dhBlog: archives

A monthly archive: October 2004

# articles in archive: 16

       28 Oct 2004       

Subject: Sports     The Sox win the WS: The Road from the 60s

A History Of the Sox, as seen by one fan on the morning after winning it all.

The 1918 stuff is dumb. Yet, it has been a LONG WAIT. For me, it starts sometime in the mid-60s, as a kid watching a real pathetic sox team. Going to Fenway, smacking the empty seats next to you (lift and push down hard) to make noise, or yelling through the megaphone popcorn containers.

Then out of the blue comes the "Impossible Dream" team of 1967. From deep in last place to first place, winning in a tough 4 team race that goes down to the wire. And although they lost to the Cards in that one, the experience reawakened Red Sox fever in Boston.

And it never really died. Me, I take a break from baseball (and other organized sports) for hippy-dippy reasons in the mid-70s, so my awareness of the 1975 extravaganza is of being in a small hotel in Wyoming, on the outskirts of the Black Hills, waiting for a bus to take me on to California. And looking up at the TV in the lobby, and seeing the sox playing the cards in the series, I somehow felt that I had a little bit of extra local legitimacy (I was more then some scruffy kid passing through). An illusion no doubt, but a poignant one.

By 1978 I'm back in Boston, and the whole '78 phenomenon sweeps away my vestigial pc-like reluctance to embrace organized-professional sports. I re-become a Sox fan. And I get a lesson, in some ways a new one for me, in the special frustrations of Sox fandom -- a lesson rooted in the collapse of the team in August. All the starting players were just worn out, and couldn't do it. Gotta give credit to Fisk, since he never gave up; but everyone else seem ground down.

Sox fandom was getting antsy through this collapse. I was driving cab, and one night waiting for the game to break outside of Fenway after a loss, a middle age guy scratches my eye cause I moaned about giving him a 2 block ride. I blame the mounting frustration.

But somehow the Sox get it back together, and force the infamous Bucky Dent game. I remember watching at a friends house, I remember the Dent home run.

But what I most remember is Remy working his way to 2nd base (he was the best clutch hitter I've ever seen), and Yaz at the plate. What a scene -- everyone knows that the winner of this game will win the Series. And here is the chance of a lifetime for Yaz, a chance to make it happen. This is rare for baseball players, since so much depends on what others do (say, can the pitcher hold the lead after you drive in the winning run). But this is the 9th, so Yaz can do it all himself. ALL HIMSELF.

An important aside -- in 1978 Michael Dukakis is running in a tough election against a paleo-conservative name of Ed King. Yaz is known to be a supporter of Ed King.
So Yaz is up there, and I think to myself: "Yaz, you win the game and I'm voting for Ed King". But one second later sanity kicks in, and I say to myself "no, I take that back". And two seconds after that YAZ FOULS OUT TO THE THIRD BASEMEN wasn't enough. What a pathetic out. Perhaps it was my fault, but so be it.
That starts a series of declining years, as the Sox either leave (Lynn to Calif, Fisk to Chicago, Yaz to dodderdum). But then Oil Can Boyd shows up -- a real novelty, a Sox pitcher who talks and thinks like a pitcher (not like a generic baseball dolt). And Hurst. And Clemens. And by 1986, they have a real winning team. As I remember some radio call in guy saying "this team won't fold, cause Clemens can stop a losing streak by himself". view the entire article

Posted by Daniel Hellerstein at 03:38:40 Add comment || View 0 comments