First let me thank all of you who came to my blog and sent so many great messages. I am posting here my statement explaining the withdrawal of my candidacy in favor of Regular Rob Crawford. When I heard him talk at a candidate night last week I was so taken by his statement that this would transform his life in a way that it wouldn’t for those of us who already have access to radio and television and I realized that he is absolutely right about the importance of having a regular fan as the president of our Nation. I hope that all of you will support this wonderful teacher, coach and father. He will lead the Nation with integrity and enthusiasm and will set a high bar for future presidents. Of that I am sure. So here is the statement I taped from the ballpart which will be shown at the top of the televised debate Friday night.
Hello everyone. Let me start by saying that it is a terrific idea to create a president of Red Sox Nation. We have seen the impact that loyal Red Sox fans have made in every city where the Red Sox play ? transforming our opponents? ballparks into replicas of Fenway Park. With a president to lead us, this incredibly loyal fan base can be expanded even more – sustaining the morale of our players wherever they go.
Speaking of loyalty, my esteemed rival Jerry Remy, in lighthearted fun, has questioned my candidacy for this office, arguing that I grew up in New York as a Brooklyn Dodger fan, that it would be like making Tommy Lasorda president of Red Sox Nation. First, I confess that I did indeed love the Brooklyn Dodgers from the day when my father taught me how to keep score at six years of age so that I could recount for him that evening every play of every inning of the game that had taken place that afternoon.
Even then, however, I had much in common with Red Sox fans for I hated the Yankees with all my heart, even to the point of having to confess in my first holy confession that I wished harm to others ? namely that I wished various New York Yankees would break arms, legs and ankles so that the Dodgers could win their first World Series. The priest asked me how often do you make these terrible wishes and I had to admit every night when I say my prayers.
But though I loved the Brooklyn Dodgers with all the passion of a child I never for one moment followed them to Los Angeles. The move to LA broke my heart so much so that I couldn?t bear to watch baseball again until I came to school in Boston in 1964 and my boyfriend took me to Fenway Park. There it was again: an old ballpark scaled to human dimensions complete with passionate, knowledgeable fans. Before the day was over, I had fallen in love again. Nor could I have found a new team more reminiscent of the Brooklyn Dodgers ? a team constantly bedeviled by the hated New York Yankees.
So I would hope that more than four decades as an irrational Red Sox fan is long enough to qualify me as a candidate for president as Red Sox Nation.
But something happened in my heart last week when I joined my fellow candidates at the Baseball Tavern. Just before I spoke, I heard a moving speech from one of my rivals. He pointed out that he wasn?t a TV personality, a famous columnist, a Pulitzer Prize winner, that the honor of becoming president of Red Sox Nation would transform his life in the way it wouldn?t for those of us who already have various honors, and that as a regular fan he could best represent Red Sox Nation. I agree with him. And so persuaded was I by his appeal that I hereby announce that I am withdrawing my candidacy and endorsing Regular Rob Crawford for president, hoping that any one who might have supported me will now support him.
As a teacher, he is in the perfect position to carry out my hope that schoolchildren can be made to love math by learning in class how to compute ERAs, batting averages, slugging percentages.
As a coach, he is in the perfect position to persuade the Big Wigs to schedule more afternoon games on the weekends and during the postseason so that young fans can share in the excitement.
I love his idea that season ticket holders agree at the start of the season to donate at least one game?s tickets to children who have no access to Fenway. And, as a season ticket holder myself, I hereby agree to donate some of my own games to get his program started.
I ask only in return that he fight for an idea of mine – to do on a much larger scale what the Colorado Rockies have done ? to have the Red Sox set aside an area ? in our case all of Yawkey Way and even Landsdowne street – covered by bricks allowing fans to buy an engraved brick in honor of someone in their family. My sister, who lives in Denver, bought a brick at Coors Field commemorating my father but I would love to see one here in honor of Michael Francis Aloysius Kearns.
Most of all, however, I hope that after we are long gone, our children?s children will speak with wonder about these years ? when a high spirited fan base led by a series of inspired presidents. helped to give birth to a dynasty that ruled the 21st century!
In the anxious weeks ahead it is important for us to draw strength from the memory of our triumph in 2004, to know that what we accomplished then can be accomplished again ? this year, this fall! In keeping with that spirit, I am attaching here an article that I wrote in the wake of the World Series win as a reminder of the great spirit that we shared during that glorious time. By the way, it?s been fun hearing from you about the superstitions we share, the crazy ways we handle the stress of tight games.
