Red Sox and Cubs Fans: Breeds Apart.
I’ve followed the Boston Red Sox since I was nine … specifically, since the afternoon of May 25, 1946, when my Aunt Bobby took me to see the Red Sox play the New York Yankees in Fenway Park (Red Sox 7, Yankees 4). That’s when it all began.
There is a big difference between the casual baseball fan and those of us who live and die with one of the teams. Red Sox fans are a breed apart. My wife was astonished to see tears running down my cheeks in October of 2004 when the Red Sox defeated the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 4 and finally won the World Series after 86 years of frustration.
Over the next few days, there were hundreds of reports of Red Sox caps, baseballs, pennants and other Red Sox memorabilia being placed on gravestones all over New England . . . current day fans remembering relatives who had been born, lived, and died without ever seeing their Sox win a World Series.
I would venture to say that no other baseball fans are both as passionate and as knowledgable as the Red Sox fans. Well, perhaps I should include fans of the Chicago Cubs. The last time their team won the World Series was in 1908.
In fact, my favorite baseball fan story is about a lifelong Cubs fan—a man well up in his 80s, but now on his death bed in a hospital. It’s in the wee hours and one of his sons is at the bedside, keeping the vigil.
Suddenly, the young man notices that his father’s lips are moving. Putting his book down, he goes to his father’s side, puts his ear down near the old man’s lips and says, “It’s Charlie, Pop. I’m right here. What is it?”
In a halting, barely audible, rasping voice, the old man wheezes, “We’ve got . . . to get rid . . . of Kingman.”
(Dave Kingman played for the Cubs in the early 1980s and had a love-hate relationship with Cub fans. He hit prodigious home runs, but struck out more often than not and was a below average fielder.)
The National League Cubs, by the way, have the best won-lost record in baseball this year and the Red Sox are tied for first place in their division, so there is the very real possibility that those two teams could meet in the 2016 World Series. Now wouldn’t that be something!
Jim I would put the Cardinals fan up against the Red Sox any day. The difference is the Cardinals have never had a World Series drought like the Sox which made the Sox winning the series more memorable.
For the Cubs if they win it all this year it will knock the luster of the lovable losers. I would say that the Red Sox/Yankees series is less of a national sport story than it was 10 years ago. Will be fun this postseason to see if the Northsiders can do it.
Right on all counts. And I do agree about the Cardinal fans. What a wonderful sport it is. I’m reminded of a great observation by Bob Fontaine, a baseball lifer and GM of the Padres at the time: “If you go to a baseball game and don’t see something you’ve never seen before, you weren’t really paying attention.”