You are viewing a read-only archive of the Blogs.Harvard network. Learn more.
30 October 2004

Red Sox Nation Exhaustion

I’ve been meaning to write, but I’ve been sucked deep into the bowels of Red Sox
Nation for the last three weeks, so like everyone else here in New England, I
have been subsisting on too little sleep for too many

{pictureRef (, align:”left”)}It’s been a mad whirlwind of
a baseball ride here.  Two weekends ago, BF and I were on the
South Shore of Mass. Bay (about 25 miles to the south of Boston on the
coast), on a weekend retreat with the other graduate students in his
department, and we were there, soaked in misery and gin, the night that
the Sox lost to the Yankees 19-8.  Ignominious.  Everyone was
at the point of crying, yet again, as it looked like another year of
oh-so-familiar defeat for Boston.  But then they started to
win.  Unbelievably, they couldn’t seem to be killed.  On
Monday night, I finally gave up past 1 AM in the 13th inning, and heard
later that they won in the fourth.  On Tuesday, when it took 6
hours for them to win for the third time in a row, I was there for
almost the whole thing, except for the hour of the game that occurred
while I was in class.  Every pitch in the final two inning was
agony; the friends I was watching the game with paced the floor,
groaned painfully, and could barely look through their fingers to see
how each ball thrown had fared.  On Wednesday, we watched for what
was, in fact, hours, and again, the final two inning were an experiment
in masochism.  Brian, and my friend Mike, and a couple of other
New Englanders were just waiting for the Sox to screw it up again, as
they had so many times in the past.  Each bad pitch was met with
an exclamation like, “Oh, God, it’s starting.  They’re messing it
up.  Why is he in there?  We gotta take him out of the
game.  They’ve killed our hopes so many times, why is this
different.  Why did I even hope that it would happen this
year?”  Red Sox fans (Bostonians, even New Englanders) are not an
optimistic people.  I think that if you lived here for any length
of time, with the provinciality, the weather, and whatever else, the
sunny elements of any person’s personality would be quickly burnished

But then they did it. 
Silence.  Then screams of joy.  We had defeated the “Evil Empire” in the House
that Ruth Built, and we’d done what no other baseball team had ever done
before.  From 0-3 to 4-3, and the first time to the Series in 18 years.  We
poured out of the house where we were watching the game, and headed into Harvard
Square.  Passing through Harvard Yard, we saw the jubilation.  The John Harvard
statue dressed in Red Sox gear, the Harvard University band playing, Hundreds of
students bouncing up and down and yelling as loud as they could.  We passed
quickly into the square, and there, all traffic had been stopped.  Easily over a
thousand people thronged all over th square, covering the pedestrian zones, the
roads, the storefronts, basically any surface upon which one could stand.  The
band moved out and began to play even more loudly.  Cheers started: “Let’s go,
Red Sox!”, “Yankees Suck!”, “Here we go, Red Sox!”  We stayed for at least half
an hour, until about 1 AM, and the crowd never

We got to sleep for two days.  Then,
the series started, and all of Red Sox Nation went back to very late nights,
sitting on the edge of chairs, and waiting.  We drew blood from our knuckles as
we chewed upon them, and we kept waiting for them to mess it up.  Only on the
third night did people begin to think that it might happen.  Even on the fourth
night, most of Red Sox Nation kept waiting for a shoe to drop somewhere.  And
then it didn’t.  And New England exhaled after holding its breath for 86

The last three days have been a whirl of
Red Sox Madness.  People still haven’t slept.  The victory parade was today, and
over three million people lined up on the parade route today, standing in the
coolness and the drizzle for up to four hours to watch the team and the
oldtimers still alive from previous attempts at the title ride by in Duck Boats.
(There are tours that you can take of Boston in Duck Boats, amphibious personnel
carriers from military surplus that have been made into tour vehicles that drive
the streets and then take a quick spin in the Charles River.)  The parade wound
all through downtown, and then it took a couple of laps along the river basin,
staying close into the Boston and Cambridge

Crazy stuff has been happening as a result
of this.  One local couple had originally taken their wedding vows years ago,
promising to remain together “until death do you part or the Red Sox win the
series.”  They renewed their vows this week.  Grown men were moved to tears, as
they recalled that their fathers and grandfathers had waited for this event for
much of their lives.  The Boston Globe put out its edition on Thursday with the
largest headline I’ve ever seen (YES!!! in four-inch letters) and calling it the
“Victory edition.”  Sox retrospectives have been going on TV much of the latter
portion of the week.  Everywhere I go, I hear snatchets of people talking —
police officers, construction workers, Harvard profs, bank tellers, merchants,
homeless guys — talking about what many of them regard as perhaps the most
spectacular event of their lives.  Perhaps most surprisingly, Bostonians have
been remarkably cheerful on the streets, in trains, and in stores.  (This is
highly unusual, especially as we’re moving deeper into autumn.)  They’re not
even thinking about next season and what it means to no longer be the perpetual
losers of major league baseball (a role that seems left to the Cubs now. 
Incidentally, the Cubs are apparently SO cursed that even having ex-Cubs on your
team means that you will lose.  In both of the last two series, the team with
the most ex-Cubs lost — New York had 5, St. Louis 3, and Boston

This city is sports-crazy, but this last week
has been more than I can really describe adequately.

Posted in Day2Day on 30 October 2004 at 7:35 pm by Nate