First thing I guess I have to say is that I am not a true American. I was born in Kilwninning, Scotland in Jan 1973. I never even heard of baseball until probably 1987. That said, I was incredibly passionate and devoted to our national past-time and major sport:football (soccer). I've always been an atheltic guy and did well at pretty much every sport. Over the years I have grown to appreciate how valuable sports are to society, and to a nation. I am a strong socalist and identify very well with the struggles of the everyday man. To me, seeing soccer being played in the shanty towns of any 3rd world city made me feel somewhow right and true as I too played the very same game and had the same dreams these kids had. The closest I have seen of this display in the USA is in baseball. Why? Because baseball is people, and I believ in people.
I came to the USA in 1995. I was a huge Jets fan upon my first landing at Logan International on September 1st, 1995. I had been an avid viewer of the NFL since they first beamed games to Scotland in 1985. I believe the first game I saw was a Jets V Miami game back in 85 and for whatever reason I chose the Jets. Around that time I remember moving our portable tv up to me and my wee brothers room to watch the Celtics V Lakers NBA Finals on BBC2. Baseball was never an option to me, but I grew to love US sports. Seeing Larry Bird and Magic Johnson go at it on my grainy, black and whte tv at about 2am was too addictive. I rooted for the Celtics I belive, why I do not know. Maybe becaue there was a team in my own country by that very name, but if Ayr Uted were to ever play Celtic, I'd hope the black and white Honest Men would prevail!
Whilst I started my life in this country I gradualy paid more attention to baseball as I liked to be on top of sports and looked to discuss sports with anyone that was close by. Considering thatno-one could really discuss with me why Ayr United had changed from a 4-4-2 to a 3-5-2 meant I had to seek out sports closer to where I was. I travelled west in 96 and was offered to see the Dodgers play the Braves. I agreed, but was bored off my tits as I just didn't get it.I lked American Football, not baseball. The Dodgers gave up a 2 run lead to lose 4-2 if anyone is keeping score. I decided baseball was pish and took a very slight following to the Brewers as I thought it was cool thye had a guy slide down into a barrell of beer on every homerun. You have to admit for a Scotsman, this HAD to be my team, it involved beer for cryign out loud! But I could never experience the feeling of travelling and spending the day folowing a group of guys I could Identify with. I couldn't share or argue the team's moves with fellow patrons, I couldn't smell how a game was, and I couldn't identify with America's national past-time: baseball. This all changed in 1998.
I was offered a spot with a group of friends to go see the Boston Red Sox play the Cleveland Indians on Patriots Day, 1998. It was a cool, grey, drissly day in Boston. I sat with friends who could tell me what was going on and I saw Colin Powell sit 5 rows ahead of me and see the Sox win with a Mo Vaughn homerun in extra innings. I then had post game ales in a nearby bar and experienced the feel and vibe of sports and community so similar to that I had experienced in Scotland. Fenway is historic, the fans are loyal, passionate and very knowlegable about their team and sport. Being in such a historic setting with loyal fans gave me the closest feeling i had ever felt toward a team away from home. The Red Sox were so familar to Scotland and other underdog teams with a glorious history, like Ireland, that I knew I had to follow them. To have their biggest rivals be so similar to that of England (larger, dominant, arrogant) meant that the decision was out of my hands. I WAS now a Red sox fan. I have been loyal ever since. I love the smell, the feel of Fenway. Yeah it is old, but they are trying to knock down and destroy stadiums like Fenway back in Scotland. I used to be able to go and see my beloved local Ayr United by standing on the terraces of Somerset Park. But if my team is to be successful they cannot advance unless they convert to an allseater venue. I know this is an immediate difference to what Fenway offers, but my point is that theseplaces are a direct reflection to how the game was in the past. Football was at it's best in Scoland around the time Somerset Park was packed. I used to go there and loved feeling the anticipation and feel of of optimism and pride every time you'd see your team take the field. It might be a night game and the crowd was less which meant that every time a kick to goal went into the crowd, YOU might the guy throwing it back to an Ayr United player. You felt a part of the team. I've been to Dodger Stadium, yankee Stadium, Meadowlands, Foxboro, FleetCenter and the closest I have ver felt as being a prt of the team has been at Fenway. When I show up there, I feel I truly am helping the team. There is a passion there I cannot describe in words, and if you are a fan of sports, not necesserily of baseball, then I strongly urge you see a game there.
Do i understand what it means to have the yanks as our #1 rival? Ofcourse. I have seen them win every year I have beena fan. I have heard the stories, I have seen the tape. The yanks are the better franchise and the better team. You cannot argue with 26-0. If you are a yankee then I urge you to read that agin: a Red Sox fan says you can't beat 26-0. The yankees are the better over time. HOWEVER! Would I feel comfortable being a yankee fan? HELL NO!!! I am PROUD to be a RED SOX fan. I am loyal. You play wiffleball, or any sport and you want me on your team as I will bring 100% and remind you what team is all about. But the bottom line is that I truly believe my Red Sox are the good guys. You can dispute that all you want but it doesn't matter, my guys are the good guys. The harder you dispute it, the more you prove my point. To those that remain true, when it happens they will be rewarded with such sweetness. You can't stop us, you can only hope it doesn't happen when you are around. Long live the underdog.
I think what the yanks have done is incredible and I admire the success and determination of the franchise. Doesn;t give you the right to win every year, but I can't help but admire the success. I don't hate the yanks, I love their attitude. I love it nearly as much as the Red Sox. The difference? I know we're the good guys. So take A-Rod. 24 hours after the news I love this. Why? Because it makes things right. We were the favourites, we were expected to win, there was all the pressure on us. Now it is all on the yanks 100%. They made the move to prevent the Red Sox from winning. What does that mean? Basically it means that Dec2003 to Jan 2004 never happened. That's it. Red Sox aren't expected to win now, and I love that. Yanks took all the pressure off the Red Sox for the next 4 years. If we didn't win this year, could we handle the increasing pressure of every year of A-Rod's contract? When the Red Sox win it all it has to be when they aren't expected to. The yankees have now given them that opportunity. Thank you.