Winning it at home…

 I have been waiting to say this since a cool evening in Denver, Colorado in October 2007, when the Boston Red Sox had just swept the Colorado Rockies out of the World Series, winning it all in four straight games. We of Red Sox Nation were thrilled that we were World Champions again, but there was this feeling that something was missing. In 2004, when the Red Sox had won their first Championship since 1918, nobody cared where the trophy was presented to the Sox. All we knew was that we wanted it, we earned it, and now we had it! When Edgar Renteria hit that little comebacker to Red Sox pitcher Kevin Foulke, who then tossed it over to Doug Mientkiewicz, the weight of 86 years of futility was lifted, and the Sox, as well as their fans went wild, celebrating at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. It was perfect…almost.

 What was missing,  both in 2004 and again in 2007, was that the Red Sox had to celebrate their Championship moment on their opponent’s fields, first at St. Louis in 2004, and then at Colorado in 2007. What was needed was for the Sox to win the World Series at home, on OUR field…our beloved FENWAY PARK. The city of Boston had survived two terrorist pieces of filth planting a bomb near the start/finish line of the Boston Marathon back in April 2013. This city and its people, along with the people of this nation, came together to guide Boston through this tragedy. They became ‘Boston Strong’. The players split off into groups, and visited people who were affected by this horrible act. They visited hospitals, homes, made public appearances…you name it, and they did it. The fans of the Sox said that this team put the people of the City of Boston on their backs. One Red Sox player said that the City of Boston, and the citizens who were BOSTON STRONG, put the Red Sox on THEIR backs, and willed them to the Title. For these deserving people, the Red Sox needed to win it all, at home…

 For the fans who were born after 1918, they had never tasted what it was like to see a championship at home…So that means that if you are younger than 95 years old, you have never witnessed it. Think about that. There were people who lived their entire lives without ever seeing the Sox celebrate a championship at Fenway Park. When I was watching the FOX coverage of the game, and it was becoming more and more evident that Boston was going to win, they kept showing people in the crowd, but not just any people. They were showing the older fans, those who were finally getting their Red Sox-win-it-all-at-Fenway prayer answered. It was touching. Erin Andrews of FOX interviewed a gentleman who was in his 80’s who still worked at a shop across from Fenway Park that sells caps and shirts and other Red Sox memorabilia, and you could hear the emotion in his voice. The love of the Red Sox in Boston is passed down from generation to generation. Love of the Sox is instilled early on, and it goes to the grave. The gentleman who was interviewed by Erin Andrews said almost exactly that same thing, that this is not only for those fans who have waited a literal lifetime to see this happen, but for the new generation of Red Sox fans, so that they may pass it down to the next generation. Pretty amazing…

 For me personally, just a few things here. I cried in 2003 when Aaron Bleeping Boone hit that extra inning HR off of Tim Wakefield in the ALCS and send us home. I will never forget 1978, when Bucky Bleeping Dent, who had hit just TWO home runs all season, sent a pitch over the Green Monster in left field, and jabbed the dagger into the championship dreams of us all. I suffered through the collapse of 2011, the farce of the 2012 Bobby Valentine reign of futility, where we finished dead last in the AL East, and posted our worst record since 1966, and many other disappointments. BUT, there have also been great moments. I cried again in 2004, when on a cold night in late October in St. Louis, the ‘Curse of the Bambino’ was ended with a World Championship. I screamed and hooted and drove my neighbors crazy when Jonathan Paplebon shut down the Colorado Rockies in 2007. So many great moments and memories…

 Ok, now to what I have been waiting to say since 2007. Now in 2013, we have won the World Series again, for the third time in the last 9 years, and we won it at home, in Boston, in Fenway Park!!!  We have been through a lot, and we have come a long way. For the fans, for the City of Boston, and for me, I simply say, ‘Thank You, Boston Red Sox… You are Boston Strongest!’

 A happy by-product that comes with the end of the 2013 World Series is that Fox analyst and former MLB catcher Tim McCarver, is retiring! I have been listening to him since the 1980’s, when he was just starting out as a broadcaster for the New York Mets. Back then, he was new and different, and he was full of useful insights, and he really brought a special knowledge to the broadcast booth. But over the years, he truly lost his way. I am sure that his own wife mutes the sound on the TV when he is calling a game. He, along with his broadcast partner Joe Buck, are probably the two of the most annoying broadcasters in baseball today. Even John Sterling of the New York Yankees broadcast team is not this grating. The ultimate nightmare broadcast team would be the triple threat of Joe Buck, Tim McCarver, and Joe Morgan.  I wish Tim McCarver well in his retirement, and pray that he does not decide to make a comeback…

 Lastly, there is this. Did you hear about the NFL player who says that two assistant coaches on his team gave him a hard time because he helped an opposing player to his feet after a play? Are class and sportsmanship really that far removed from the game? I understand that pro football is a business, but this is a little ridiculous. They try to sell people on that they are ‘going to war out there’, and ‘the other guy is the enemy’…really? First of all, it is not a war. It is a GAME. These guys have spent their football lives being told how great they are, and having people kiss their butts because of that. They have no concept of what a war really is, and I get offended every time that I hear a player, in any sport, refer to the playing a game as ‘going to war’. Believe me, you guys are nowhere near as important, or as honorable, as our service men and women who put on the uniform every day, and who don’t get paid millions of dollars to play a game, go to a real war every day. They risk their lives every day. You get to go home and relax in the hot tub in your overpriced mansions. Don’t talk to me about that you are going to war. You aren’t. The same thing goes for the ‘enemy’ thing. The other guy is your opponent, not your enemy. The players on the other team are not trying to bomb your country, and they are not trying to kill you or your friends and family. Maybe you all need to give the hype a rest…As far as the coaches who got on the player who helped his opponent to his feet, I say this. You should be ashamed. Perhaps you could use some perspective Have you been to Afghanistan lately? You would love the place.

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