Sox-related Intergenerational Trauma

GoJeff!

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My middle guy, age 11, has been pretty into these playoffs. He also plays a bit of MLB The Show, so he knows at least a smattering of historical baseball figures.

On the off day, he had questions about the Red Sox and their storied history. I was all too pleased to expound on the subject, from Babe Ruth's pitching (actually, that's where it started, off an Otani question), through the 86 year drought and the tremendous, cathartic year of 2004. We watched a decent amount of the 2004 ALCS, (which by the way looks like it was filmed in Babe's Ruth's era, holy shit does pre-HD suck), then some 2007 and 2013 for good measure.

Where I got confused was dealing with earlier stuff. At first I was going to show him the 1986 WS, but then I decided I really didn't want to watch it. On top of that, I wasn't sure I wanted him to watch it, even if it would likely have little traumatic effect.

So that's my question. How do you handle curse-era Red Sox stuff with your kids? Is it worth going through so they understand the meaning of 2004, or is it just a tired, negative narrative that they are lucky to have missed?
 

54thMA

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My middle guy, age 11, has been pretty into these playoffs. He also plays a bit of MLB The Show, so he knows at least a smattering of historical baseball figures.

On the off day, he had questions about the Red Sox and their storied history. I was all too pleased to expound on the subject, from Babe Ruth's pitching (actually, that's where it started, off an Otani question), through the 86 year drought and the tremendous, cathartic year of 2004. We watched a decent amount of the 2004 ALCS, (which by the way looks like it was filmed in Babe's Ruth's era, holy shit does pre-HD suck), then some 2007 and 2013 for good measure.

Where I got confused was dealing with earlier stuff. At first I was going to show him the 1986 WS, but then I decided I really didn't want to watch it. On top of that, I wasn't sure I wanted him to watch it, even if it would likely have little traumatic effect.

So that's my question. How do you handle curse-era Red Sox stuff with your kids? Is it worth going through so they understand the meaning of 2004, or is it just a tired, negative narrative that they are lucky to have missed?
I always think of the one person from that HBO special "The curse of the Bambino" who woke his kid up during game 6 of the 1986 in the last inning so he could witness the RS winning a WS.................................oh boy.

That poor kid.

Don't do it to your kids, no need to show them all the failures, just let them enjoy all the post 2004 success.
 

Minneapolis Millers

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History is important. And overcoming failure is especially important. Don't dwell on all the gory details, but you gotta give kids the context. Start with: never won it with Ted. You can talk about '46 and the Boudreau shift, because that's topical. '49? Ugh (but he could read Halberstam's book, eventually). Fast forward to '67, because it was the franchise's reemergence (and NY was dying - bonus!). Yaz. First African-American stars (your decision to go down that road). Even had a great pitcher! Show him this: View: https://www.amazon.com/Impossible-Forget-Story-Boston-Red/dp/B000PC1PAM

But another 7 game WS loss, to a great team and franchise. Skip over some of the early 70s crap to '75. Gold dust twins. El Tiante. Fisk. Rooster. Captain Carl. Everything looked possible as we knocked off the 3x defending World Champion A's and took it to the more experienced Big Red Machine before losing in a 7 game classic. But then...

'78. '86. '88 and '90 futility against the A's. So? Ultimately deciding we need an ace and trading for Pedro. Signing Manny. '99 playoffs high and low. '03 defeat to NY, again. And again, the response, trading for Schilling and signing Foulke. Then '04 - with all the detail! And subsequent bliss...
 
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drbretto

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I don't have kids, but I was one in 1986. I think the only way to pass on the 1986 trauma is to be under the effects of that trauma yourself. If you're over it, it's just history. If you're still mad about it, then maybe let Ken Burns explain it instead.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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My middle guy, age 11, has been pretty into these playoffs. He also plays a bit of MLB The Show, so he knows at least a smattering of historical baseball figures.

On the off day, he had questions about the Red Sox and their storied history. I was all too pleased to expound on the subject, from Babe Ruth's pitching (actually, that's where it started, off an Otani question), through the 86 year drought and the tremendous, cathartic year of 2004. We watched a decent amount of the 2004 ALCS, (which by the way looks like it was filmed in Babe's Ruth's era, holy shit does pre-HD suck), then some 2007 and 2013 for good measure.

Where I got confused was dealing with earlier stuff. At first I was going to show him the 1986 WS, but then I decided I really didn't want to watch it. On top of that, I wasn't sure I wanted him to watch it, even if it would likely have little traumatic effect.

So that's my question. How do you handle curse-era Red Sox stuff with your kids? Is it worth going through so they understand the meaning of 2004, or is it just a tired, negative narrative that they are lucky to have missed?
Disclaimer up front, I don't have kids.

Why not start with the positives of the pre-2004 franchise? Ted Williams. Yaz. The Impossible Dream team. Fisk's HR. Clemens' 20K. Hendu's HR. Pedro. Obviously some/most of that stuff didn't result in a happy ending championship-wise, but that can be downplayed in a historical context. I mean a lot of that is stuff that brought people in on the Red Sox and kept them in despite the disappointments.
 

wiffleballhero

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I made my daughters watch 'Faith Rewarded: the story of the 2004 BRS.' It helped them sort of understand why I am such a psycho, although after all the eye rolling I think they still find it ridiculous that a grow man, nearly 50, hoots when some guys wearing what look like pajamas do allegedly awesome stuff.
 

