Meeting Other Citizens of Red Sox Nation is Easy.
Whether at home or traveling, to protect my bald pate, I customarily wear a Red Sox cap, dark blue with a red “B” with white trim above the bill. Just like the one worn by Red Sox slugger, David Ortiz, kin this photo. As baseball caps go, it’s really fairly innocuous … except to other Sox fans, who immediately identify me as a fellow citizen of Red Sox Nation.
Several years ago, I flew to Australia to ride their two trans-continental trains, the Indian Pacific east-to-west from Sydney to Perth, and the Gahn from Darwin in the north through Alice Springs to Adelaide in the south. Because of conflicting plane and train schedules, I had two full days to kill in Sydney. In the course of walking around the town and taking a couple of tours, I was stopped four times by people who had spotted my Sox cap. There we were, on a street corner in Australia, more than 9,000 miles from Fenway Park, talking about David Ortiz’ batting average and Jacoby Ellsbury’s latest injury.
Two years ago, I thought it would be fun to see how often I might be greeted because of my cap during my trip from Russia to Mongolia and into China, so I set out alert and ready jot down the incidents. I again scored four contacts: once by a man from Scituate, Massachusetts, while we were waiting to board the Eurostar in London; once in Berlin by a tour guide, a Scotsman with a heavy accent who was wearing a Yankee cap. The third time was in the St. Petersburg railway station; it was a kid about 10, also wearing a Sox cap, who just stared and pointed at mine. And the fourth and weirdest one occurred as I was looking up at the massive electronic departures board in the Beijing station. An elderly Chinese man gestured at my cap, grinned and chattered at me while bobbing his head up and down … and then scurried away into the crowd.
It happened again yesterday in Caen … not surprisingly, because I was visiting several of the D-Day sites and a lot of the people wandering around there were Americans. Craig, the man from Southington, Connecticut on our little guided tour, noted my cap immediately, of course. The second one came as I was wandering though the American cemetery there. An older guy, probably in his late 60s, wearing a cap just like mine. We didn’t speak … just nodded to each other in acknowledgement of our common bond. Both of them.