Ben Eley of Blue Hill, Maine cheered as police started to clear the crowds from the Fenway Park area during the fifth inning. The scene outside of Fenway Park and Kenmore Square for Game Six of the World Series between the Boston Red Sox and the St. Louis Cardinals in Boston, Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013.
Those days of torment and anguish seem far, far removed now. In fact, most Red Sox fans under the age of 18 have absolutely no time for discussions of Babe Ruth, Harry Frazee, “No, No Nanette,” Johnny Pesky’s “held ball,” Bucky Dent, Bill Buckner or Aaron Boone. What’s the point? The Red Sox always recover, in their eyes.
Of the three recent titles, this one in 2013 was without question, the “people’s championship.” In 2004, there was far too much at stake, and in the months leading up to when Keith Foulke tossed the ball to Doug Mientkiewicz, there were plenty of bandwagon jumpers from across the country suddenly clinging onto our beloved “idiots.” By 2007, the Red Sox had become a giant corporation. They had basically become Yankees-Lite. Sell-outs everywhere you turned. Big money players. A seemingly loaded farm system. They were the best in baseball. We knew it. They knew it. America knew it, and began to hate us for it.
The empire finally crumbled in September of 2011, when the Red Sox choked down the stretch of the regular season and things were absolutely brutal last year when Bobby Valentine was in the dugout. Oh, and then that sell-out streak thing ended, officially.
But because things were so brutal in the aftermath of September of 2011, a funny thing happened. The bandwagoners were long gone. Pink hats weren’t selling as well. Ditto for those bricks. In turn, tickets suddenly became available to the die-hard who had been priced out of attending a game at Fenway during the last 12 years. Families could walk up to the ticket office on the day of a game this past summer and, ya know, actually get tickets. The players suddenly didn’t seem so distant. They weren’t super-duper stars … yet.