It’s like a confession. Yes, I am a proud member of Red Sox nation. I have been since ever since. As far back as I have memory I have had the Red Sox. It is a New England tradition and something you understand without explanation if you are from here abouts and something you don’t if you are not from here or haven’t witnessed it. Yes, my family was one of those families who phone each other late at night when the Sox won the world series in 2004 and understood the stories of those who went to put flowers on the graves of loved ones who lived and died and never got to experience it.
The Sox opened in Japan, but it seems a bit unreal, so opening day is really tonight in Oakland and the real party begins a week from today at Fenway when last year’s World Series win is recognized with banners and rings and all that glitz.
I’ve mentioned before that I am not a fan of steroids and multi-million dollar contracts and all that aspect of big time professional sports, but I do love the games, especially baseball. I get teary every time James Earl Jones gives that soliloquy in Field of Dreams, “They’ll Come to Iowa for reasons they can’t even fathom…”
This year I am eagerly anticipating the Sox defense of the World Series and for the first time since I was my son’s age and younger (he’s 11), I am rooting for and following a favorite player. When I was boy it was Sox Hall of Fame catcher Carlton Fisk, because I was a Little League catcher and he was the catcher on the Red Sox. Now it’s one of the bright new young Sox stars who graced the cover of the recent Sports Illustrated along with other up and coming young stars of baseball and members of the 2005 draft class:
Sure, Ellsbury is fast, has model good looks and was a break-out star at the end of last season in the World Series, but there’s another reason he, as opposed to say up and coming star pitchers Clay Buchholz or cancer suvrivor Jon Lester, or even established team leaders Big Papi or captain Tek.
Jacoby Ellsbury is the first Navajo to play in the big leagues and for the Sox. My dad is mostly American Indian and it’s a part of who he is that’s had a major impact on the ups and especially the down parts of his life. My dad is an artist and I have one of his pen and ink drawings of his grandfather, in ceremonial regalia in our home. There is just a little something extra special there with Jacoby. And it doesn’t hurt that he’s fast enough to go from second base to home on a passed ball.