The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America is ruled by it like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game, is a part of our past, Ray. It reminds us of all that once was good, and that could be again. Oh, people will come, Ray. People will most definitely come.
-James Earl Jones as Terence Mann
The Red Sox are the 2004 World Series Champions. It’s been 24 hours and I’ve said or thought those words a million times since Foulke snared the final out in the ninth, but it still doesn’t make sense to me. I’ve waited so long and now that it’s here, I don’t know how I’m supposed to feel. Don’t get me wrong, I know I’m loving it, hell, I’m probably still in shock, but it still feels so…different? Am I crazy?
Baseball is so much more than a sport or a game, it is a tradition. It is a bond formed between fathers and sons and daughters that lasts a lifetime. It starts with the first game of catch, buying the first glove, the first tee ball game. It is going to the first Red Sox game together. I honestly don’t remember my first walk up the ramp, seeing the gem that is Fenway Park for the first time, seeing the Green Monster. But I do know the awestruck expression on each of my daughters’ faces when I took them up that ramp for the first time. And that, I will never forget.
The love of baseball is passed down from generation to generation like a sacred family heirloom. It runs through the fabric of our lives, growing stronger as we grow. And at some point, at least for those of us lucky enough to be Red Sox fans, it becomes a passion. We shed the burden of winter each year and are filled with hopes and dreams when we hear that pitchers and catchers are reporting to spring training. We live and die each night with the players on the field during the dog days of summer. When the days begin to shorten and the nights grow cooler, we cling to whatever or whoever we can, telling ourselves that this might be the year. And finally, this is the year.
And when it really started to look like these guys had that something special (for me it was winning Game 5 of the ALCS) that could get it done, who did we turn to? For most people, it was their dad. The man that planted the seed in our hearts that has grown into the love for America’s favorite past-time. Go back and read yesterday’s comments. Nearly all of them mention calling their dad, or wishing their dad was still around to experience this. The stories were beautiful, thank you all for sharing them with us.
What we witnessed over the past two weeks was historical. But if history has taught us anything, this could very well be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. So enjoy it. Savor it. Squeeze every bit of pleasure that you can out of it. And share it. This is not some guilty pleasure to be coveted in your heart or mind. It is a gift. It is ours to share. I get as much pleasure seeing what this means to others as I did watching it unfold myself. So many people waited a lot longer than I did, suffered a lot more disappointments than I did, and I am so happy to see them get a World Series.
If you haven’t already done it, drive over to your dad’s. If he lives far away, call him. Talk about the team, the series, what it means to him. I would if I could. My dad listened to every game on the radio when I was a kid. I know that wherever we go when we leave this place, whether it’s heaven or a cornfield in Iowa, he listened to this series and he is smiling.
Hey Dad, wanna have a catch?