(Photo by Jim Davis / Globe Staff)
The Red Sox played 14 postseason games this year.
As everyone who cares about such things knows, they won the World Series.
They lost only three games on their way to the World Series, one each against the three (other) best teams in 2018 – Yankees, Astros, Dodgers.
Admission: I did not watch the first 13 games.
But I did watch the 14th and final game from start to finish.
So what’s up with that? How could I not watch my heroes?
Digression: In 2004, when the Sox hadn’t won the World Series in 86 years, I was watching at home on TV when they defeated the Cards in the third game of the WS to take a 3-0 lead. I got on a plane in DC early the next morning to fly to St. Louis (didn’t have a ticket to the game), after wrestling with myself whether or not to go.
My dilemma was how could I not go when my wonderful grandfather (Pappy) had introduced me to the Sox when I was seven years old. Never in his lifetime did he see the Sox win a World Series. I had to go for him. But, having been ‘schooled’ by being a Red Sox fan for 54 years at that time (now it’s been 68 years of pain and joy), I feared another disaster (think Bill Buckner, Bucky Dent, etc.) and wondered about being far away from home if that disaster struck, and the Sox lost to the Cards.
My love for my grandfather and reasoning that if I went to St. Louis and they lost the fourth game, I could stay for one more game. If they lost that one, I could hasten home with the Sox up three games to two, and I could lock myself in our study and suck my thumb while they blew the next two games.
I went. They won. It was the end of a long nightmare and a wonderful night that I will never forget (see this earlier post from my younger daughter who left a letter for me on the kitchen table to see when I returned: The Email on the Kitchen Table).
Knowing myself, somewhat, I chose not to watch or listen to the first 13 games of the 2018 post season. The regular season had been superb with the Sox winning the most games ever in their history, going 108-54. They had a winning percentage of 67%, and I had watched many of those games as it was clear to me that something special was happening this year. And I posted that it didn’t matter if they won the World Series or not as they had given me and other fans a wonderful season (see For Me, the Sox Don’t HAVE to Win the World Series). I got a lot of criticism for that post and disbelief. But I meant it.
Plus, I couldn’t bear to watch them lose to the Yankees, Astros, or the Dodgers, as anything is possible in the postseason, especially to the Sox. So I went to bed every night not knowing the score of the first 13 games, often waking in the middle of the night to see what had happened. (Fortunately, Ellen kept silent about what was happening in each game as she apparently continually checked the score on her iPhone). If I saw they won, I would then watch every video and read everything about that win. If they lost (which they only did three times), I would immediately go back to sleep, except for that 18 inning game they lost to the Dodgers. That one demanded I read about what happened, and the ‘boo birds’ started with saying the WS had turned around, and the Sox would likely lose now.
When the Sox won the next game the next day and went ahead 3-1 over the Dodgers, I was presented with the same dilemma as I had had in 2004. If I watched, and they lost, it would be a miserable three-four hours, leaving me in pain.
But if they won, how could I not have watched it, including the celebrations at the end?
And after all, I ‘reasoned,’ they still would have three more chances to win the WS. So I didn’t really need to be fearful of sharp instruments or high places if they lost that fifth game.
I watched it.
You all know how this story ended.