Red October

The Red Sox won the World Series last night in a 6-1 home game against the St. Louis Cardinals.

So, that’s pretty great.

But since everyone else is already talking about that, I’d like to write more generally. About why baseball is great.

It is, I like to say, a game of suspense.

I grew up in a big baseball family. In Oakland, CA the A’s were my home team. I have many fond memories of going to the park as kid.

Waiting in line for hours to get a free Miguel Tejada bobble head doll. Getting there early to watch batting practice. Memorizing the roster. The batting averages. The ERAs.

When Jason Giambi played for the A’s, Crazy Train was his entry music. They used to play Darth Vader’s march if we were up around the 8th inning, but I can’t quite remember the rules for when they did that. I used to always lose at dot racing.

And I never felt more patriotic than when I heard the national anthem before a game, and few things feel more communal than a rousing round of Take me Out to the Ball Game during the 7th inning stretch.

Baseball was also an affordable pastime growing up in Oakland. Average people could go to games regularly. I used to go with my whole family. Aunts, uncles, cousins.

I love Fenway, but the first time I went – with my Grandmother for a Red Sox/Yankees game – we dropped $50 per ticket. And this was pre-2004 series victory. Almost sounds reasonable given what I’d expect to pay for a comparable game today, but still a far cry from the $1 Wednesdays back in Oakland. It’s a shame.

To be clear, I am a Red Sox fan. It was a long and difficult transition, but after 13 years in Massachusetts, I got there somewhere along the way. I haven’t watched an A’s/Red Sox game in 13 years though. Too painful.

And finally, I can’t talk about baseball without a shout out to the one and only Richard Delaney. My late cousin and fellow Oakland resident, Richard used take me to games with his family somewhat frequently. But he was also a…somewhat opinionated radical labor organizer.

And whenever I think of baseball, I think of Richard Delany complaining about the wave.

At the ball park one summer day, the energized crowd started doing the wave. I was pumped. Everyone has to work together to make it happen. And it goes round the stadium. An artful human force.

Richard was not pleased.

After a rough back and forth, Richard finally looked at me dead on and said:

“Don’t you know it’s just a capitalist conspiracy to create pliable people through the illusion of collaboration?”

I hadn’t known that. But now I do. I guess.

And I still love baseball.


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