Cesar Crespo

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I don't have kids, but I was one in 1986. I think the only way to pass on the 1986 trauma is to be under the effects of that trauma yourself. If you're over it, it's just history. If you're still mad about it, then maybe let Ken Burns explain it instead.
I had one of those Talking Baseball players and one of the baseball cards was the 86 world series.

edit: Sports Talk player with Baseball Talk Cards.
 

8slim

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My kids are 18 and 14, which means they're too young to have lived through any of the Curse era (which is kinda crazy now that I think about it). However, many years ago I indoctrinated them with the 'Four Days in October' 30 for 30, and the 2004 World Series DVD. So they're both fluent in why that title was so remarkable and special. I also had a couple of Sox-related children's books when they were very young that taught them the history of the franchise.

I don't think you can really traumatize kids born post-2004 with past Sox failures -- they've known a lot of success so that stuff just doesn't land the same as if you experienced it in real time. But anyone who loves a team should learn its history.
 

Cesar Crespo

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I don't really remember much pre 85, so my Sox trauma was 19 years. Not all that long. My dad wasn't much of a baseball fan but was adamant any team from New England sucked and couldn't win a title. My grandfather was a diehard Sox fan and never got to see them win in his 71 years. He definitely had the trauma. I don't think I ever did, and if I did, it was gone after 2004.
 

TapeAndPosts

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I think the only way to pass on the 1986 trauma is to be under the effects of that trauma yourself. If you're over it, it's just history.
I agree with this. Kids learn all the time that things in the world used to be worse, and have gotten better, in one way or another. They don't lose sleep over old traumas. The pre-2004 Sox must at this point just seem like the set-up in the early chapters of the story, the drama before the big triumph at the end.
 

loshjott

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My 3 kids did not come along until I moved out of New England. They became Sox fans by osmosis and my oldest (a new father himself!) is old enough to remember 2003 and 4. Then the Nats came along in 2005 and they all became Nats fans. They thought trauma was losing the NLDS 4 times in 6 years in painful ways. But then their trauma ended in 2019!

In short, I got nothing.
 

Mystic Merlin

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My kids are 18 and 14, which means they're too young to have lived through any of the Curse era (which is kinda crazy now that I think about it). However, many years ago I indoctrinated them with the 'Four Days in October' 30 for 30, and the 2004 World Series DVD. So they're both fluent in why that title was so remarkable and special. I also had a couple of Sox-related children's books when they were very young that taught them the history of the franchise.

I don't think you can really traumatize kids born post-2004 with past Sox failures -- they've known a lot of success so that stuff just doesn't land the same as if you experienced it in real time. But anyone who loves a team should learn its history.
Anything pre-04 will not traumatize them. If anything, I’ve found that younger fans have the luxury of engaging in a sort of detached fascination with pre-04 Sox history because they didn’t experience it and they’ve instead seen lots of WS titles, some of which - in a shocking role reversal - saw the Sox ripping out the hearts of OTHER teams. The kid born in 2005 is not gonna be fearful of the Yankees, let me put it that way.
 

Jim Ed Rice in HOF

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I don't think you can really traumatize kids born post-2004 with past Sox failures -- they've known a lot of success so that stuff just doesn't land the same as if you experienced it in real time. But anyone who loves a team should learn its history.
Exactly. Explaining those pre-2004 years, the pain and suffering, the near misses are the equivalent of teaching them about WWII, it's all abstract to them. My son is 23 and has no memory of when the Sox took years off his father's life but he most definitely has heard my oral history of '78, '86 and '03 and also the overall history of the team.
 

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I made my daughters watch 'Faith Rewarded: the story of the 2004 BRS.' It helped them sort of understand why I am such a psycho, although after all the eye rolling I think they still find it ridiculous that a grow man, nearly 50, hoots when some guys wearing what look like pajamas do allegedly awesome stuff.
That's ridiculous. Pajamas don't have belts.
 

The Talented Allen Ripley

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Complicity.

What was my father thinking to himself as I sat hunched over in my bed, my face buried in the crook of my arm, failing miserably at not crying?
I imagined I could hear his internal voice: "I did this to him." Like if he had been a reformed alcoholic who watched me take one drink too many and careen into an endtable, lamp flying, stumbling incoherently. "That flawed gene, that came from me," he may have been thinking. "This is all my fault." Years had slipped by where it had seemed there would be no repercussions, no piper to pay. Maybe the bullet had been dodged. But no, no. Not on this night.

October 27, 1986. The Red Sox had just lost Game 7 to the Mets, my first real dance with the fickle mistress of postseason baseball (I was 15). I had made it through the aftermath of the infamous Game 6; angry as hell, of course, but with jaw set and focusing on the fact that there was still one more game to play. So what the hell was happening now?

