a chance to meet Tim Wakefield at a charity golf event. Tim was amazing to my son, signed a ball, showed him a knuckle ball grip, even tossed him a couple of balls. He was bigger than life and my son locked in on him as a baseball hero.

    Roll forward to the end of the season, 2003. Sox v. Yankees in ALCS game 7. Pedro pitches a great game. Sox are 5 outs from the world series and the wheels start to come off. From experience, I knew how this was going to end, but my son didn’t. It was late at night - way past his bed time and he was both tired and wired as we lay together on the couch watching the game. Rivera pitched the 9th, 10th and 11th for the Yankees. The Sox bullpen though depleted, held up through those scoreless innings.

    When Tim Wakefield (starting pitcher and winner of ALCS games 1 and 4) came in to pitch relief in the bottom of the 11th I could feel my son's body tense up - head to toe. Improbably - Aaron Boone (2 for 16 for the series to that point) hit a walk off to end it. Sinatra's New York, New York blared from the Yankee stadium PA and my son burst into tears. One connection was forged and another was reestablished over those years and on that night.

    The best I could come up with at the time was "we'll get 'em next year" not really believing it (my dad never saw the Sox win the series and he fought in WWII). Go figure. The next year it ended differently.

    So anyways - lots of words to say that the game (and the Sox) are always there for you. It seems that they are just easier to find through the eyes of the young and naive.

    * Normally I caught late night games on a transistor radio that my parents pretended not to know about in the sock drawer of the dresser next to my bed.

  3. i just found your blog and IMMEDIATELY decided to follow it. this is awesome. I never actually HAD a pink hat, but i instantly get the metaphor. i, too, was sparked into becoming a redsox fan because of a man, although i was only dating him. he is looonnnng gone but the red sox remain for me :) through think and through thin. it took a lot of work in becoming a blue hat from a a so-called pink hat. a lot of watching games, often by myself. a lot of asking questions that i felt silly asking, or other people thought were dumb. but its been a good run, i love the way this season is looking and i look forward to reading your bog!

  4. Very interesting. Your typical game of nine innings doesn't exist, since home teams win the majority of games, they only need eight and a half innings, even a rare "walk-off" win in the ninth inning is not a complete nine inning game. Nine inning games are typically wins by the visiting team. This is also why teams often make only 24 outs at home, and always make 27 outs on the road.