|(photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)|
Boston is a baseball town, and arguably the greatest one in America. Looking from a distance, it doesn’t make sense that it is. The weather isn’t conducive to Baseball for much of the year. It's not like kids can play baseball from October through May in New England as we do in Southern California. They have had only two or three homegrown talents in the sport that made it big. How many California talents have they had over the decades?
Then there are the other sports where Boston has dominated, and they aren’t sports that are ignored by the national sports landscape.
The Celtics have been the premier organization in the NBA scene for much of its history with the most titles of any franchise. They’re the Yankees of basketball. Eight championships in a row and 11 out 13. That’s domination on a massive scale. And then even after their 1960s domination, they won titles in the 70s, 80s and 2000s. Granted, they have their following and rabid fans, but it’s nothing like the Red Sox.
Then you have the recent success in the past 13-14 years of the Patriots with three World Championship victories and two other Super Bowl appearances. Quite the accomplishment. The Patriots are a football franchise recognized as one of the top five in the NFL each year. The Patriots have a loyal following too, but compared to the Red Sox, it's not even close.
For the Red Sox the words world champions wasn't even in their vocabulary. For 86 years they fell short of winning the World Series, but still they were the city’s darling sport franchise. This was the team that that broke their fans hearts year after year. The elusive girlfriend that would break up with you every year and then entice you back into the relationship, only to dump you for another guy just when things were getting serious again. That ballclub that would fall short in pennant chases after big leads or would uncork the wild pitch or see a ball squirt through a players legs in a World Series clinching game.
|Red Sox celebrate AL pennant clinching win against Detroit. (photo by Charlie Reidel/AP)|
The Red Sox were the franchise cursed by an ownership group that failed to integrate until they were so far behind other teams that it took them years to recover. They had a player in Ted Williams that many consider the greatest hitter to play the game, and he couldn’t get a championship because the pieces around him weren't insufficient. While their hated rivals in New York chalked up dozens of championships, the Red Sox were remembered as the franchise that always fell short to them and additionally the team that traded them Babe Ruth in exchange for money to fund a Musical comedy.
The comedy turned out to be the Sox flopping on the field for decades. A loveable team that got good in some years but ALWAYS fell short. That was until magic occurred in 2004 and a miraculous team came back from 3-0 deficit to defeat the Yankees in four straight to win the ALCS, and eventually win the World Series. Now they are the premier franchise in the game. A team always considered a favorite to win the while thing.
So tomorrow, October 30, 2014. A full 96 years since they last won a World Series Championship at home against another team that would be known for even greater futility, (the Cubs), Boston is on the verge of hosting what might be the greatest home field celebration in the history of the game. How they'll keep their fans from storming onto the field and dancing away will be a feat requiring a lot of planning and massive law enforcement strength. Then again, who can blame the Boston PD if they join in with the fans in the celebration.
For years, home field championship celebrations were massive on field events in which fans jumped on the field and partied, but security in all major cities have succeeded in keeping fans off fields for the past 30 plus years with a large police presence combined with mounted officers to deter the activity. I’m not so sure that the Boston Police force is big enough to stop Bostonians from storming the field if the Red Sox win either game six or game seven. They weren't successful in stopping tea partiers from dumping the tea in the harbor 230 years ago. Good luck keeping fans from dancing on the pitchers mound.
A home field World Series championship in Boston will be quite the spectacle. The Sox removed that 86 year old monkey off their backs in 2004, so the hex is long gone. If they are able to win this thing at home tomorrow, even against Cardinal October star Michael Wacha, Boston will prove to the world that they are and will always be a premier baseball town in their hometown clinching. Frankly those fans deserve it. They suffered a long time and a home field celebration will be a just reward for their patience. Hopefully the city is still standing when November rolls around.
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