I had stepped across that Sox fan threshold and finally understood what it meant to live and die for this team. And there I was, crying, and I couldn’t control it and it wasn’t fair and I didn’t know why I had to feel this way at all. I had held it together in the immediate wake of the final out, just morosely slinking off to bed, but once the darkness settled in and the reality of days without any more baseball and the tortured joke of how it all went down caught up to me, it happened. I cried. Like each breath was being torn out of my lungs. I was fifteen, for Christ’s sake, but I still couldn’t help it.

And my father came in, and I wouldn’t look at him, I kept my face smashed into my arm as if this would somehow deny the reality of what was happening, and I think part of him had to be wishing he never nurtured my love for the Sox in the first place, never took me to games when I was very young, never sat and talked baseball with me, as if all of this could have been avoided if I just never cared about it to begin with. Complicity.

His words were pragmatic and heartfelt. There would be next year, he assured. He was careful to point out that my grandfather, his father, had followed the Sox for his entire life without seeing them win a World Series (Poppy passed away in 1983), and we had to appreciate what was given us.

But it didn’t help, not at the time. And despite my grief over this love for a team that my father had passed down to me, despite his own role and accountability in what I was feeling at the time, I’d like to think he was proud. Because I cared that much. Cared too much, in fact, although that was really an impossibility, when you think about it. You can never care too much about baseball.

Jump-cut to 18 years later. Scott Rolen had just flied out to right field, making the first out in the bottom of the ninth. I told my wife to go get our five-month old son out of his crib and bring him down for this.

“Can’t you wait until there’s at least two outs?” she asked.

“Edmonds might hit into a double play.” Pujols was on first.

She went to go get him.

There were maybe sixteen people in a living room that was designed to seat six. Kitchen chairs had been brought in, people were sitting on the arms of couches. I had driven two hours from my home in Maine to watch Game 4 of the 2004 World Series at my sister’s house in Massachusetts, weeknight be damned. My wife didn’t quite understand why, just as she didn’t understand what was to be gained from waking an infant to witness a moment he wouldn’t possibly ever remember. But I had to watch the game with my dad. I had to be with my dad. And my son had to be there, too.

I sat on the floor at my father’s feet. He had the corner of one of the couches. We were faking being at ease, but not overly so: even false hubris would smack of the preconceived notion of celebration, therefore taunting the baseball gods.

Back in the top of the third, when Nixon got to a 3-0 count with the bases loaded, we both simultaneously muttered, “I bet he’s got the green light on this pitch.” And indeed he swung and connected, an arcing shot that missed being a homer by a few feet, doubling off the top of the wall and scoring Ortiz and Varitek in the process. And the game progressed to its preordained conclusion, but you still had to wait for it to get there. And in waiting, you started to think of all the ways that things could go wrong, because we were Sox fans. But then it gradually became clear that none of these bad things were going to happen, and the Sox were indeed going to win the World Series, but you had to wait that interminable moment or two until victory actually arrived. Because baseball does not run on a clock. You had to get the outs.

Such anticipation regarding the Sox was audacious, considering their calamitous postseason history, but then again, the Cardinals were fucking cooked. Absolutely dead, and it seeped out of their pores the entire game. We could smell the stink of it in Hopedale, halfway across the country.

So in the bottom of the ninth my wife stood in the living room cradling my stirring son, and once Edmonds struck out, I shifted from my sitting position to a kneeling crouch. I threw a glancing look back at my dad, wondering what was passing through his mind, and saw that while his face was one of guarded calmness, he was grinding his palms together with such force that the veins on the backs of his hands stood out. And my eyes flitted back to the TV, intently watching Foulke face Renteria, and as soon as the hopper back to the mound was stabbed, the room erupted. Me leaping out of my crouch and instinctively grabbing my father, burying my face in his shoulder as I once buried it in my own arm on another October night long ago, crying just as I did then but for entirely different reasons, a long journey that we had taken together finally having come to fruition.

I held him for a lot longer than I care to admit. The embrace had its origins in baseball, but it became an opportunity to silently thank him for everything he’d ever done for me, to simply show him how glad I was that he was my father. He who had handed down to me this wonderful gift, wrapped in horsehide and red stitches.

When I finally let go of him, my wife put my bleary-eyed son in my arms. He was not crying. No, his face bore the serene look of the starsailor gone through the other side of a black hole, beholding a new universe, one where it just so happened that the words Dent, Buckner, and Boone held no weight, nor would they ever. And I gently brought his forehead to my dampened cheeks, baptizing him into this strange and euphoric unknown.
 
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8slim

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Anything pre-04 will not traumatize them. If anything, I’ve found that younger fans have the luxury of engaging in a sort of detached fascination with pre-04 Sox history because they didn’t experience it and they’ve instead seen lots of WS titles, some of which - in a shocking role reversal - saw the Sox ripping out the hearts of OTHER teams. The kid born in 2005 is not gonna be fearful of the Yankees, let me put it that way.
Its been... weird... raising my kids as New England sports fans, because their experience has been so different than mine. I grew up thinking that our teams, save for the Celtics, simply don't win titles. We might be good, but something will happen, that's just the way it is. Hell, that feeling seeped into my personal life in a lot of ways. My kids have seen multiple titles across sports, and "failure" means making a conference final or championship game, but losing. They believe we will win, and are stunned when it doesn't happen. Honestly, I'm jealous.
 

djbayko

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We watched a decent amount of the 2004 ALCS, (which by the way looks like it was filmed in Babe's Ruth's era, holy shit does pre-HD suck)
What's weird about this is I remember thinking that TV quality was just fine back then. Some day soon our current form of TV will look like crap too.

