Growing up, I never had a baseball team that I loved, despite the fact that I had two to choose from in the New York metro area. I like baseball, but no one in my house had a clear rooting interest. I flirted with the Mets in the 80s. I had a fling with the Yankees in the late 90s. But by the 2000 World Series, a.k.a. the Subway Series, I found myself rooting for the underdog Mets. Yes, I was fickle.
Maybe I was tired of all the talk about the Yankees. Maybe I’d been reading too much Bill Simmons (who was still known as the Sports Guy back then) and his love for his Boston teams. Maybe I got caught up in the possibility of ending the curse of the Bambino. But somehow I found myself rooting for the Red Sox in the 2003 ALCS. I was confused when Grady Little left Pedro in, and I was surprised how angry I was when Aaron Boone hit that home run.
That next August, I met Matt, a Masshole who had relocated to New Jersey. He was a Red Sox fan trapped in Yankees’ territory. We met just after the infamous fight between Varitek and A-Rod and the trade that sent Nomar to the Cubs. But as we started dating, the Red Sox started winning, 22 of their last 25, to be exact. And they were in the playoffs again.
It wasn’t until the Sox were down 3-0 in the ALCS (having lost Game 3 19-8) that I truly learned what life with a Boston Red Sox fan is like. The team had been snake bitten so many times before. Matt was just waiting for the other shoe to drop. But then there was Dave Roberts’ steal, a couple nailbiting extra innings, and that bloody sock. But that self-proclaimed bunch of idiots came back to win the ALCS. Appropriately enough, Matt was in Massachusetts when the Rex Sox won the World Series. Not for nothing, but I’d like to think I was a good luck charm that season.
Oh, and after a couple months like that, how could I not be all in on the Red Sox? I’d finally found my baseball love.
Three years later, Matt and I got married. We put together two picture frames for our guests to sign. In one of frames was Matt and me standing on top of the Green Monster. When people look at the frame and see that one of our guests wrote “2007 World Series Champions!” under the photo, they don’t really think twice. Because the Red Sox did win the World Series that October. But she signed the frame in July. (And appropriately, Matt again was in Massachusetts for the win.)
So the Red Sox won the year we met and the year we got married. We wondered what type of big event it was going to take for the Red Sox to win again. But there was no big life event this year, and the Red Sox won the World Series again. But this time, Matt and I were actually in the same state (New Jersey) and under the same roof when they won.
As we sat and watched the victory celebration, Matt looked a little irritated. I asked him what was wrong.
“It took more than 30 years for me to get my first Red Sox Word Series. And you have three in nine years,” he said.
He was right. I hadn’t suffered through the heartbreak he had. He was born into it. I married into it.