Red Sox Thoughts: What It Means To Be A Red Sox Fan

An email message promoted from my email archives to my blog on the last day the 2004 Red Sox were world champions (10/26/05).

Date: Mon, 18 Oct 1999 09:41:25 -0600
To: "Boston Globe" <letter@globe.com>
From: "Erik J. Heels" [deleted]
Subject: What It Means to be a Red Sox Fan

Some thoughts from a displaced Bostonian on what it means to be a Red Sox
fan.

I have been trying to explain to my wife (who is not from this country) and
to my kids (ages 5, 3, and 1) what it means to be Red Sox fan.

To be a Red Sox fan, you must never give up.  Last year, when the Red Sox
were one out away from losing the ALDS to the Cleveland Indians three games
to one, I told my son Sam (then 4) that Red Sox fans never give up.  It
didn't look good, I admitted, but this is why baseball is the best game in
the world.  You have to play all nine innings.  You get three strikes,
three outs, nine innings.  You will have your chance to perform.  Lo and
behold, the Red Sox did score in their last at-bat.  They didn't win the
game, but they went down fighting.  They never gave up.  And I told Sam,
"Just wait until next year."  Well, this is that next year.

Shea Stadium had thinned out by the time Robin Ventura hit his
grand-slam-turned-single in the 15th inning to win it.  Can you image a
single true Red Sox fan leaving a game like that?

To be a Red Sox fan, you must be 50% optimist, 50% masochist.  You don't
want the Red Sox to lose a single game.  But when (note I didn't say "if")
they get to the world series, you don't want them to win in four games
because that wouldn't be as satisfying as winning in seven.  So when the
Sox were down 0-2 to Cleveland, I said, "Perfect.  This will make it all
the more special when the become the first team since 1995 to come back
from and 0-2 deficit to win.  And the first team ever to do it on the road."

To be a Red Sox fan, you must root for the Victory that Rights All Previous
Wrongs.  Which is why I was rooting for the Yankees to beat the Rangers.
Because beating the Yankees will be much more satisfying than beating the
Rangers.  Which is why I am rooting for the Mets.  The Mets must win in
seven games so that the Red Sox can play them in seven and win.  We've got
1978 and 1986 to account for.

And even though umpires have cost Sox games (or chances at games) in the
past, a true Red Sox fan cannot wish that the Sox win a game due to a bad
call.  That wouldn't count, wouldn't be as satisfying.  True Sox fans also
know that last year's World Series didn't really count because the Yankees
got there in part due to a "home run" that wasn't against Baltimore.

So I was cheering when the Mets won in 15.  Was flipping back and forth
between the games.  Oh good, now the sox are down 3-1.  This will mean
they'll be own the third team in history to come back from a 1-3 deficit and
win.  And they'll be playing the Mets, the first team to come back from 0-3
to win in all.

Because for the Sox final victory to mean anything, the Yankees and Mets
must lose in as excruciating fashion as the Sox have so many times
before.  This is how the series of the century must be.  This is what it
means to be a Red Sox fan.

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