I don't see how it's possible for your kids to experience the trauma of past sporting events. You have to live through it, experience the unknown future unfolding and becoming reality, to feel it. To them, it's just interesting history. Bucky Dent never evoked a visceral reaction in me. It was just something that I learned about.
 

loshjott

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I've been doing some home renovations and had to move some bookcases around last week, including my shelf of tomes bought in the "I need everything I can find" frenzy post-2004 series. I pulled out "Win It For..." and read a whole bunch of those testimonials again for the first time in maybe a decade or more. Still moving, no doubt.
 

ookami7m

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My oldest (14) daughter is old enough to remember 13 - where I would leave post it notes on the corner of her bed with the scores after she went to sleep - and obviously 2018. She's a pretty investigative kid though so she's asked about 2003-4. Wakefield was one of my favorite players and the first jersey she got (christmas gift for both of us matching road greys). So we talked about the end of 03 and why it made 04 so much better. She's got the strategy enough to understand that leaving Buckner in in 86 was a bad idea but also that there was still a whole other game to play. She nods and understands when I talk about the feeling of being cursed.

But she doesn't understand the dread feeling when the Sox play the MFY (an acronym she just realized what it stood for) to this day. She doesn't get the weird superstitions that I did as a kid that she never had to worry about. I don't think any kid that wasn't old enough to live through those years can really get it in the way that I (born in 1980) would get from Pesky's double clutch or Bucky Dent. Like I know those were bad, but I don't have the same animosity to Dent that I have to even Brent Gardner.
 

8slim

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I should have added... I took my 14 year old son to a game this past June, and we went to the team store across from Fenway before the game. He wanted a new jersey, and after perusing the vast collection there he picked out... a Varitek jersey. I asked him why Varitek, he retired a decade ago. My son's answer was that he wanted the jersey of the guy who punched A-Rod in the face.

So yeah, it's possible to teach your kid's about Sox history without it being traumatic. ;)
 

tims4wins

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I should have added... I took my 14 year old son to a game this past June, and we went to the team store across from Fenway before the game. He wanted a new jersey, and after perusing the vast collection there he picked out... a Varitek jersey. I asked him why Varitek, he retired a decade ago. My son's answer was that he wanted the jersey of the guy who punched A-Rod in the face.

So yeah, it's possible to teach your kid's about Sox history without it being traumatic. ;)
Amazing
 

reggiecleveland

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Not sure you can get kids to attach to anything. But, they can appreciate history.
The ESPN coverage of the regular season and wildcard game where Bucky Dent apparently was fresh in everyone's mind, while Dave Roberts was just the Dodgers' manager was enough for my son. He said, 'If this is what it is like when the Sox have beaten them the last two times, what was it like before?"
 

bankshot1

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Re the pre-curse history, there's a lot of interesting baseball stuff associated with the '67, '75 and '86 WS losses, in particular the great teams and players the Sox had to play in those years. I can't believe telling him about Gibson and that great Cards team or Yaz heroics in '67 (from Day 1 of the season to the last day) or the exploits of the Gold Dust twins in '75 and the classic 7-gamer against Big Red Machine would do serious lasting damage.

I think you could weave an interesting narrative for an inquisitive 11 YO. Although the more traumatic years ('78, '86 '03) could be put off until he graduates college. :)
 

GoJeff!

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Good stuff here. Thanks all.

As I think about my own feelings, there is a difference between 1986 and everything else.

2003 was actually a worse loss for me, but complete redemption in 2004 makes it part of a nice narrative. I think I can easily delve into that one. I've already discussed 1975, and will have no problem with 78 or 67.

1986, particularly the Buckner play, feels more like a slur, a little pathetic moment that every broadcaster used as a quick narrative lead in for so many years. I think that's what initially set me off, not so much 86 itself, but seeing that little clip reappear in 88, 90, 95, 98, 99, 03, 04, and hating to have to watch it every time.
 

Wolong51

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I don’t have any kids but was definitely on the receiving end of the Red Sox inter generational trauma.
My late father started saying the rosary for the Red Sox in 1936.
He would say “The Yankees ruined my childhood, my adolescence, my adulthood, … etc.”.
I think for him, the Yankees losing might have been a bigger thrill than the Red Sox winning.
In 2004, his reaction was that Rick Blaine actually got on the plane at the end of Casablanca. The ending we all knew was preordained got changed.
I’d be interested to hear about other fathers born in the late 1920s and how they survived the era from Pesky holding the ball through Aaron Boone.
 

terrynever

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The post-2003 Red Sox have ruined my senior years. The other night, I couldn’t even watch the ALCS. Too much trauma, too many grand slams. Too much Red Sox. I thought I could root for them against the Cheatin’ Astros but I was wrong.

