This was the year: It was suggested just a week ago, as we were watching the Red Sox beat the Yankees in game seven, that there was a reason why the curse was being lifted. As I have written, my Dad was an endearing conversationalist and capable of talking third grade bullies out of beating me up, without even knowing he was doing it. During that game, when the Sox were starting to look more and more like American League champions, it was decided that some time this month my Dad had met Babe Ruth, charmed him, and convinced him to lift the curse.
Almost everyone who grew up with this team is feeling — somewhere behind the euphoria — something like this. And they’re feeling a little sad that the people we bonded with over baseball are not here to share a late night phone call, a hug or a quick email on this of all nights. A little sad that it didn’t happen last year, or in 1999, or in 1986 or in 1978 or in 1975.
But it happened. And as much as I like to think they did it for my dad, I know they did it for so many more reasons.
They did it for all of us cynics who refused to believe in curses.
They did it for my best friend, who always gets tickets (including choice seats for games six and seven of this year’s World Series) and — no matter how mad his clients get — always calls me first.
(That same friend, incidentally, has refused to remove a Red Sox cap with my Dad’s initials on the back since the World Series started. I’m sure his coworkers — who have to deal with his unwashed hair — are glad it was a sweep).
They did it for the grade school friend that I watched countless Sox games with before he died in 1991.
They did it for the scalper who sold right field roof box tickets to me and my Dad on a Wednesday night in 1985 — a school night.
They did it for Ellis Burks, who was on the bench for most of this year but hit a game-winning, bottom-of-the-ninth grand slam during a game my Dad and I went to in 1993.
They did it for Yaz, Ted and Fred. They did it for Carlton Fisk, Jim Rice, Dwight Evans, and so many more of my childhood heroes.
They did it for Bill Buckner.
They did it without Roger.
They did it for that weird kid who grew up down the street. He used to play Wiffle ball by himself, assuming the personas and calling play-by-play of the above-mentioned Red Sox greats.
They did it for Frank’s grandfather Bump, and everyone else’s grandfather, too.
They did it for anyone who ever spent a summer in New England, with a Red Sox game on the radio as their only sound track.
They did it for anyone who has ever called Boston home.
They did it for friends you’ve never met, and friends you wish you still knew.
They did it despite the Yankees.
They did it for everyone who knew that this was about so much more than baseball, and they did it for everyone who wants to share this moment with someone who didn’t live to see it.
They did it.