A Special Time for a Red Sox Fan
Before a Nation was born, there was 1967.
My wife is a Yankees fan, and says she feels like a stranger here in Red Sox Nation.
A month or so ago, we went to Long Island.
The weather was nice.
The food was great.
“You know what I like best?"
I figured she was going to say being back to the place where she grew up, among the familiar sights.
“Not really,” I answered.
“Well, we’re not in Red Sox Nation anymore,” she said. “I’m not seeing the license plates, the shirts, the hats and all the talk about the Red Sox.”
I’m a Red Sox fan and have been so since 1965.
Sports-wise, I’m also in a mixed marriage.
She’s a great woman and the love of my life, so we just agree to disagree about baseball. She does like the Celtics, so we keep the talk on the Green Team.
When I told my Red Sox Nation friends we were getting married, they were worried we weren’t going to be able to overcome the Boston-New York thing.
There was a big test right away
We got married in 2003, and you know what happened that year.
I’m always telling my wife she was born in the wrong era. Mostly, that’s because she likes the clothes from the 1920s and 1930s and loves period-piece films.
Red Sox Nation-wise, she should have been here before 1967.
Back in those days, Red Sox Nation could have had its meetings in a phone booth and still had enough room for a snack table.
Monday, my stepdaughter and I watched the NESN video of the 1967 season, “The Impossible Dream.” I have the record album ffrom that season framed on my wall
Thursday, the manager of that team, Dick Williams, died at 82.
In a tribute to the skipper, the talking heads on sports radio talked about that magical season, but in most cases, they didn’t live it.
You really have to be 50 or older to remember that Reggie Smith played second base on opening day and Billy Rohr one-hit the Yankees in New York in April, with Jackie Kennedy and her son John Jr. watching from the stands.
A piece of Yaz bread never graced their stomachs, or they didn’t sit in a car and listen to Ken Coleman, Mel Parnell and Ned Martin bring the games to life on the radio.
Only a pre-Nation member remembers Yaz’s great catches or any of his 44 homers.
Of course, that 1967 team won the pennant on the last day of the season in a dramatic fashion, capturing the hearts of a region, while leading to the birth of Red Sox Nation.
Before that, Fenway Park was ancient and virtually empty, not like these days when fans stay in their stands during downpours and bang out the joint every night.
Before 1967, Fenway was a dump, filled with awful ball players and run by equally awful management.
The “Impossible Dream” changed that.
Of course, in the future, the 2004 and 2007 World Series champions will get most of the love. They deserve it for being winners.
And there will always be a special place for the 1975 team who lost to the Reds in an epic seven-game series.
Like 1975, 1967 ended with a loss, this one to the Cardinals.
It didn’t matter to the fans back then.
If you were there, you know why.
“But they didn’t win,” said my wife after she was subjected to my tales from 1967.
But they did create a Nation.