Do 17 years and just one Yankee WS title qualify for RS PTSD treatment? I don’t have much time left. We don’t even have a name for our curse yet.
 

RobertS975

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Just sit the kids down to watch Fever Pitch... pretty much sums it up! Historical, but entertaining, also explains some of the emotions.
 

Norm Siebern

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Origin stories are an important part of a Super Hero's persona. To fully understand the current Red Sox and the claim they have on you, the region, and on inter-generations of fans, your son should know their origin story. The good news is that we already know the story has a happy ending.
 

nolasoxfan

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I should have added... I took my 14 year old son to a game this past June, and we went to the team store across from Fenway before the game. He wanted a new jersey, and after perusing the vast collection there he picked out... a Varitek jersey. I asked him why Varitek, he retired a decade ago. My son's answer was that he wanted the jersey of the guy who punched A-Rod in the face.

So yeah, it's possible to teach your kid's about Sox history without it being traumatic. ;)
Your kid is a keeper.
 

patinorange

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I'm old enough to remember 67, 75, 78 in pretty graphic detail. I had the defense mechanism of knowing they couldn't and wouldn't do it. Most Red Sox fans had this defense mechanism built in.
But I will never forget or get over 1986, simply because I let my guard down. For about a minute and a half I really thought they were going to win it all. I was mad at myself and was literally sick
about my momentary weakness. I never gave winning game seven a second thought. It was over.

I remember listening on the radio while taking a walk in 2003, just wondering which SOB was going to crack Wake's knuckleball.
I couldn't watch it on TV. The 2004 series was easy, they were going to be swept. Painless.

Then it all changed.

My kids are Sox fans through osmosis even though they have spent their lives in Southern California. They are amused by my passion. They are interested in baseball, but only in a casual way. "How are the Sox doing Dad"
They want the Sox to win, but I suspect only because it makes Dad happy.

2004 changed everything of course, but I still can't watch my VHS of game 6. I click off or mute any time it comes on. They can never understand. You had to live through it. I tell myself that all that pain makes winning sweeter, but damn. Two outs and no one on.

The documentary mentioned in earlier posts, "Faith Rewarded" was good. My wife (from SoCal) watched and started to understand a bit what all the fuss is about.

Times are good now for us Red Sox fans.
 

Niastri

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I always think of the one person from that HBO special "The curse of the Bambino" who woke his kid up during game 6 of the 1986 in the last inning so he could witness the RS winning a WS.................................oh boy.

That poor kid.

Don't do it to your kids, no need to show them all the failures, just let them enjoy all the post 2004 success.
I absolutely disagree! Do we really want to raise a generation of kids entitled like MFY fans?

Fuck that. My kids will know all about Dent and Buckner and Fisk and Yas and all of it.

They won't feel it the same way, but they'll know, and thus understand their Dad's passion a little better.
 
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Beale13

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Someone mentioned Ken Burns in a general sense, but if you haven't done so already you can't go wrong showing the 1975 and 1986 sections of his epic baseball doc. The whole thing is magnificent, but those two sections are particularly fantastic. Thrilling and poignant in equal measure, somehow.
 

Minneapolis Millers

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I'm old enough to remember 67, 75, 78 in pretty graphic detail. I had the defense mechanism of knowing they couldn't and wouldn't do it. Most Red Sox fans had this defense mechanism built in.
But I will never forget or get over 1986, simply because I let my guard down. For about a minute and a half I really thought they were going to win it all. I was mad at myself and was literally sick
about my momentary weakness. I never gave winning game seven a second thought. It was over.

I remember listening on the radio while taking a walk in 2003, just wondering which SOB was going to crack Wake's knuckleball.
I couldn't watch it on TV. The 2004 series was easy, they were going to be swept. Painless.

Then it all changed.

My kids are Sox fans through osmosis even though they have spent their lives in Southern California. They are amused by my passion. They are interested in baseball, but only in a casual way. "How are the Sox doing Dad"
They want the Sox to win, but I suspect only because it makes Dad happy.

2004 changed everything of course, but I still can't watch my VHS of game 6. I click off or mute any time it comes on. They can never understand. You had to live through it. I tell myself that all that pain makes winning sweeter, but damn. Two outs and no one on.

The documentary mentioned in earlier posts, "Faith Rewarded" was good. My wife (from SoCal) watched and started to understand a bit what all the fuss is about.

Times are good now for us Red Sox fans.
Other than being too young in '67 to remember that team, this is basically my life as well! I still vividly recall storming out of my college apartment after game 6. My girlfriend at the time (now my wife - she knew what she was getting into) ran out after me, confused. She honestly thought I didn't realize that there was still another game to play, that that fact would console and calm me down. I just stared through her. "Don't you understand what we just saw?!" "They're not going to win game 7. It's over!!"

2003 was another confirming nail in the coffin, another particularly bad (but not surprising) ending to another year in a life sentence. But then 2004.

