Keep the Same Approach
I'm not feeling up to posting my own piece today, but I want to point out that Tao of Manny, perhaps the most underrated blog in the Sox world, has an excellent post up that pretty much sums up my feelings on Spring Training following the World Series win:
Winning is no longer an unexperienced possibility; we Sox fans all know what it feels like. The past is now mere prologue to the beginning. The Yankees are suddenly unhinged, nearly obsessed with the Red Sox. Every NY paper now has three beat reporters: Yanks, Mets, and Sox. Any mention of "1918" from a Yankees fan is just an excuse to say something like, "yeah, and in all those years, the Sox never choked like the Yanks last year." But, even more, the Yankees just don't matter. The whale was killed; its blubber is now melted down in casks as the Pequod sails merrily back to Nantucket.
In the end, though, things are wonderfully the same. Because, here's what the rest of the country never understood: all that was beside the point, really. Oh, I wanted them to win; I rooted for them to win. And I did root against the Yankees. But the "curse" talk, the mythology and legend around the Sox just made good copy. It was background noise to what's great about the game and what's great about rooting for the Sox. I've grown up rooting for the Red Sox. Generations have grown up rooting for the Red Sox. People on the outside thought it was an obsession with winning The First World Series Since Babe Ruth Was Sold To The Yankees. But, it's just rooting for our team, going into a General Store (or a Cumby's) and hearing the game on the radio, watching balls go off and over The Wall, getting asked "what happened in the game?" and knowing there's only one game they could be talking about, smelling the sausages on the way into the game, and a thousand other associations redolent of home. The Red Sox are home, they are The Olde Towne Team. "They carry the hopes of a region" was the common sports-writer cliche, but it was more than that, and less. The Sox carried the experiences of a region, a long history of a million small moments in all of our lives. The big memories of Bucky Dent and World Series lost (and now won), but even more the innumerable half-forgotten memories of growing up in the shadow of the Red Sox.
They are the seasons passing; they are summer and fall.
And they are most assuredly spring.
This is another of the miracles of Sox fandom: when one of us is down, another one steps in to bear them up, always. Thanks, Brian.