Scarlet Fever

A teenage girl's perspective on the Red Sox and everything else.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006


I have a confession to make. And because I'm at my summer job with absolutely nothing to do, I figured I'd share.
I have not been a Red Sox fan my whole life. A baseball fan, even. Shocker, I know. It's in my blood. My family loves the Sox. But a few years ago, I couldn't have cared less. I remember when I was in Little League. I was bored out of my mind. I would wander around in the outfield picking flowers, and I hated at-bats. I remember always trying to lean in so I would get hit by a pitch and I wouldn't have to try and hit. Now I know that the only reason I couldn't bat was because I couldn't see. I didn't have contact lenses yet, and I refused to wear glasses. I had no idea how bad my vision was. I couldn't even really see the pitches. But I didn't know this at the time, and I hated every minute of it.
I remember a few years ago, when I was walking past the TV and a Sox game was on. My whole family was crowded around, and I remember deciding to give the game a try. I watched for about ten seconds. I was wondering, "How on Earth can watching a bunch of guys standing around on the grass be interesting?"
Another memory I have is sitting in my room when my sister ran by, screaming, "Manny got a three-run homer." I remember thinking about how much I didn't care.
I remember going to my first Sox game. I don't know how old I was, but it was young enough that my sister, who is three years younger than I, was too young to go. I was bored to tears. Our seats were terrible and it seemed to me that all I was doing was watching the grass grow.
Then came 2003. I remember everyone was watching the 2003 ALCS. So I decided to watch too, just so I could talk about it at school with everyone. I was drawn in by the magic of the sport. It wasn't exactly love at first sight, but the intensity really attracted me. The game was easy for me to understand and the players were amusing. I remember the first time I realized David Ortiz was black (well, Dominican, but...). When I said to my family, "Ortiz is black?" and they just looked at me with a look that said they were so embarrassed that this non-Red Sox fan was a member of their family. And a side note that I'm not at all racist. Just in case it sounded like it just then. I have no problem with Ortiz being black or anything, just before I started watching I pictured him as white for some reason.
Then came the heartbreak of Pedro being left in too long. I was disappointed but I didn't really know the full story. I hadn't been watching all season. I got over it.
The next year I got more into baseball. At the time, my family didn't have cable. So we only got Friday Night Baseball games on TV and the rest we listened to on radio. I loved watching the games on Friday nights, but I still wasn't a big enough fan to listen to games on radio every night.
Then came the magical 2004 postseason. Stunning. Unbelievable. That's when I really, truly became a Red Sox fan. And I hate admitting that. It makes me seem like I'm not a real fan. I only became a fan AFTER we won it all. I didn't have to wait 86 years. I didn't experience the heartbreak year after year, the Curse, the years of almost. I feel bad about that. Being a Sox fan is about heartbreak and I didn't really have to go through that.
But when 2005 came along, I listened to every game on radio. I completely immersed myself in the game. I learned all the players. I learned what the different stats showed. I learned about all the history of the Red Sox and the game of baseball. I found that I loved the culture of baseball. I loved the way the games toyed with your emotions. I loved that the Sox were there for you, every day, and to quote one of my favorite movies, Fever Pitch, "When they miss a game, they make it up do you. Does anyone else do that in life?"
My brother introduced me to That became my second home.
Manny became my first favorite player. My first Sox item ever was a Manny shirt.
My family loved telling me about the Sox. It made them feel powerful, maybe. Or maybe they just wanted to share the gift of baseball with me. They had wanted to share it all along, and I had been too stubborn. They finally had the chance to share with me one of their biggest passions.
I started playing softball. I could finally be a part of the sport that I adored. I am lucky enough to have a lot of natural athletic ability. When my coach saw my speed, my clean glovework and my consistent throws, he cemented me in my position at shortstop. With contact lenses, I learned that I was actually quite a good hitter, and I finished my first season with a batting average of .455 against some pretty tough pitchers.
When the Sox were swept out of the postseason in 2005 it was my first real heartbreak as a Sox fan. Because as Sox fans we expect nothing short of a World Series title. I remember how numb I felt. Numb, yet raw. The pain was fresh, in wounds unhealed. I sat in my car on the way to Vermont, rain slashing the windshield, fittingly somehow. I suppose that was when I became a true Red Sox fan. Because I was forced to believe, next year will be our year.
During the postseason I saw the team I had come to love be ripped apart. Kevin Millar, who kept the team in stitches. Gone. Bill Mueller, the consistant third baseman. Gone. And Johnny Damon. That one hurt the most. Because I had loved him. I remember staring at his picture on my wall. Lovingly framed. How could he do that to me? He told us he loved us. He had said he'd never leave. He took the money. He betrayed us. He saw that my open heart was vulnerable, and he went to the enemy.
But then Spring Training came. We got cable TV so we could see every game. And I was again filled with hope. This new team looked good on paper. I was curious to see how it would play in real life.
I started reading blogs. At first I only read. Then I left my first tentative comment. Soon I was sucked into it and I was leaving boatloads of comments every day.
And now I have a blog. And I know my future holds the next few chapters of my Red Sox life.

Ok that was the longest post ever. Seriously I have nothing to do today at work.


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