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How the cheapskate Joe DiMaggio weaseled out and Ted Williams made me a Red Sox fan!

September 25, 2013 18:23 Boston

This is not the place where I’d boast about the Red Sox clinching the division.  I would not do that.  Besides it happened a few days ago.  It’s almost history. I can silently gloat behind the veil of these sentences, instead I think back to a couple of weeks ago when I saw a game at Fenway with Ali and Amanda and Joe as well as Katie and Ben.  It started out as one of those slow weekend mornings, when you wake up and hear the pats of rain falling on the panes of glass.  You want to pull up the covers and hide and let the dreams linger back in.  It was a Sunday in Boston.  Suddenly I was gripped with the anxiety, we have tickets for the game and it may be rain out…we walked through the drizzle and took our soaked seats and watched as the Sox beat the White Sox.  And this leads me to this past Sunday.  I am not a Yankee’s fan.  But I was at Yankee stadium on Sunday.   True, I was a Yankee fan years ago.  I was shocked and ecstatic when Bucky slapped that pitch over the monster.  I watched the game when I came home from St. Phillips,  Back then at the bus stop we’d have a  contests which of us could best imitate the Yankee at bat.  There was Mickey Rivers who dragged his bat behind him as he came up to the plate.  Slump your shoudlers...easy.  Reggie who spit such a unique way - the challenge was too much for our young lips. Chris Chambliss who’d swing and hold the bat out facing the pitcher in a menacing way and then there was Munson who always fixed his batter’s gloves before each pitch.  I remember when he died and I felt the loss the leader...of the captain.  I was a Yankee fan I tell ya…What happened?  Well, let me add I was always a Met’s fan and for years I could root for both teams.  Mets and Yanks.  But about that time when I was imitating the players as the bus stop - I’d write letters to some of the former players.  I still have “Smoky” Joe Woods autograph who personalized a piece of paper for me and shared what teams he played for and when.  He was a great Red Sox pitcher who pitched in the 1912 World Series.  There was a sarcastic junior high school English teacher, Mr. Anderson a Boston native who chewed and threw the heavy peanut M&M’s at the punks in the back of the class when they were not paying attention to him.  He was a Sox fan who had amazing precision with those little rocks which he forewarned us. He shared a story, while in college he brought one of his black friends home.  He grew up in a white Irish Catholic Boston neighborhood.  He knew as they got out of the car, the curious neighbors were peering through their curtains wondering why he brought the man to their neighborhood.   He looked around and pointed to some of the houses, and proclaimed, “I can’t wait till your family moves in!”  I have to add to the Yankees, one of the players I wrote to was Bobby Richardson who was great second basemen for the Yanks.  I read his autobiography.  He was a Christian and I valued his faith.  So here is the deal.  When I was 12 I cut out a picture of Joe Dimaggio from the Yankee yearbook and sent it to him.  I wrote a letter to Ted Williams and mentioned my birthday was coming up.  DiMaggio sent the picture back – signed, but…postage due recipient.  The mailman walked down our driveway with the letter which was a rare event, what the hell what he doing?  He said he was there to collect money for the letter.  And it was more than the price for a measly stamp.  Jolting Joe didn’t want to spend money on the stamp!  Ted Williams sent me a birthday card.  The switch was made.  Thank you DiMaggio and I will always have a soft spot for that great hero, Ted Williams.  I started rooting for the Sox…and The Mets.  Who did you root for in ’86?  The Mets.   This past Sunday I went to the Yankees game.  I wanted to see Andy Pettitte since I knew he would hang it up after this season and he declared last Friday he was retiring.  He is another Christian and this is a secret, I would root for him.  He used to have a cross on the NY on his cap, but I'm not sure if he still has that.  For the past couple of seasons I wanted to see one of the greatest pitchers Mariano Rivera.  Sunday was the day.  Mo is another Christian and I gained more respect for the man off the field for his support of his native Panama as well as local underprivileged communities - specifically churches.  I paid through my nose for a nose bleeder.   It was Marino Rivera day. Metallica played Enter the Sandman, Jackie Robinson’s widow and daughter were there since Mo is the last player to wear 42.  Former players and the stoic Joe Torre came out and I cheered.  I always liked Bernie Williams and Paul O’Neil.  I can say it here.  But I wanted the Sox to beat them each and every time.  Wade Boggs?  You should not have been a Yankee.  But I digress.   The wind was brisk and I waited.  Better, I pleaded for the sun as the faint light and scattering warmth crept up the rows to finally got up to me.  The sun light was faint through the clouds.  Andy had a perfect game going to the sixth until the kid next to me, this tobacco chomping spit dripping punk says, “Is he pitching a perfect game?”  The very next batter was walked.  The end of perfection and a fan behind him tells the dipshit - you jinxed it.  It was your fault!  The first hit he gave up was a dinger.  I’m sorry the Yankees lost the game due to a rookie mistake on third base.  There was a SF Giant’s fan who was bouncing up and down.  I wanted to smack him. Hold a second, I am not a Yanks fan and I pulled back and took a deep breath.  But I saw Mo.  It was perfection. He wielded his power, bats erupted; sending splinters into the blades of grass…and I watched him stretch before the release, it was a special sight even if I had the advantage of being on the furthest deck.  I saw Mo and I came home and wanted to let you know tonight may be the end for the Yankees and I am sorry for you since I appreciate the history of the intense rivalry between our teams.  This year was different.  I wanted to feel as if the Sox were going to go into the playoffs against the Yanks as the better team.  Only then would I gloat…like I did back in 04.  But through all the years I've learned each side has immense respect for the other team, but there is a reference for the way some of these men lead their lives away from field.  I am a fan of Mariano Rivera and I am grateful he is retiring.  Thank you for reading this...


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