COLUMN: Why not us?
Published: Sunday, October 20, 2013
Updated: Sunday, October 20, 2013 23:10
Today the crisp New England air feels a lot crispier and the sun is shining a little bit brighter as the Boston Red Sox are returning to the World Series for the first time since 2007.
It’s almost unfathomable the Sox are back in the Fall Classic after last year’s embarrassing display of baseball, but believe it folks the Red Sox are in the World Series.
On Saturday Shane Victorino cemented his name in Boston sports history after his grand slam in the 7th inning catapulted the Sox to a 5-2 win over the Detroit Tigers in the American League Championship Series.
While Boston celebrated on the infield of Fenway their next opponent the St. Louis Cardinals sat waiting. The Cardinals and the Red Sox are no strangers to each other in October. This will be the 4th time the two teams will meet in World Series.
First there was 1946 when the four teammates Ted Williams, Johnny Pesky, Dom DiMaggio and Bobby Doerr were in the World Series together for the first and only time. In 1967 the Sox and Cards met again in what’s remembered as the “Impossible Dream” dream season and also the beginning of Red Sox Nation. We all know what happened in 2004. The Red Sox defeated the Cardinals to win the World Series for the first time in 86 years.
It was also in 2004 that a famous sports writer and former Daily Campus employee, Leigh Montville wrote a book entitled, “Why Not Us?: The 86-year Journey of the Boston Red Sox Fans From Unparalleled Suffering To The Promised Land Of the 2004 World Series.” Montville’s book chronicles what it was like to be a Red Sox fan in New England during the dark ages of Boston’s title drought.
One day Montville returned to his home town of New Haven, which is about 20 minutes from my own hometown. At a book signing Montville wrote a personal inscription on the second page of my copy of “Why not us?”
“Tyler, may all of this happen again and again to the Red Sox. Best, Leigh Montville.”
Two years later the Red Sox swept the Colorado Rockies to win their second World Series in just three years. I have thought about the inscription in my book ever since 2007. Did Montville have an idea the Sox would win it all again? Probably not. However part of me still wants to believe the Red Sox are guaranteed to have another duck boat parade in my lifetime.
What better time than now.
With their bearded faces and cavalier attitude, this team echoes many of the same characteristics of the self-proclaimed “idiots” in 2004. With the exception of David Ortiz, the names and faces are different, but the feeling is just the same. When any team in any sport has the chemistry like this group of guys does it shows on the field.
The road to a World Series title has not been an easy one. The Red Sox made light work of Tampa, but the Tigers made Boston’s bats work extra hard against their superior pitching staff. If it wasn’t for some late game heroics from Ortiz and Victorino during the course of the series, who knows what could have happened.
Fortunately for Red Sox fans in Boston and around New England, hypotheticals are a moot point. October baseball is back in Boston and it could not have come at a better time. Just six months ago the city was reeling from the devastating Boston Marathon bombings, but a lot has changed since then.
Just like the city, this Red Sox team showed character, resiliency and came to epitomize the meaning of “Boston Strong.” Just like Victorino’s walk-up music says “Don’t worry about a thing, because every little thing is going to be alright.”
All is well at “Friendly Fenway” this year and this World Series will be one hell of a ride. Regardless of the result of the World Series, Boston fans can hang their hats on one thing. This team never gave up on their fans, their city or each other.
Game 1 on Wednesday cannot come soon enough.
Follow Tyler on Twitter @TylerRMorrissey