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In The Zone . .Emotional Chaos . ..Number 9. . .September 11


Emotional Chaos
Weekly Column by Brian Codagnone

October 2, 2003


"Abandon all hope, ye who enter here!"
Sign above the entrance to Hades

As any diehard Red Sox fan can tell you, the above sign could just as easily decorate the turnstiles on Yawkey Way. There's something about being a Red Sox fan that not only speaks to the flinty New England spirit, in many ways it defines it. Every team has its ups and downs, good eras and bad. We've even had a few World Series appearances, in 1946, 67, 75 and 86. It's not that they lose, it's HOW they lose. The Red Sox lose in an epic way, a "bring them to the edge of victory and then kick them in the groin with a combat boot way". If anyone doubts this, just say "Bucky Dent" to a Red Sox fan and watch him cringe like a dog faced with a rolled up newspaper.

For anyone who consciously sets out to be a fan of the Olde Towne Team, we've prepared this primer, as much as a warning as anything else. There are certain things you'll need to know before you'll be allowed into the Fellowship of the Damned:


The Red Sox began in 1901. They played at the old Huntington Avenue Grounds before moving to Fenway Park, in Boston's Fenway neighborhood (in the era before naming rights, ballparks were named after their location or, more commonly, owners: Commiskey Park, Wrigley Field, The Polo Grounds, etc. I suppose if someone had thought of it, they could have called it "Carter's Liver Pills Ballpark" or "Swain's Panacea Field") Fenway park opened in April of 1912, but the story was pushed off the front page by the sinking of the Titanic. At least the unfortunates on the ill fated liner died quickly in the cold waters of the North Atlantic; the fans at Fenway have been dying by inches ever since.

The Sox won a few pennants and World Series championships in the early years. Their last World Series championship was in 1918. There are many reasons why we haven't tasted champagne since World War I, but most people choose to blame


But more on that later (under "The Legacy"). The twenties were a pretty boring time, mostly because many of the best players were traded to New York by Harry Frazee. There were a few bright spots in the 1930s, such as Lefty Grove, Jimmie Foxx and, most notably, the arrival of


Ted Williams was a larger than life character. Blessed with focus, determination, extraordinary eyesight, matinee idol looks and Marlboro Man individuality, he is the last major leaguer to hit .400. In a move that even the most jaded Hollywood hack would reject, he hit a home run in his last at bat, giving generations of writers and poets something to wax nostalgic about. He was a war hero, sportsman and, most recently, human popsicle (proof that now matter how good your genes are, some people shouldn't reproduce).

The fifties were a pretty boring time, too, but that was the way it was all over the country. President Eisenhower ("I Like Ike" to his friends), having just won a major war settled down to a decade of golf and naps, interrupted only by the Cold War and the occasional CIA overthrow of a banana republic. Ted lost more time to the Korean War, but added to his legend by crash landing a jet and flying combat with John Glenn. Local hero Harry Agganis played briefly but died too young, Jim Piersall went nuts and was played in the movie by premier psycho Tony Perkins (good angst, no field). The organization still didn't take off their white sheets, waiting until 1959 to integrate.

In 1960, Ted retired. He was replaced in the outfield by Carl Yastrzemski. Yaz, who would play 23 seasons in a Red Sox uniform was a superb athlete, Triple Crown Winner and a genuine, down to earth guy. Unfortunately, he had the charisma of a bowling ball. As Ted Williams was John Wayne and Ernest Hemingway rolled into one, Number 8 would never enjoy the popularity Number 9 did.

In 1967 Yaz lead the Sox to the Pennant. This feat was called "The Impossible Dream" after a song in the musical "Damn Yankees". Just kidding. It was "Cats". The played an exciting 7 game World Series against St. Louis, losing, of course, but making a good go of it.

They played in the World Series in 1975, once again going 7 games. The highlight was a home run by Carleton Fisk in game 6, known across New England as "The Shot That Delayed The Inevitable". They returned to the Series in 1986, but the less said about that the better. "Bill Buckner" will suffice. That was it for World Series appearances to date.






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©2003 Brian Codagnone
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Surf Our Site

Home ... Misfits . Rafferty .. . S1019 .. . Star Crossed....
. .
Ginger & Shadow. ..Writer's Block.. ..Cool Links . ..More Cool Links .
Oddities ..Link To Us... Guest Comics . Online Store..
In The Zone. ..Number 9. . .September 11