And so there we were. Bill Buckner let the 1986 World Series roll right between his legs. Poor guy. People forget that he was injured and shouldn’t have been playing. But they never let him forget it. The most popular joke around Boston for months and years afterwards was “Did you hear Bill Buckner tried to kill himself? He jumped in front of a bus but it went between his legs.” Except it wasn’t a laughing matter. Red Sox fans were heartbroken. How dare they bring us thiiiiiis close and then let it go, we all thought. But most people couldn’t let it go when it came to Bill Buckner. Game 6 of the `1986 World Series was the last game of baseball he ever played. And it was the last time he was seen in public for a long long time. He went into hiding. Because of a combination of the death threats, and presumedly, the shame of letting down and entire community with one unfortunate roll of a sportsball.
But in that. moment, I realized a lot about life. Number one was, don’t rest your hopes and dreams and self worth in somebody else’s basket. And also, don’t knowingly hitch your wagon to a known loser. What good does that do? Some might say sports fandom is about loyalty. But that’s bullshit. Continuing to root for a losing team, when it comes to sports, is weakness. It’s a blind loyalty that you’re giving back to somebody who doesn’t care about you.
I get that someone wants to keep on hanging on to their city. But it’s n to the city you’re having on to. It’s some businessman. Who will fuck you over at any chance they get. Hence the rising prices of tickets d got dogs and parking and peanuts. And peanuts is exactly what they actually give back to you. Most team owners don’t care about the fan one bit. They care about their bottom line. I mean, REALLY care about winning. Winning is a lot harder than proftiing. Sure, they know that boasting winning records ups attendance. But they care more about signing long term lucrative TV rights deals. Or in the revenue sharing that participate in with the rest of league. They are about profits. Because sports is a business, and its built on the foundation of the guilt that fans have about having to root for their local home team.
Which brings me back to why I still don’t get it. Most of us have enough losers in our lives that we can’t just drop by changing a channel. They are not distant tycoon crooks… they are friends and family. People we cannot escape form. Or at least cant escape from as easily. Why do we knowingly give ourselves more.
After that 1986 World Series, I decided I was done loving the Red Sox. I quickly likened Red Sox fans to someone in an abusive relationship. And the Red Sox were the abusers. Time and time again we were let down, and bettered. The team kept promising, year after year, that things would get better. And we kept on believing them. It’s like they kept giving us a black eye on Saturday night and then Sunday they showed up with flowers.
Well you know what they say. Shame me once, fool on you. Shame me twice, fool on me. What foo you do when somebody’s been fooling you since 1918? You say enough’s enough and you pack your bags and move out. Which was hard, actually impossible, for me to do as a 13 year old. Physically. But mentally, I checked myself out. I stopped caring about the Red Sox, and I stopped going to games. I decided I was going to move to New York City when I grew up. And that I was going to become a Yankee Fan. That last part of the decision was two pronged. One, I realized I couldn’t become a Mets fan, because they were the ones, ultimately, that denied my Red Sox their World Series title. But secondly, and most importantly, the worst thing I could do to the rEd Sox would be to escape into the arms of their arch nemesis and century old division rivals, the New York Yankees.
And that’s exactly what I did. I fled the Boston area at the first chance I had, first to LA, as far away as I could literally get while remaining on the same continent. And then to New York City, ideologically the opposite of Boston. I was always taught as a child that Boston was so much better than NYC. That NYC was a den of sin and filth. And the home of the Rat Race. And that Boston was somehow cultured. I guess because it had a lot of Universities. Which, sure, I guess it did. But the best two weren’t even in Boston. Harvard and MIT were in Cambridge. But really, the dirty was a hotbed of institutionalized racism and homophobia, and still is to this day. I call it “Kentucky on the Charles” The only Freedom Trail Ever cared about was the Mass Pike. The one that got me the fuck out of there. Hell, even the signs to the On Ramp for the Mass Pike say “TO: NEW YORK” I always thought that was the greatest joke somebody could have played on the populace. ‘Yeah, let’s take their tax dollars and make a sign that reminds them all there’s a vastly superior city at the end of this great paved road.”
Not only did I moved to NYC and became a Yankee Fan,. It also coincided with them becoming one of the best teams in Baseball and winning an unpriced dented 5 World Series victories in 123years – 1996-2009. During that time I was a season ticket holder for 6 seasons. I went to a shit-ton of games. After the 2009 World Series victory I even got a Yankees tattoo. And then they lost Jeter. And Petite. And Posada. And Mariana. And before I knew it they were a team I didn’t recognize. So I cancelled my season ticket. And I stopped caring. They say you are the combination of your 5 closest friends. And I treat my friends much like I treat my sports fandom. I cut out the losers. Because even though they might get lucky sometimes, Im not gonna let it be at the expense of my happiness. So…. Fuck Em.
PS. Rodney loved the Yankees. But now, I domino even care about baseball anymore.