My daughter's old enough to remember 2004. I still have the little sign she made during the World Series that says "Bye bye birdies" with a picture of a sad cardinal. My son was too young, but he was into it by 07. They root for the Sox. But they also root for the Twins and are at the point where they'd prefer to see the Twins win it (or, you know, maybe even just one playoff game, but that's another matter). But we've been texting throughout these playoffs.

Fun times now...
 

Papo The Snow Tiger

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SoSH Member
Aug 18, 2010
961
Connecticut
My 15 year old daughter has REALLY gotten into the Red Sox and baseball in general the past few years, as in having the MLB and ESPN apps on her phone and initiating OPS and WHIP conversations with me. We watch most Red Sox games together, and that was the case for Game 4 of the 2018 ALDS against the MFY. Having witnessed and having vivid memories of Bucky Dent and Bill Buckner I was getting visibly anxious as the MFY started getting guys on against Craig Kimbrel. She kind of looked at me with mild bewilderment and basically told me to chill, the Sox will get out of it. After the game she asked me why my palms were sweaty and I explained to her how Sox fans of my generation always expected the worst, and then realized that any Sox fan born around circa 1995 or later expect a positive outcome. She knows about '78 and '86, but that never bothered her because it happened long before she was born, just like Johnny Pesky allegedly holding the ball in '46 never caused me any angst.

For the record, I wanted to get my year old daughter out of the crib in '07 and wake her up just long enough so she could see a Red Sox World Series win, but my wife told me that was a stupid idea in no uncertain terms. I did wake her up in '13 when she was seven to see the Sox beat the Cardinals. She was a little cranky at first, but she had a big smile and knew what was going on when Koji struck out Matt Carpenter to end it, and she watched every pitch of the '18 series.
 

TFisNEXT

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Jul 21, 2005
11,639
I remember 1986 happening but I was a little too young to be overly emotionally attached/scarred in the same way but I still felt like someone had stolen my candy. 1995, 1998, and 1999 were all annoying postseason losses but they weren't gut-wrenching nightmarish storylines. I had mostly become accustomed to the Red Sox starting off hot and always letting the division slip away to the MFY and the 1918 chants.

2003 was my big one. Despite the instant redemption in 2004, the 2003 nightmare still makes me angry. It makes me angry because it should have been Pedro's 2nd finest moment (behind 1999 game 5 ALDS) and Grady ruined it. It makes me angry because Mike Timlin was fucking unhittable in the '03 playoffs throwing 95mph sinkers on the black and Grady let him rot in the 'pen while it slipped away. Anyways, I could go on and on, but that was traumatizing.

It can sometimes be hard to explain to younger fans. Even to the ones who remember 2003, but weren't fans long enough before that to fully understand the 1918 stigma and constantly losing big games and division leads.
 

54thMA

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Aug 15, 2012
8,826
Westwood MA
I absolutely disagree! Do we really want to raise a generation of kids entitled like MFY fans?

Fuck that. My kids will know all about Dent and Buckner and Fisk and Yas and all of it.

They won't feel it the same way, but they'll know, and thus understand their Dad's passion a little better.
The pre 2004 Red Sox scarred enough people, my grandfather died 6 months after the 1975 WS and my uncle died 3 months after the 2003 ALCS.

That's at least two people they bumped off.

And Yankees fans have no business being entitled, they've won one WS in the last 21 years.

Wow, it feels fucking tremendous to be able to write that.
 

Don Buddin's GS

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SoSH Member
In September of 2004, my brother, sister and I were visiting my elderly Dad and his third wife at their place in Manchester, VT. We were all watching the Sox game and she took ill and needed to go to the hospital. She insisted on waiting until the outcome was decided, saying “They could still lose this game, Ed!” to my Dad. They won and my brother and I carried her out of the house on a chair and finagled her into my sister’s truck. I never saw her alive again.

Miss you Lil. Miss you Pop. Go Sox!
 

Bleedred

Member
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Feb 21, 2001
8,518
Boston, MA
Complicity.

What was my father thinking to himself as I sat hunched over in my bed, my face buried in the crook of my arm, failing miserably at not crying?
I imagined I could hear his internal voice: "I did this to him." Like if he had been a reformed alcoholic who watched me take one drink too many and careen into an endtable, lamp flying, stumbling incoherently. "That flawed gene, that came from me," he may have been thinking. "This is all my fault." Years had slipped by where it had seemed there would be no repercussions, no piper to pay. Maybe the bullet had been dodged. But no, no. Not on this night.

October 27, 1986. The Red Sox had just lost Game 7 to the Mets, my first real dance with the fickle mistress of postseason baseball (I was 15). I had made it through the aftermath of the infamous Game 6; angry as hell, of course, but with jaw set and focusing on the fact that there was still one more game to play. So what the hell was happening now?

I had stepped across that Sox fan threshold and finally understood what it meant to live and die for this team. And there I was, crying, and I couldn’t control it and it wasn’t fair and I didn’t know why I had to feel this way at all. I had held it together in the immediate wake of the final out, just morosely slinking off to bed, but once the darkness settled in and the reality of days without any more baseball and the tortured joke of how it all went down caught up to me, it happened. I cried. Like each breath was being torn out of my lungs. I was fifteen, for Christ’s sake, but I still couldn’t help it.

