You see it everywhere – Worst to First! The Red Sox came from a couple of lousy years that looked like a ‘rebuilding period’ to storm the league this year … and walked away with a dominant Game 6 win to take the World Series!
While I am not the biggest sports fan, I have always followed the major sports closely enough to know the teams and players and how they all fit together in any given year. But more than that I have always been a Boston fan – as a native it has been part of my DNA since childhood, and even since we’ve moved to western NY my Boston fandom hasn’t waned. But it still remains hard for me to reconcile the experience of my youth with the current reality of Boston sports dominance.
When I was a kid, we still had the afterglow of Bobby Orr and that iconic goal against St Louis to win the Stanley Cup for the Boston Bruins; and the Celtics were never far from their last or next championship.
The Patriots … well, they were just lousy. Always in the middle of the pack somewhere, never real contenders – until they managed to back into the Super Bowl in ’86 to get crushed by the strutting Jim McMahon and the ‘Super Bowl Shuffle’ Bears. In the very early 80s I had worked at Schaeffer Stadium, lugging trays of sodas up the stairs to sell to
drunks fans. In spite of being perhaps the most prominent and dominant team of the last decade, I still think of the Patriots first as the team of Steve Grogan, Chuck Fairbanks, John Hanna, and so on. The team that was often terrible, sometimes decent, but always disappointing.
But the Red Sox were always an agonizing ‘near miss’ – missing the playoffs most years, barely losing the ’75 Series, and the iconic and fabulous collapse in ’78 that came to represent the Sox for me. I remember sitting in the basement of Thetz Xi at RPI in ’86 with Ken Bradley taunting the Mets fans in the room … and then the ‘Buckner collapse’.
It really just seemed like the Red Sox were always going to be the team that almost had it all. Even in 2004, I vividly remember pacing the floor in Townsend after midnight with Lisa asleep on the couch during that grueling series with the Yankees. It is called ‘baseball’s biggest miracle comeback’ for a reason – and it was EXHAUSTING! I was so relieved to have the Sox sweep the Cards easily to win the series – I couldn’t handle any more drama!
But I never really got past those feelings of ‘imminent Red Sox collapse’. In 2007 after sweeping the A’s the Sox seemed to totally collapse against the Indians … only to battle back from a 3-1 deficit to take the ALCS and then sweep the Rockies. So when things looked tough against Detroit this year … I thought they were very likely finished.
I have to admit to ‘watching’ most of this series via the ESPN app on my phone. I saw some of each game, but just really had a bad feeling … until Game 6. Could they REALLY do it? I was still nervous – in the 7th inning things seemed to be unraveling for Lackey, and I had that feeling of dread … HERE is the Sox collapse I have been fearing!
I joked that if they lost the series after being up 6-0 heading into the 7th inning up 3-2 in the series … at least the team members could go into hiding with the Amish.
But they pulled it out, I stayed up watching and nervous regardless of the score and the dominance of Uehara … and they did it. 2013 World Series Champion Boston Red Sox. It was awesome. Wicked awesome.
… Oh …
And in case we needed a reminder of how bizarre and deranged some people are, Buzzfeed has rounded up some tweets by folks who were convinced that the Red Sox winning was actually a comspiracy related to the Boston Marathon bombing. Oh, and THIS particular nutjob …