It’s still unbelievable, even if looking back it shouldn’t have been. Do you remember how you felt when that flip landed safely in Mientkiewicz’s glove? My reaction was a little surprising to me. After all, when Luis Gonzalez’s single reached the outfield grass in 2001, I jumped up and danced around the room. That wasn’t even the Sox winning. But, this time, while everyone else was jumping up and down on screen?
That’s all. I gave out a “phew” and just sat there. Sat there and felt the relief. Sat there watching. Sat there as everything changed around me. Sat there and enjoyed every second of it.
And, everything really did change. I’m not usually one to relate events on a sports field to real life. I get that Curt Schilling wasn’t a “hero.” Being at a no-hitter shouldn’t be the best moment of my life. But, this was different. This was life-altering.
No, not in the “what do I do now?” way that some people actually suggested. I wasn’t once worried about what I would do without the misery of cheering for a loser. I was very happy to transfer into cheering for a Champion. When they did it again a few years later, I knew exactly how to enjoy that one as well. I seamlessly switched to cheering for the top dog, as opposed to the underdog. That wasn’t it.
It was everyone else. Some people thought Boston fans were weird for putting all this stock in a supposed “curse.” We didn’t. Sure, we might have had some fun with it every now and then. But it was everyone else that kept making it a “thing.” After Foulke flipped it to Meintkiewicz, that all had to stop. Yankees fans had to stop that annoying “1918” chant. I never really understood it. Either you were the defending champs, or you weren’t. Everything else was just extra. I guess other than Yankees fans themselves where past success matters. But, for everyone else it didn’t matter how long it had been. Once it got to a few years, it was all the same. But, that was over. They would at least have to come up with a new annoying chant now. Or a new way to hang “K” signs instead of using Babe’s face.
And the networks. Maybe I could watch a nationally televised game again without them harping all over how much bread cost in 1918. How much had that become the easy way out when it came to a Sox broadcast? FOX actually tried to resurrect it last season by making up this streak of not clinching a championship at home since 1918. They already had the stories and the graphics, they just needed a way to work them into the broadcast. Because that’s how long it had been since a home clinch. Get my point? At least they had to try harder now, and be a little bit creative. It all changed.
It was stuff like that, and all the other stuff too. The world was a different place. No more curse of Ruth. No more Buckner replays, like that was in game seven or something. The Red Sox, and me as their fan, had to be treated like every other team and every other teams’ fan. I didn’t once feel like I lost an identity. I felt like I gained a new, better one.
The aforementioned 2007 championship was the perfect example of that. When the Sox went up 3-0 on the Cardinals, I admit that a SMALL part of me had a thought. Wouldn’t it be just like them to be the first MLB team to ever come back from being down 0-3, just to become the second team to ever blow a 3-0 lead, in the very next series! But, I had none of that in 2007. The Sox were down 1-3 to Cleveland, and it was OK. Of course Beckett would be overpowering the next game. He wasn’t going to pitch well during the season only to give it up at the end. Why would he? He’s not Clemens. The past had nothing to do with it. It was all about that team, and what they could do. It was wonderful. It was freeing. It was different.
It was life changing.