16 April 2013

A Reflection From Boston: Yankee in Soxland

Two bombs detonated at the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday afternoon killing 3 people and injuring at least 144. Tom Paulson suggested that I provide a more personal take on the day's events from a personal and global context. I generally dislike writing more personally, but I went for it this time around given my rather tenuous relationship with the city of Boston and a reluctance to see it as home. Without further ado...
Boston is a mess of a city. People will talk about its great history, but it is a logistical headache to navigate on a regular basis. Highly populated areas lack proper access to the T and GPS a phone does not prevent one from getting lost.
Plus, it is home to the Boston Red Sox.
Growing up in New Jersey suburb of New York during one of the golden eras of Yankee baseball, Boston was the city that housed an also-ran team.  The Yankees kept winning. My dad and other adults kept telling me that the Red Sox were the rivals of the Yankees, but I was more worried about the Baltimore Orioles and the Atlanta Braves. Those were the teams that mattered come October, not the Sox.
That all changed in the fall of 2003. The Ying Yang Twins competed with Outkast’s ‘Hey Ya’ at  parties. Pedro Martinez was in his prime. Manny was – well – Manny and a new DH arrived from the Minnesota Twins with a swing perfect for peppering the Green Monster. Not that I was scared.
The upstart Sox put on a nice show for a few games, but taking it to a seventh with ace Pedro Martinez had this Yankees fan a bit less confident. Attending a New England Jesuit college proved to hostile territory for a Yankees fan. That less than significant team from up north had serious fans.
They unabashedly sang along to a Neil Diamond tune gleefully cheering, ‘So good! So good! So good!’ in support of a team that failed to win when it mattered for what was approaching a century. A lust for winning was matched with a persistent pessimism. When things went poorly for the beloved Red Sox the young fans turned sour.
“That figures,” I heard many times as friend would throw a remote after a heartbreaking loss.
20130415_121756I came to believe that the Red Sox was a fitting team for a miserable mindset. The utter lack of hope made it fitting that the team remain haunted by the sale of Babe Ruth and a ground ball that slipped between the long legs of a sure-handed first basemen in the fall of 1986.
Simon and Garfunkel’s ‘Cecelia’ blasted from the computer speakers as we few Yankees fans sang and danced our way through each commercial break. Serious Sox fans sat glued to the television transfixed on the possibility of ending a dynasty and exorcising the demons of Ruth in on fell swoop.