The Resurrection of the Light
Dylan Thomas told us to not go gently into the night, but to rage against the dying of the light. The Boston Red Sox did just that this week, vaulting a seemingly insurmountable obstacle via a combination of talent, luck, and good old-fashioned pigheadedness.
I?m sure I?m not the only card-carrying member of Red Sox Nation to feel the need to throw his thoughts on the events of the last week into the ether. Simply being a Red Sox fan connects us; there is an inherent empathy involved with rooting for the boys from Beantown. There?s a reason they call it ?Red Sox fever?; it?s an infection. However, thanks to a bunch of goofy, fun-loving ?idiots,? the condition no longer feels quite so much like a terminal one.
This series was one for the ages. Everyone is pretty much in agreement on that. It was the Ministry of Truth against the Merry Pranksters. The staid, slightly sinister establishment established a stranglehold, and yet a gang of two dozen counterculture crackpots refused to allow itself to be subverted. A bunch of smug, standoffish mercenaries received their comeuppance from a crew that genuinely loves both baseball and one another. That?s baseball; a truly great team needs to transcend the sum of its parts, to become more than what it is. That, in a nutshell, describes your 2004 Boston Red Sox.
This victory is for you and me. This victory is for every man, woman, and child who has devoted a piece of his or her heart, however small, to this team. Most of us recognize the basic irrationality that is at the heart of sports fandom. We?re reasonably intelligent people, after all. We just don?t care. We don?t care that living and dying with a baseball team doesn?t make any traditional kind of sense. It?s just the way it ought to be. This victory is for us.
It is also for the legions that went before us, both in the stands and on the field. This is for all those members of the Nation who watched in stunned amazement as the Yankees beat a team of destiny on the last day of the 1941 season. This is for Johnny Pesky, who never actually held the ball, despite what legend might tell us. This is for Ted Williams, Bobby Doerr, Dom DiMaggio?the truly great Sox of the forties and fifties who were stuck behind a dynasty. This is for Yaz and the rest of the 1967 Impossible Dream, 100-1 odds pennant winners who came up against the St. Louis Cardinals and a pitching demigod named Bob Gibson. This is for Bill Lee, whose best wasn?t quite enough against the Big Red Machine in 1975, even after Carlton Fisk?s ubiquitous home run dance. It?s for Mike Torrez, who doesn?t deserve the blame for Bucky Bleeping Dent in 1978. It?s for Jim Rice and Bruce Hurst, Marty Barrett and Bob Stanley. It?s for Calvin Schiraldi and yes, even for Bill Buckner, who finally has a chance to put certain demons behind him. This is for the ghost of Tom Yawkey.
Of course, it is for the players. Tim Wakefield can dismiss the Aaron Boone incident; it doesn?t seem to matter as much anymore. Guys like Curt Schilling, who are fans of the game and respect the passion and ardor of Red Sox Nation, add a special flavor to the proceedings. He doesn?t just want to win another ring?he wants to win it in Boston. That?s a man with a sense of history and a love of the game. Every one of these guys loves the game. Let people argue the semantics of baseball?s admittedly outrageous economic system, how the Sox are no better than the Yankees. No one who has watched this series can truly believe that. The Boston Red Sox love to play. In a time when money has systematically eliminated all traces of joy from the game, a team like this is a breath of fresh air.
Baseball history is a fascinating thing to me, and for the last week I?ve gotten to feel like a part of that history. These are truly *my* Boston Red Sox, more than any that have come before, and they have earned a permanent place in my esteem. They treated us to something that no one has ever seen before, and there?s more to come. Go Sox.
And one more thing?Sox in 6.