Visit to Red Sox Nation enjoyable

By Kevin Wilson

Most people I talk to on a daily basis knew that I spent four days last week in Dallas, drawn there by a training seminar. What they don’t know about, and what I’m about to tell you, is the two hours that I spent in Red Sox Nation, drawn there because it felt right.
I was with a group of other seminar attendees, and we were coming back to the hotel after dinner. We knew the Red Sox were up 3-0, with three innings to go before their first World Series title in 86 years.
The smart decision would have been to just head to the hotel room and get some sleep for Thursday. The actual decision led me to the hotel bar, because the alternative was to remember history being alone in my hotel room.
The bar was called Pitchers, but it might as well have been Massachusetts. The bar was full of Red Sox fans, anybody stuck in a hotel who had a connection to New England. Four television sets were on the Fox broadcast of Game 4 — a fifth was on NBC, and it was muted.
A coworker went with me to the bar, and I gave him a little history lesson. I talked with him about how the Red Sox led three games to none in the best-of-seven series, and a St. Louis series win was nearly impossible. I said nearly impossible because these Red Sox had done just that, winning the final four against the New York Yankees in the American League Championship Series.
I told him why it mattered that the Sox were about to win. I told him about the curse of Babe Ruth, inexplicable Yankee home runs (Aaron Boone and Bucky Dent) and the 1986 World Series, where the New York Mets rallied in Game 6 from a two-run, two-out, two-strike, bases-empty situation and scored the winning run when a weak grounder dribbled through Bill Buckner’s legs.
That was all the reason I needed to root for the Red Sox, even as I wore my Texas Rangers cap. I explained to everyone at the bar that playoff losses at the hands of the Yankees made me a Yankee-hater, and a Red Sox fan by association.
The explanation was good enough for Ron Hall, a Cape Cod gentleman about 30 years older than me. I wouldn’t have talked to him under other circumstances — I was there for a media company, he was doing airplane training.
But baseball bonded us. I talked about how happy I was for the Red Sox success. He told me about the 1986 World Series, and how he had to watch Game 6 in a bar in New York City. I was 8 when this man was going through one of the worst moments of his life.
While we talked, I stole a glance at the muted television set. Jon Stewart was on Leno — it could have been Jennifer Garner wearing a whipped cream bikini, and it would have received the same viewership that night.
Ron Hall didn’t care about Leno, and neither did the other Ron Halls in the bar that night. They were a part of Red Sox Nation, a group of beleaguered fans closing in on euphoria as they counted down the outs.
There was Bill Siefert, a well-groomed man in a gray suit, high fiving his younger business partner, the charmingly belligerent Will Kohler. They were at the hotel because they had invested in a business, but were together then for hugs, high fives and “It happened during my lifetime” cellular phone calls.
There was Christian Nelson, who joked with me that those 26 men (the Red Sox roster and manager Terry Francona) would never pay for a meal in Boston again if he could help it.
There was Chris Lupini, a Mets fan who donned a Boston cap for the night — 18 years makes Yankee-haters the best of friends.
There were others I didn’t get the names of — they were too busy screaming into their phones, “I’m calling from a bahhh in Dallas. Can you believe we did it?”
For the first time since 1918, we can believe it. And I’ll always have the memories of a little corner of Red Sox Nation, temporarily relocated to Dallas.

Kevin Wilson is the managing editor of the Portales News-Tribune. He can be reached at 356-4481, ext. 33 or by e-mail:
Kevin_Wilson@link.freedom.com