October 31, 2013
As I write these words, the marvelous run of this year’s Boston Red Sox is just a few hours shy of its conclusion.
Tonight, our Olde Town Team will take to the field at Fenway for a World Series Game 6, leading three games to two, and Boston awaits in hopeful anticipation that tonight’s game will be a victory, even as images come to mind of one more Duck Boat Victory parade on the streets of downtown Boston before this week comes to an end. Or maybe not.
As you see these words, dear reader, you already know the outcome of these final innings of 2013 at the ball yard on the Fens. Did they win Game 6? Or was there one more game on Halloween night? Was Boston the last team standing? Or are they celebrating in St. Louis?
At this moment, I cannot predict what will come. But in these few remaining anxious hours, there’s some comfort in looking back. To wit:
• Last March, on the eve of opening day. I tucked a Red Sox season schedule into my wallet. The cover read, “162 Chances to Restore the Faith.” What seemed a pipe dream last winter, some copywriter’s fantasy, had indeed become a reality. Faith in this team has been restored!
• As a 15 years season ticket owner, I struggled not to cancel this year, reasoning that last year we paid major league prices for a minor league team. Many season packages were cancelled, and I decided to not renew our box seats behind home plate. But since season-ticket holders are promised playoff seats, I gave in and negotiated less expensive grandstand seats in left field. What a surprise: This was a winning team right from the start, and the new, cheaper seats were better than the old ones.
• On Memorial Day, the team beat Tampa Bay in the morning , an upbeat beginning to what would become a dreadful day. Soon came news of two explosions at the Marathon finish line, followed by the awful news of lives lost and limbs blown apart. Our baseball team decamped that afternoon for three days in Cleveland, returning on April 19 to a tumultuous and monumental pre-game ceremony that brought the entire community together and, in retrospect became the pivotal moments of a city and region that came together as if we were all one.
“Boston Strong” was the anthem, but #34, David Ortiz, rallied us all with his simple declaration-“This is our f---!!! City!” Our Red Sox season would become the salve that has helped heal so many wounds,
• Father Sean Connor, a priest who has ministered to the grieving Richard family in his former Dorchester parish, helped to orchestrate a compelling moment at Fenway during the playoffs: a group of young children from St. Ann parish in Dorchester sang the National Anthem, and they were joined by seven-year-old Jane Richard, who walked on her prosthetic left leg to stand with them at second base.
What a moment!
Six months after the Marathon Day tragedy, Jane and her family continue to heal, even as they struggle with the loss of little Martin Richard. But while little Jane walked onto the field on her new artificial limb, the national TV audience never saw it. Fox was in a commercial, and the scene was ignored by the commercial interests of MLB and the Fox TV network. Too bad.
But still, as the ballpark sings after every win, you gotta Love That Dirty Water – Boston You’re My Home!