The Baseball Desert

Monday, October 02, 2006

Closing credits

OK, so I'm a sucker - I saw that the game had started around 11:30pm CET and decided "What the hell - s'only work tomorrow morning, nothing of any real importance." And so I stuck with the game, a no-hitter from Devern Hansack (five innings, but a no-hitter nonetheless).

I was trying to come up with some coherent thoughts on the end of the season, but on reading Jere's great post, I realised I didn't need to - he nails it:
Leaving the park tonight, led by the light of the Citgo sign, I thought of the entity that is Red Sox baseball, and how it's not about winning or losing. Never was. We've got our own little culture and our special traditions. It's really true about how these things tie the generations together. We make new friends through them, and we find old ones, too. We find things in common with strangers. No matter how often you go to Fenway, it's Thanksgiving dinner every time, with our Sox at the head of the table. Sometimes they keep us up laughing deep into the night. Other times they're asleep after one piece of pie. But it's always a special day. As I thought of this, I realized what the greatest thing about 2004 was. That team winning it all allows me to say this--that it's not about the winning--without having to hear, "that's just something losers say." I was happy to see them win, but I was also happy tonight, giving one last cheer to a group who didn't bring home the trophy.
For me, it's not a generational thing, it's a geographical thing. I'm 4,000 miles from Fenway, but over the past three or four years being a Red Sox fan has allowed me to connect with people all over the world. This season, some of those virtual acquaintances became real, physical ones, when I was finally able to set foot in Fenway and affirm my membership of the club they call Red Sox Nation. At the risk of re-quoting myself to death, this line from November 2004 sums it up best:
However, should the Red Sox not win the World Series or make the playoffs next year, should they finish dead last (and here's a rash Baseball Desert prediction for you: they won't...) I'll still be there, wearing my cap with pride, but it will no longer be simply a fine fashion accessory - it will be something more, something that says I finally belong.