And my father came in, and I wouldn’t look at him, I kept my face smashed into my arm as if this would somehow deny the reality of what was happening, and I think part of him had to be wishing he never nurtured my love for the Sox in the first place, never took me to games when I was very young, never sat and talked baseball with me, as if all of this could have been avoided if I just never cared about it to begin with. Complicity.

His words were pragmatic and heartfelt. There would be next year, he assured. He was careful to point out that my grandfather, his father, had followed the Sox for his entire life without seeing them win a World Series (Poppy passed away in 1983), and we had to appreciate what was given us.

But it didn’t help, not at the time. And despite my grief over this love for a team that my father had passed down to me, despite his own role and accountability in what I was feeling at the time, I’d like to think he was proud. Because I cared that much. Cared too much, in fact, although that was really an impossibility, when you think about it. You can never care too much about baseball.

Jump-cut to 18 years later. Scott Rolen had just flied out to right field, making the first out in the bottom of the ninth. I told my wife to go get our five-month old son out of his crib and bring him down for this.

“Can’t you wait until there’s at least two outs?” she asked.

“Edmonds might hit into a double play.” Pujols was on first.

She went to go get him.

There were maybe sixteen people in a living room that was designed to seat six. Kitchen chairs had been brought in, people were sitting on the arms of couches. I had driven two hours from my home in Maine to watch Game 4 of the 2004 World Series at my sister’s house in Massachusetts, weeknight be damned. My wife didn’t quite understand why, just as she didn’t understand what was to be gained from waking an infant to witness a moment he wouldn’t possibly ever remember. But I had to watch the game with my dad. I had to be with my dad. And my son had to be there, too.

I sat on the floor at my father’s feet. He had the corner of one of the couches. We were faking being at ease, but not overly so: even false hubris would smack of the preconceived notion of celebration, therefore taunting the baseball gods.

Back in the top of the third, when Nixon got to a 3-0 count with the bases loaded, we both simultaneously muttered, “I bet he’s got the green light on this pitch.” And indeed he swung and connected, an arcing shot that missed being a homer by a few feet, doubling off the top of the wall and scoring Ortiz and Varitek in the process. And the game progressed to its preordained conclusion, but you still had to wait for it to get there. And in waiting, you started to think of all the ways that things could go wrong, because we were Sox fans. But then it gradually became clear that none of these bad things were going to happen, and the Sox were indeed going to win the World Series, but you had to wait that interminable moment or two until victory actually arrived. Because baseball does not run on a clock. You had to get the outs.

Such anticipation regarding the Sox was audacious, considering their calamitous postseason history, but then again, the Cardinals were fucking cooked. Absolutely dead, and it seeped out of their pores the entire game. We could smell the stink of it in Hopedale, halfway across the country.

So in the bottom of the ninth my wife stood in the living room cradling my stirring son, and once Edmonds struck out, I shifted from my sitting position to a kneeling crouch. I threw a glancing look back at my dad, wondering what was passing through his mind, and saw that while his face was one of guarded calmness, he was grinding his palms together with such force that the veins on the backs of his hands stood out. And my eyes flitted back to the TV, intently watching Foulke face Renteria, and as soon as the hopper back to the mound was stabbed, the room erupted. Me leaping out of my crouch and instinctively grabbing my father, burying my face in his shoulder as I once buried it in my own arm on another October night long ago, crying just as I did then but for entirely different reasons, a long journey that we had taken together finally having come to fruition.

I held him for a lot longer than I care to admit. The embrace had its origins in baseball, but it became an opportunity to silently thank him for everything he’d ever done for me, to simply show him how glad I was that he was my father. He who had handed down to me this wonderful gift, wrapped in horsehide and red stitches.

When I finally let go of him, my wife put my bleary-eyed son in my arms. He was not crying. No, his face bore the serene look of the starsailor gone through the other side of a black hole, beholding a new universe, one where it just so happened that the words Dent, Buckner, and Boone held no weight, nor would they ever. And I gently brought his forehead to my dampened cheeks, baptizing him into this strange and euphoric unknown.
This is fantastic writing
 
Apr 23, 2010
13
Looking at the other end of the intergenerational spectrum, is there anyone here who actually remembers the Boston Braves? One of the rituals of summer for me was my grandfather taking me to the Jimmy Fund game which was an exhibition game between the Red Sox and Braves at Fenway. I also used to play catch with an older guy from my grandfather’s neighborhood who’d tell me that the Red Sox never had players as good as Spahn and Tommy Holmes. I wonder if there is anything special about a Braves - Red Sox World Series.
 

lexrageorge

Member
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Jul 31, 2007
13,552
Looking at the other end of the intergenerational spectrum, is there anyone here who actually remembers the Boston Braves? One of the rituals of summer for me was my grandfather taking me to the Jimmy Fund game which was an exhibition game between the Red Sox and Braves at Fenway. I also used to play catch with an older guy from my grandfather’s neighborhood who’d tell me that the Red Sox never had players as good as Spahn and Tommy Holmes. I wonder if there is anything special about a Braves - Red Sox World Series.
When interleague play started in the 1990's, former season ticket holders of the Boston Braves would occupy Section 33:

https://www.sbnation.com/2011/4/23/2128257/bostons-lost-cause

My father, an avid Red Sox fan, used to go to Boston Braves games when he was young, and did follow Milwaukee/Atlanta after they moved. He was hoping for the Boston v Boston World Series that never came to be in 1948 thanks to Denny Bleepin' Galehouse. It is for his memory that I am pulling for a Sox-Braves Series.
 

