Those who live in Red Sox Nation are more accustomed to failure than success. Yes, I know the Sox on Wednesday are seeking their third World Series ring in ten years. But for those of us with a few miles on our odometer, winning the World Series in 2004 and 2007 were an anomaly.
That’s why last year, when the Sox finished in last place, was paradoxically both heartbreaking and comforting. We know what it is like to come up short. We know what it is like to see the Evil Empire (Yankees) appear in 40 world series and win 27. Prior to 2004 our last championship was 1918. In our hearts, we have far more in common with a Cubs fan, whose team last won a championship in 1908.
This past Sunday, the Sox won the American League Pennant. It was a great series, with great pitching from the Tigers and Sox. It was a series with two Grand Slams to win come from behind games. When we won (yes, Sox fans are not spectators, we play the game with every ounce of our emotional being), there was such exultation, such pure joy, because we didn’t expect to win. We expected to have our hearts broken at the last-minute.
We will bring this same paradoxical mix of hope and pessimism to this series. We will hope for the best and expect the worst. And, God willing (no true Sox fan is an atheist), if and when we win, no one will be more surprised (and joyful), than those of us who call Red Sox Nation, home.