Monday, October 18, 2004


Look, I know some people just don't get Sox love but I'm going to try to explain it like this...

I have my own personal reasons, having grown up outside of Boston from age 0.5 to about 7. Then there was 1986, a World Series of such excrutiating heartache that it either turned you off from ever wanting to follow the Sox again or endeared you to their plight for life. I fall in the latter. I'm not remotely the biggest booster in the Sox Nation. I can't quote you stats on the players - hell, I didn't even realize Nomar got traded until the Olympics - I can't spell Carl Yamstremsky's name right.

But, I'm also endeared to them because people I hold dear are endeared to them. So much so that after tonight's 14 inning marathon, ended only after Ortiz (again) won the day, they call each other and have the phone call equivalent of a group hug. And that might sound sappy to you but their mutual love for the Sox is so great that it gives them an excuse to visit each other (despite not living in the same state), take road trips with one another, invent little superstitions to alter the team's karma and in general, build on bonds that were already tight but are now just that much tighter. It's hard to articulate but it's a wondrous thing to see, especially in a time when work and distance often serve to sever friendships.

Believe me, I know other sports nuts - a good friend bought his baby daughter a mini Kobe jersey which I think is karmically risky, but he's that big of a Lakers' fan. But let me just tell you: Sox fandom transcends that. By that, I don't mean that these are people who paint their chests with red paint, wear those foam hands, or take trips to the BX just to urinate on the Yankees' stadium. Yet, rooting for the Sox is something my friends do with such complete passion that I often can only spectate in awe.

After all, in my humble opinion, to be a Sox fan means being on the side of despair, frustration and disappointment year after year after year (being a Cal fan is much the same but that's another story) and without making too much of this: some of us can appreciate that feeling because we experience it in profound ways far outside just the realm of sport. I can't speak for others but I think the sensitivity to often being on the losing side of the good fight is precisely what makes rooting for the Sox so great...because occassionally, like tonight or last night, they'll actually pull it out and in that instant, a whole world of possibilities and potential opens up. Theeeennnn, usually, they'll go out and get destroyed in the most inexplicable or embarassing ways but hey, that's the cycle that's got folks hooked. God forbid the Sox should go out and do something crazy like win the World Series - I don't know if fans could handle it. Maybe they'd all become Cubs fans to get that feeling back.

Anyways, 3-2, back to NYC. Shouts out to the Astros too - Jeff Kent stand up!