Many years ago, it was my job to produce interviews with the members of a championship high school football team. I talked to every member of the team, and the interviews ran as fillers on the local station during the week leading up to the state championship game.
When I asked one player what he would remember most, he said, “I will never forget how undefeated we have been.”
As a result, I will never forget that interview.
Baseball season is about to start, and it’s never better than the year after one’s favorite team has won the World Series. My father lived his entire life without seeing the Boston Red Sox win a Series. My life was an oh-fer until the Red Sox defeated the St. Louis Cardinals in four straight when I was 46. They also won it all in 2007, defeating the Colorado Rockies in four straight. Last year they needed six games to conquer the Cardinals again.
At this stage of my life, I still do not think three World Series are too many.
I don’t think I would love baseball as much if I’d grown up rooting for the Yankees. It would have been too easy. I’d probably have wound up being a Republican or something similarly awful. Not only would I have money, but I’d probably have it in an offshore account. Hence I despise the Yankees, too. Why? Because (a.) I’m a Southerner, and they’re named Yankees. Sure, my favorite team is in Boston, but at least the Red Sox don’t flaunt it; (b.) I’m a Democrat, which means I naturally pull for the underdog (and feel lonely in the South), and, compared to the Yankees, the Red Sox are not only underdogs but classic underdogs, David to New York’s Goliath; (c.) Ted Williams was the real John Wayne, though both were Republicans; (d.) my daddy’s dead, but the only great thing he ever taught me was to cheer for the Red Sox; (e.) the Yankees fired Yogi Berra when I was six, before my dad indoctrinated me, and I never forgave them; and (f.) old Fenway Park is a shrine, and new Yankee Stadium is a snobbatorium.
I cut it short. There are really hundreds.
What changed on October 20, 2004, is that I don’t sweat it as much. They’ve won. They found the Holy Grail a decade ago. It’s why they’ve won two more. I don’t know about the Curse of the Bambino. I always felt it was a personal curse, something I was doing or not doing. I always thought, in all those nightmarish Game Sevens, God was punishing me for my sins by taking it out on the Carmines.
It would’ve been just, though certainly a bit ruthless in regard to me, but Jehovah, or Yahweh — surely Jesus didn’t participate in the discussions — shouldn’t have taken it out on the Red Sox.
That’s all over now. I’m more religious. Maybe not religious, but more tilted toward the spiritual. Every night I ask the Lord’s forgiveness for hating the Yankees so, and I think perhaps I have more sway now.