Yankee fan tips his hat to the ‘Sawks’


I am a Yankee fan. Not a Yankees fan. Yankee fan.

It’s like RBIs. Not RBI. RBIs. Baseball has its own language, which is better than English. But I digress.

This World Series was a tough one. Not tough in that the Yankees weren’t playing. I got used to that idea along about June. It was tough because I had conflicting emotions. One night I rooted for the Cardinals -- although rooting for Red State teams is against my religion -- and on another night, I rooted for the Sawks.

I rooted -- well, maybe not rooted, but benignly tolerated -- the Sawks for a couple of reasons: the horror of the terror attack on the Boston Marathon and that I have so many friends and relatives who are sane Red Sox fans. A sane Red Sox fan realizes, for example, that Robbie Cano is a better player than Dustin Pedroia.

The marathon attack was personal. My son, his wife and their two babies, live in Hopkinton and go to the marathon every year. They were at the start and not the finish, but I have never seen my son so shaken by anything in my life.

He is as big a Yankee fan as I -- well, maybe not quite -- but he proudly wears his Yankee gear around the neighborhood.

When I rooted for the Cardinals it mainly was to prolong the series. Nothing like a Game 7. But you know, I find them and their fans a bit annoying. Maybe it’s that Midwestern, never say anything negative, stuff. They never boo at Busch Stadium. I’ve been there. On a typical day you can hear someone ordering a beer from across the infield.

I sat next to a guy who was reading a book one night at Busch Stadium. That’s grounds for ejection at Yankee Stadium and Fenway Park.

And they need props. Those silly towels. Have you ever seen the fans at Fenway or Yankee Stadium need towels to wave? Heck, we yell and shake the building. In St. Louis they need towels. Maybe they use them to mop up spilled beer. If you get beer spilled on you in Boston or New York, it’s a badge of honor.

So my son and I rooted for -- or tolerated -- the Sawks. In 2013. Not again. But this year, yes. So when the Sox won, I sat on my living room couch and smiled. Didn’t jump around with glee. I reserve that for Yankee championships.

Then my friends.

My late mom, who died on July 1, was a Red Sawks fan. The priest who officiated at her funeral, Fr. Greg Galvin, the former Xavier High chaplain who once sang the National Anthem at Fenway, and whose dad died the same day as my mother, texted me the morning after the Sawks won. He said he believed both my mom and his dad had rooftop seats for the clincher.

I’m supposed to be unhappy the Sawks won?

I have a good friend named Tony. He and his partner Ken are Sawks fans of the first order. We have spent many a day at Yankee Stadium and Fenway Park. Tony and I have an unwritten rule: we leave the game on the field.

The ultimate test of that was Game 7 in 2003. You remember. Aaron Boone.

We went to that game together and sat in the left field bleachers, about 6 miles from home plate. The game was the greatest game I ever saw. But we did not say a word to each other about it once we fought our way out of delirious Yankee Stadium. We walked through the crowds dancing on River Avenue. Got in the car, listened to the postgame show. Got home, dropped him off and he said, “Thanks.”

We have never talked about the game in the decade since. Better that way.

We do not engage in the idiocy of some Sawks and Yankee fans. When I go to Fenway, I don’t wear my Yankee gear. I used to, but took obscene nonsense from a woman one day -- she had the mouth of a longshoreman, no offense to the dockworkers -- and once had a hat yanked off my head.

Happens in da Bronx, too.

I think being a Yankee fan and sitting through a Sawks championship isn’t as tough as being a Sawks fan for so many years prior to 2004 and sitting through yet another Yankee championship. I admit to being spoiled.

I clearly remember Yankee titles in the late 1950s, 1961 and 1962, and went to playoff games and Series games in 1976. Yep, I was there for Chris Chambliss’ home run in the bottom of the ninth in 1976 against the Royals. I was at games in 1977, 1978 and 1981.

I was in the Stadium for Series games in 1996, 1998, the clincher in 1999, in 2000, in 2001 when President Bush threw out the first pitch, and for the clincher in 2009 against the Phillies. Yep, I was there for Mariano Rivera’s last World Series save. The last out was made by current Sox hero Shane Victorino, who hit a broken bat grounder to second.

I was there for David Wells’ perfect game against the Twins and David Cone’s perfect game against the Expos. And I was in Fenway the night Mike Mussina came within one out of a perfect game before that cretin Carl Everett -- a certifiable nut case who didn’t believe we sent men to the moon -- got a single in the ninth of a 1-0 Yankee win.

Trivia question: Who pitched for the Sox that night? Great irony: David Cone, the last guy to throw a perfect game.

The point is, the Yankees don’t owe me anything. So while seeing the Sawks win can be annoying, I take the long view. Since 1918, my team has 27 world titles. The Sawks have 3.

We win.



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