My sons were still boys when the Sox lost the World Series in 1986. They had not lived through the heartbreaking losses in 1967 and 1975. They had not witnessed Bucky Dent?s bloop homerun in 1978. Finding me in tears, they rushed to console me. ?Don?t worry, Mom, they?ll win next season.? I didn?t have the heart to remind them that we hadn?t won since 1918, and that the chance might never come again in our lifetime. Forcing a smile, I said. ?That?s right, there?s always another season.? There would be time enough, I thought, for them to learn a harsher truth. But not yet. Not till they?re older. Then, as they continued their concerned assurances, I realized that my mature wisdom was a deception. They were right. They were absolutely right. There would be another season. There would be another chance.
That chance came in 2004 ? a season that will occupy our imagination for as long as we live. While reason suggests that we won the World Series because, in the end, we had better pitching than the Cardinals, those of us who still hold to the belief that the actions of the fans influence the fortunes of the team can take heart from the strange dynamic between the fans and the players that developed in the course of the miraculous surge.
It took hold, I suggest, because this group of players believed so strongly in themselves that they cast a spell upon us, and once we truly believed in them, it redoubled their strength. The best men, Eleanor Roosevelt once said, thinking of her husband, retain all their lives, a lot of the little boy in them. This team played like boys ? high-spirited, fun loving, confident boys, untroubled by past demons, enjoying every minute of the game. Even before they won it all, they had transformed us from cowards assuming the worst into bravehearts expecting the best.
The transformation was not easy. I was still my old self during the Anaheim series. When the Angels were up with men on base, I became so agitated that I had to leave the room, hoping that when I returned, the inning would be over and we?d be up at bat. When Anaheim scored five runs in the seventh inning of the third game, I was sure the downhill slide had begun. We?d lose this one, and the next one and the one after that. But David Ortiz had different thoughts in mind when he came to bat in the bottom of the tenth, cranking out our generation?s shot heard round the world.
Old habits die hard. After each of the first three losses to the Yanks, I couldn?t bear to read the newspaper, even though I was supposed to be commenting on the election. Thoughts of my first confession resurfaced ? when I had to tell the priest that I wished harm to others, namely that when I said my prayers at night I wished that various New York Yankees would fall down their stoops, cutting their knees, spraining their ankles, or even breaking their legs.
But while I was consumed with darkness, our boys of summer had the character and heart to see us through. The improbable win in game four led to the thrilling victory in game five. Watching games six and seven with a dozen friends, I no longer felt the need to run away when the Yanks were up ? well, not quite true. In the seventh game I suffered a temporary relapse, running coatless into the night air at a critical moment. The cheers from our frenzied group carried me back to enjoy the rest of the game and then the spectacular moment when we finally, finally, beat the Yanks.
From that moment on, I was no longer afraid. I watched every play of every inning of the four games with the Cardinals, never once closing my eyes or running away. The gutsy team had altered my image of myself as a fan. Gone was the constant dread that had been my companion through decades of loving the Sox. The players? exuberant faith in themselves was contagious. Whatever happened they would see us through. And they surely did, bringing us an historic victory that, with luck, may have forever altered our temperaments as Red Sox fans.
I must confess when I woke up yesterday morning I kept wishing it was already night and the game had been won, dispelling the cloud of anxiety that inevitably followed Black Friday. Saturday’s victory could not have been a better game for redemption – so good that I found myself able to sit in my seat the whole time without seeking refuge when the Yanks were up. Well, not quite true. When it was still 1-1 in the top of the fifth I set forth for the rest room in hopes that when I came back the Yankees would be out. And hope was realized! It did seem that the ball that hit Youkilis changed the tempo of the team, not simply because the fleet of foot Ellsbury arrived, but it somehow injected a new resolve into our guys. It was interesting to read in the NYTimes today about the Cubs fans who, despite being now in first place, keep remembering blown leads in the past, making it impossible for them to relax and enjoy these days. How well this describes so many of us over the years though it does seem after 2004 that we are less psychotic than we used to be and as I’ve said before, that strengthed belief in our team is critical to their continued success. It’s been great fun to get your comments, to hear your superstitions, to receive kind comments from my fellow candidates.
Having spent my life researching dead presidents who communicated only with letters written in longhand, this is a new experience for me so before I begin I am using this posting as a test to see if it actually works