Niastri

Member
SoSH Member
The pre 2004 Red Sox scarred enough people, my grandfather died 6 months after the 1975 WS and my uncle died 3 months after the 2003 ALCS.

That's at least two people they bumped off.

And Yankees fans have no business being entitled, they've won one WS in the last 21 years.

Wow, it feels fucking tremendous to be able to write that.
I never said Yankee fans weren't delusional.
 

cantor44

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Dec 23, 2020
1,289
Chicago, IL
I think teaching about all of the abject suffering of Sox fans, the decades of bad luck for the team, will be good for your kids (old grandpa sermonizes on his suffering)! They'll realize that they are that much luckier! What an amazing story that finally - FINALLY - the Sox won after 86 years and so many near misses, after decades of dedicated and loving fans stood by them despite the frustrations. How the quest to win just ONE was a kind of cultural touchstone for an entire region. And that when they finally won, and had that first duck boat parade, millions lined the streets like we had just won WWIII, hugging strangers, singing, dancing, weeping. It makes the organization unique, just like their brilliant ballpark.

The day my daughter was born, in 2003, I held her on my chest, sitting in a chair in the hospital room, my wife now asleep in the bed next to me, watching the Sox playing the A's in the ALDS. The Sox lost the game on a suicide squeeze. I whispered to my daughter, "welcome to Red Sox nation." I figured the generational legacy would just keep on going. How wrong I was.
 

Pandarama

lurker
Aug 20, 2018
138
The day my daughter was born, in 2003, I held her on my chest, sitting in a chair in the hospital room, my wife now asleep in the bed next to me, watching the Sox playing the A's in the ALDS. The Sox lost the game on a suicide squeeze.
Except that there were two men out, so it was a bunt RBI single.
 

Leskanic's Thread

lost underscore
SoSH Member
Jul 16, 2005
1,662
Los Angeles
Looking at the other end of the intergenerational spectrum, is there anyone here who actually remembers the Boston Braves? One of the rituals of summer for me was my grandfather taking me to the Jimmy Fund game which was an exhibition game between the Red Sox and Braves at Fenway. I also used to play catch with an older guy from my grandfather’s neighborhood who’d tell me that the Red Sox never had players as good as Spahn and Tommy Holmes. I wonder if there is anything special about a Braves - Red Sox World Series.
When interleague play started in the 1990's, former season ticket holders of the Boston Braves would occupy Section 33:

https://www.sbnation.com/2011/4/23/2128257/bostons-lost-cause

My father, an avid Red Sox fan, used to go to Boston Braves games when he was young, and did follow Milwaukee/Atlanta after they moved. He was hoping for the Boston v Boston World Series that never came to be in 1948 thanks to Denny Bleepin' Galehouse. It is for his memory that I am pulling for a Sox-Braves Series.
My dad turned 15 right as the Braves started their first season in Milwaukee. It's family lore that he went with his parents to Chicago later that year and from a bus seat saw a similarly aged kid walking down the street wearing a familiar navy-and-red hat with an unfamiliar M on the front...and he tried to get off the bus in tears to deck him.

Like @lexrageorge's dad, mine has always lamented the Red Sox screwing up the chance for a Trolley Series in '48. After they left, he became a pure, dyed-in-the-wool Sox fan...though he didn't mind that getting cable with TBS in the 80s let him watch NL ball again. When inter-league play started, his rule was that the Sox could take all the games they want in Atlanta...but he would root for the Braves when they played in Fenway -- that meant the Braves were back in Boston. With the Sox making attempts at playoff runs (and hope springing eternal that a 75 years+ and counting drought would end) through the mid- to late-90s while Atlanta dominated the NL, my mom and I would needle him about whether that rule would hold firm in a World Series matchup. "Let's see who has home field advantage," he'd demur.

When the possibility looked borderline probably this year, I asked him again. And he said he would stick with the Red Sox -- the Braves have taken too long to come back and reclaim his heart. But given the situation being what it is, he will be pulling for them to take down the dreaded Astros...even after all those years away, he does still have a navy-and-red hat with the right letter on it.
 

canyoubelieveit

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Apr 8, 2006
7,643
I'm surprised no one mentioned this yet (or my apologies if I missed it), but Four Days in October is a pretty good way to introduce the Red Sox past to a newbie with instant gratification following the brief traumatic recap. I watched this with my daughter (who has no interest in baseball) when she was 12 and I feel like that definitely helped her to learn appreciate the backstory of the Sox (and therefore the emotional backstory of her Sox fan dad) in an effective way. And I watched it again with my 18 year old nephew (who is a huge Sox fan) and he gets it on another level now too.