…a couple of anniversaries today

Lou Seal in his Tim Lincecum wig.  Go Giants!  Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com and used with permission.

Lou Seal in his Tim Lincecum wig. Go Giants! Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com and used with permission.

Trying to avoid bad karma, I decided to forgo writing a gloating post about how the Rangers were owning the Yankees in this series.

So much for that.  🙂

It’s okay.  As  much as beating them on their own field would have been fun to watch, I think the Rangers fans deserve to see their team clinch a World Series spot at home.  So here’s hoping.

Six years ago this morning, I woke up after about 2 hours of sleep on a day I had already taken off of work because I had a doctors appointment.  I fell asleep with ESPN on and dreamed of Tim Wakefield sitting on the mound at Yankee Stadium.  As nice as it was to not have to rush into work after barely sleeping and having all of that adrenalin rushing through me, I was sorry I couldn’t be with my co-workers because we had all suffered together through the long nights and never-ending days that made up the 2004 ALCS and celebrating the victory together would have been fitting.  Instead, I threw on my red Timlin jersey and headed to the doctor.

When my appointment was over, I was waiting on my ride home and went to a (where else?) Dunkin Donuts.  The place was full of people in Red Sox gear and as soon as some of the patrons saw my jersey, I was pulled into a raucous conversation about how amazing the day was.  It wasn’t quite noon and there was a guy who had already been to Fenway to welcome the team home.  A man probably the same age as my mother who had taken the day off from his job as a cook (in a breakfast spot a few storefronts away from the DD).  He left his house moments after Game 7 had ended and made his way to Fenway.  He had tears in his eyes as he told us he got to pat Terry Francona on the shoulder and say “Thank you” and his story made some of us cry as well.

It probably sounds silly to many.  The young fans who didn’t live through the really tough times of being a Red Sox fan or the new fans the team picked up with the additions of Keith Foulke and Curt Schilling might think it’s silly to cry over winning the ALCS, especially if you weren’t one of the players involved in the actual winning, but most fans get it.  Maybe not Yankees fans or Dodgers fans, but Cubs fans get it.  And if the stories so many people told me about how the fans in St Louis treated them during the World Series are true, Cardinals fans got it too.  I has been said over and over and will continue to be said until the end of time (or at least until the Cubs win the World Series)…you just can’t explain properly what it meant to us or how it felt to anyone other than die-hard, long-term, Red Sox fans.   To be able to wake up this morning and remember what happened and how it was the beginning of a new era for the Red Sox and their fans is a remarkable gift.

I’ve had some Yankees fans tell me that I’m jealous that the Yankees are in the playoffs and the Red Sox aren’t.  Of course I am.  Don’t you always want your team to make it to the playoffs?  I’m jealous of the Rangers and the Phillies and the Giants too.  But some of the Yankees fans think that a 2009 championship and a 2010 trip to the playoffs while the Red Sox are golfing changes things.  It doesn’t.  Nothing will change the fact that the Red Sox pulled off the greatest comeback in MLB history in 2004…against their rivals.  Nothing will change the fact that 55,000 screaming Yankees fans had to shelve the “1918” chant.  Nothing will change the fact that, no matter how many times you watch it and will it to go the other way, Kevin Millar always draws the walk, Dave Roberts always steals second and Bill Mueller always gets that RBI hit to begin that greatest comeback.  You can scream about your 27 rings all you like and it bounces off of us like a Mark Bellhorn home run off of Pesky Pole.  The Yankees and their fans have no more control over the Red Sox and their fans.

I am not rooting for the Rangers to win the ALCS because I’m jealous of the Yankees or their fans.  I’m rooting for the Rangers to win the ALCS because:

1)  Their fans stayed to watch their team meltdown in the 8th inning of Game 1 while the Yankees fans began to bolt in the 8th inning of Game 3 and the 7th inning of Game 4.

2)  As much as the career-long redemption tour of Josh Hamilton annoys me, it’s still better listening to his praises than to hear the TBS announcers drool over ARod’s “career” year in 2003 without once mentioning that he admitted to using PEDs the entire time he was in Texas (which, the TBS announcers keep reminding us, included 2003).

3)  AJ Burnett’s contract is for $85 million.  The Rangers entire team payroll is $55 million.  How do you NOT root for the $55 million?  Also, the Yankees fans keep blaming AJ Burnett as if it will be his fault alone if they don’t make it to the World Series.  If the Yankees don’t make it to the World Series, AJ isn’t even on the top ten list of reasons why (okay, maybe he’s number 10).

4)  They are the Yankees.  Wishing ill will upon them isn’t jealousy,  it’s common decency.  George Steinbrenner took glee in destroying parity in baseball and to watch it possibly kick them in the ass this year is fun.  FUN.  It’s always a good time to see the “mighty” fall.

I could go on but I don’t think I need to.

I have three friends from high school who I’m friends with on Facebook who were all born and raised in Massachusetts and still live here.  They are taking glee in announcing every Yankee win this postseason complete with insults toward Red Sox fans.  When I point out that they are bandwagon fans they deny this.  But, by the very definition, they are.  Which would be fine, many teams fan bases are started with bandwagon fans who need to find a place to land.  But if you live in an area where you already have a professional baseball team and you choose the Yankees as your favorite team…you are a bandwagoner of the worst kind.  These friends are my age, they lived through the lean times with the Red Sox and decided to go with the “winner” (by their own admissions).  Given that not one of these three people mentions any of the Yankees failures this postseason, it’s a fair bet they are the same kind of fans who walked out on their team two games in a row this week.

Red Sox fans root for the Red Sox and anyone who plays the Yankees.  Most Yankees fans root for the Yankees and anyone who plays the Red Sox.  It is not jealousy in either case…just the rivalry still in action after all these years.  So please stop with the “you’re jealous” messages.  You don’t like us and we don’t like you.  It’s pretty simple, really.

35 years ago today, Carlton Fisk hit a home run that still makes Joe Morgan apoplectic. Thank you, Pudge.  Thank you.

(The video below covers a lot, you’ll find what you’re looking for with Pudge around the 4:45 mark but there is more fun at 2:23 when we get Dwight Evans’ amazing catch!)


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