As I found myself invested in the outcome of another World Series, it looked like the 2013 version would carry the unofficial tag line – “Mistakes Were Made.” Fielders seemed uninterested in
catching the ball, often necessary when turning a double play or making outs. Balls were thrown around the field in imitation of a tee-ball practice. A base runner even tripped over a fielder who
had been trying to play a ball and was ruled safe due to interference (?). A base runner was picked off at first base to end a game. Mistakes were made.
But then the Red Sox kept winning – Games Four, Five and Six to cement the World Series victory – the third in the last 10 years and third in my lifetime. Each World Series victory for the Red Sox is bittersweet. My Grandfather (Gramp) introduced me to the Red Sox, and brought me to my first game (11th inning walk off single for Carl Yastrzemski). Gramp died in 1999 – well before 2004, 2007 and now 2013. He was only a baby in 1918, and never got to enjoy a World Series victory.
Gramp and I had Yaz’s last game at Fenway Park, Mike Boddicker’s first game for the Red Sox, Roger Clemens, Jim Rice, Dwight Evans and a whole host of other players. Before he died, he would tell me, “That Pee-dro’s pretty good, huh?” I didn’t bother to correct his pronunciation – he would not have been good at this voiceover thing.
Baseball continues to run in my family. My wife and I were married two days after Aaron Boone hit a walk-off homer off Tim Wakefield in the 2003 ALCS. My wife claims that we would have skipped our honeymoon had the Red Sox advanced to the World Series. We got to share the victory in 2004, and again in 2007 when our son was just seven months old. Our first-grader has morphed into a full-fledged baseball obsessive, as well. Just this year we saw – Albert Pujols homer, Ortiz homer, Jake Peavey’s first game at Fenway, Matt Moore outclass the Red Sox, and the Red Sox clinch the American League East. He even got to run the bases at Fenway Park.
Gramp and I understood something about baseball, though – World Series victories are nice, but the history and togetherness of baseball really matter. For that I still wear a t-shirt honoring his favorite player – Ted Williams.
Mistakes were made, and then they weren't. The lesson? We're never as far from victory as we think we are, and it's often the journey that matters.