Monday, April 5, 2010

Born and Bred Red Sox Red

I'm a homer through and through.

I love the Boston Red Sox more than I love anything in the world (with the exception of my wife, my five kids, and maybe my mom and dad).

I love the Red Sox so much I had their representation tattooed on my left bicep and on my right calf. My son also has his body emblazoned with the Red Sox "B.”

I bleed red, and I see the world through rose-colored glasses.

I have a Red Sox license plate, pool table lamp, and a closet full of Sox jerseys.

My dachshund’s name is Fenway, and my cat's name is Coco (after the since-departed Coco Crisp).I started following the Sox in 1971, at the age of 10. I was a late bloomer.

My first recollections of the team were watching George "The Boomer" Scott stretched to the ground at first base, seeing “Captain Carl” patrolling left field, and looking at Reggie Smith swing from both sides of the plate.

I made my sandwiches with Yaz Bread, drank from Red Sox jelly glasses, and still carry my lunch to work in a Red Sox metal lunch box.

My brother and I used to play baseball in the road in front of our house from 7 AM to 7 PM, seven days per week, rain or shine. We'd come inside at 7:05 p.m. to eat and watch the Sox.

When we played, we'd run to the side of the street as a car would cruise by every ten minutes or so. We'd shoot to see who would be the Sox. I'd cheat to win.

My Dad took my brother and me to our first game in 1973. We sat along the left-field line and saw Luis Tiant twist and turn his way to a 10-0 shutout vs. Cleveland. We also saw the first Major League game played by Rick Burleson and Dewey Evans.

I love the fact that Bob Montgomery was the last major leaguer to play without a helmet and that there is Morse code beneath the scoreboard in left field.

My favorite all-time Red Sox player is Bill "Spaceman" Lee. No one played with as much spirit as the Space Man. He and I have both been accused of "marching to the beat of a different drummer." We are both proud of this.

I think Lee could save baseball if he were named commissioner.

I would wear Schilling's Bloody Sock for life if I had the opportunity and once snuck down his driveway to try to get a peek at his house...don't bother trying.

I feel proud when one of the Sox players pulls his pants high to show the red socks, a la Terry Shumpert, and I think it is really awesome that Jason Varitek proudly wears the "C.”
Ted And Mickey

I was at the game when Steve "Psycho" Lyons pulled his pants down on second base and loved to buy peanuts from “George the Peanut Vendor” (Pea....nuts...Pistachio's..Get your Super Pretzels"). I have never laughed that hard.

I'd rather eat at Rem-Dawg's than anywhere else in Boston. I also hold a record that may never be broken by eating six sausages, peppers, and onions on a dare at opening day 1998.

I saw the Sox come back from 8-1 against Seattle as Mo Vaughn hit a walk-off grand slam in the ninth. I am not quite sure if I've gotten my voice back yet.

I was disappointed when they removed the Pee-Pee Troughs from the Men's room at Fenway. I understand why they did it, but was disappointing nevertheless.

One of the highlights of my life was to simply sit in Ted Williams's Red Bleacher seat some 502 feet from home plate deep in the bowels of the bleachers. Last year at Opening Day, my wife and I saw Ted Kennedy throw out the first pitch. Sort of a coincidence that two Teddy's would have such an impact in Boston. While living or dead.

My favorite numbers are 1,4,6,8,9,14, 27. Glad Pesky is included there. Glad Manny will never be.

I say I hate the Yankees, and I joke with my friends that I also have a Yankees "tat" in a place where the sun don't shine. Truly, I don't hate the Yankees. And yes, I'm jealous that they have won 27 times. Believe me, I'm reminded of it nearly every day.

I admire Derek Jeter and wish I had three of him on my team, regardless what sport I may be playing.

I love the fact that Dick "The Monster" Radatz dominated Mickey Mantle nearly every time he faced him. I've become friends with his daughter and thinks that is sooooo cool.

In April 2004, my son Corey and I saw the Sox play the Yankees in Fenway and then saw the two teams play in Yankee Stadium a week later. I had heart palpitations as I walked into the “House That Ruth Built.”

As the game was ending, a Yankee fan asked my son if he thought the Sox would win the Series that year. Corey's eyes grew to the size of softballs and he said, "Yes." The guy told Corey his Grandpa thought the same thing. We all laughed. We got the last laugh that October.

Last year, my wife Katie and I visited spring training in Florida and attended our first exhibition game. My heart beat at double time from South Carolina to Fort Myers. One of the reasons I married Katie is because she is nearly as passionate about the Sox as I am.

I don't have season tickets due to the insane waiting list, but am willing to cut off my left arm in exchange for a pair (yes, I'm a southpaw).

My favorite concerts to date are Jimmy Buffett, The Rolling Stones, and Bruce Springsteen—all at Fenway.

I don't ever want them to tear down my beloved mausoleum, but I don't have a solution for its aging. I tolerate the fact that my butt has gotten bigger and that the seats have not.

When I die, I ask that my wife and kids bring my ashes to the top of the Green Monster and let them float to the field during Sweet Caroline.

I'm not quite sure why I'm telling you all this except that it's Opening Day and I tend to get all mushy inside during this day every year...

Am I obsessed? No. I don't think so.

"Hey, honey. Can Fenway get a tattoo?"

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