After initially and deservedley snubbing Fenway’s 100th anniversary party, former Red Sox manager Terry Francona has decided to attend Friday’s 100-year birthday bash after all.
Francona, being interviewed on New York’s “The Michael Kay Show”, said he would indeed attend Boston’s 2012 signature event because the fans deserved it. Right on Tito!
My father lived an entire lifetime without seeing the Red Sox win a World Championship. That’s good enough for me to reward Francona with god-like status. Tito and company – from upstart Cowboy Up Idiots to envied MLB franchise – delivered not one but two trophies to long-suffering New England and Red Sox Nation fans, of which I was and am.
I teared up that night nearly eight years ago when my mother called me in the middle of the ninth inning as the Sox were finishing off the Cardinals in a four-game sweep after a delirious run through the playoffs.
My fiends gathered in the living room couldn’t believe their eyes, watching a then 45-year old man cry when Boston took it all. The MasterCard commercial parody featuring, among others, Dennnis Leary saying that he’d give his “left nut” to see the Sox win it all encapsulates the experience.
I ran up and down my street in Richmond Virginia shortly after midnight screaming that the Red Sox were world champions, not caring who I woke up or what curfew I had broken. I stayed up all night watching ESPN over and over to make sure that what I saw had actually just happened. I took calls from friends in New England until the wee hours of the morning. I dragged myself into work that day and at each meeting received a standing ovation from co-workers who were as much relieved that the Red Sox nut would finally shut up as they did vicariously celebrate the achievement.
It sounds silly but for anyone who is a Sox fan of my vintage, I think I get buy on this one. I was there for ’67 (Gibson mows down the Sox three times), ’75 (Carlton Fisk, I still love you), ’78 (Bucky F—ing Dent), ’86 (BIll F–ing Buckner) and ’03 (Aaron F—ing Boone). And lest we forget 1946 (Pesky holds the ball – actually a myth). During this run anytime the Sox made it to the World Series they lost it in seven games. I’ve earned my emotional stripes kids.
That’s why Tito belongs at the ceremony. That’s why I grieved when he said he wasn’t going to attend. That’s why I now celebrate a hometown hero coming back to the place where he and bunch of rag-tag misfits made magic. That’s why we watch.Go Sox!