October 25th, 1986. I had turned 10 that summer and it was a fantastic summer.. I had gone to overnight camp for the first time in a little slice of heaven up in Brookline, NH. My sister had gone the year before for a month, but she said wasn't for her. My parents said try it one more time and this time your brother will go too. After the first month, visiting day came for the kids who stayed all summer and it was changeover day for the kids who only went one month. When my parents came up to get us, they asked my sister how it was and she said she didn't want to go back. I then promptly said "can I have her month?" I loved it so much I wanted to go the entire summer.. I remember vividly waiting not so patiently every morning that July for a counselor or camper to have a Boston Globe (back when people read the Globe) so I could see how the Red Sox did the night before. My camp saying in the yearbook was actually "So how did the Red Sox do last night?" I guess I was a little obsessed.
But in 1986, what 10 year old wasn't? Hell, what 40 year old wasn't? Boston sports in 1986 was something to witness. The Celtics had just finished wrapping up their 16th World Championship by dispatching the Houston Rockets in 6 games (FYI, 85-86 Celtics best TEAM ever. Ever.) The Patriots had made their impossible run to their first Super Bowl the season prior (let's just say they scored the first 3 points of the game and the last 7. Who really remembers giving up 46 in between?) I also had my first beer during that game. Coors Gold. Mmm, Coors Gold... Lastly, the Bruins had unfortunately lost to the hated Habs in 7 games in the Adams Division Semis (back when there were real divisions, none of this Eastern Conference/Western Conference crap. Wales and Campbell dammit!)
But the Red Sox were different. Boston was still a baseball town first and the hometown 9 hadn't won a World Series since.. well, you know when, I don't need to say it.. They had come close many times before my time (1946, 1967, 1975). But this team was great. Clemens, Hurst, Boggs, Rice, Evans..
I mean these guys were so good. I thought it was over though when they were down 3-1 to the California Angels before they became the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and then became the Anaheim Angels I believe before finally settling on.. oh I don't even know.. I remember hoping Dave Henderson would somehow just get on base in Game 5 to keep the season alive. He had gone 2 for 4 to that point and my sister and I were chanting "2 for 4 let's make it 3 for 5".. You're really creative when your 10 and 14, huh? And then somehow Hendu launched one over the wall and the Sox would go on to win the series and face the Mets in the World Series. (RIP Donnie Moore)
Fast forward to Game 6. Heading into the 10th the Sox scored 2 runs to make it 5-3. 1 out. 2 outs. Hell 1 STRIKE AWAY! (wait, I don't have to give that perm-head any royalties for using that do I? Boston folks, you know who I mean) And then, it was like a dam overflowed and the levees broke and it just all fell apart. For the record, I do not blame Buckner. Never have. Well, maybe at that specific moment I did, but once I was old enough to analyze everything, I didn't. He should have never been in there to begin with. All playoffs McNamara had put in Dave Stapleton as a defensive replacement. It's what you do in the playoffs. Why not now when it means the most? I didn't get it then and I still don't get it now. But I digress..
We all know what happened.. Until 2004 when the Red Sox finally won it all (thank you Joe Buck for ruining it) Game 6 was all anybody could talk about regarding the Red Sox, that and that stupid "curse" (more royalties).. And 2007 thankfully put it all to bed. But some people still don't forgive Buckner. I don't get that either. Would I be this calm if the Sox hadn't won it in 04 and/or 07? Perhaps not. But I still wouldn't blame Buckner. He has made peace with it a lot sooner than some locals have. He finally got up the nerve to come to Boston and throw out the first pitch at Fenway and received a raucous standing ovation that lasted easily over 5 minutes. I didn't think he was going to make it to actually throwing the pitch. He was clearly moved by the ovation and I think it finally hit him that people were over it.
For a while it didn't bother me to watch it. In fact, there were times after 04 that I would go back and watch it just to prove it didn't bother me anymore. But after this most recent monumental collapse, the turmoil that is the front office and who knows what to make of the on-field product, it gives me that feeling again.
October 25th, 2011. It was time for a bath. I had asked the boys numerous times to come upstairs, to no avail (nothing new there). The bath was ready and the water was starting to get cold. Finally I come downstairs to turn off Super Hero Squad and what happened to be on was E:60 doing some sort of retrospective of the 25 year anniversary of The Error. So of course, I had to sit. Suddenly, I was mesmerized. It was pre-2004 all over again. And since the boys love the Red Sox, they were watching. I said "boys, I hope you never have to go through the agony of what I went through watching this game".. They had no idea what I was talking about. And as they show the replay over and over and over and over and over, I was like seriously people!!! How many times can you show a 5 second clip in 1 minute? Well the answer evidently is 12.. (for those of you who need a math refresher, get a calculator).
Well, apparently Mitch had had enough as well because he said "daddy, it's time to turn it off now". Yes Mitch, it certainly is.