"He instinctively can find the shining greatness of our American culture and does a good job of highlighting it (although he also does have those rare lapses when he writes about hockey, but that is something caused by impurities in the Eastern waters or something)." Erik Keilholtz
Under the patronage of St. Tammany
Mark C. N. Sullivan is an editor at a Massachusetts university. He is married and the father of three children. Email
Reader Frank Solensky writes in and points out: “Here's an interesting factoid: you've no doubt heard the theory that if the Sox and Cubs ever met in the World Series a meteor would have to hit the earth before one team could win. An asteroid came within 55,000 miles of the earth last week, high and outside.”
I love the playoffs! I loved to pitch against the Yankees. I beat them like a redheaded stepchild. By the end of my American League career, someone told me that I was No. 3 in lifetime winning percentage against the Yankees. I asked who was No. 2, the man told me, "Babe Ruth." Go figure. No wonder Mr. Ruppert wanted the Babe in pinstripes.
When the Angels disposed of New York last year, some Red Sox fans were jumping for joy and celebration for the demise of the Yankees. I was ashamed. I take no satisfaction, unless I get to beat them myself.
I remember my first Opening Day appearance in Yankee Stadium in 1970. I came in out of the bullpen in the left-field corner a-whompin' and a-stompin', only to be greeted by an empty liquor bottle that careened off my chest. It was a glancing blow, but it was enough to "pump me up." I had come on in relief of Gary Peters in the sixth inning. Gary was my roommate. He taught me it was OK to drink beer in spring training, but when it comes to Opening Day in the Big Apple, go right for the VO.
Kindred spirit Jim Bouton, the NY pitcher turned Ball Four memoirist, also reminisces:
It was 1963 and the Red Sox had just won the first two games of a weekend series, with Radatz striking out the side in the ninth inning of each game and swaggering off the field with his Monster salute. On Sunday, the place was packed to watch Radatz do it again.
But he never got the chance. Pitching my best game of the year, I beat the Red Sox, 2-0. So far, so good. Then, for reasons it would take a therapist to explain, I got it into my head that I should march off the field with my arms raised over my head, just like Radatz. Boy, wouldn't that be funny?
Some joke. Before I even reached the foul line I had to start dodging things from the stands. Popcorn boxes. Half-eaten hot dogs. Cups of beer. Could bottles be far behind? My triumphal march to the dugout became a broken-field dash. It was lucky I wasn't killed -- depending on your point of view...
I loved pitching in Fenway Park. I loved the challenge, the excitement, the intimacy. (These days I like any ballpark not named after a bank.) I love the passion and the knowledge of the Red Sox fans. Most of all I love their loyalty.
"Why do they keep rooting for them?" my wife asked recently.
"Because it's going to feel so good when they finally win it all," I said. "For those who are still alive."
A precedent has been set for Boston beating New York for the AL pennant – 99 years ago (or two years after the Jules Verne-inspired moon above took a silent-film rocket in the eye). Here's more on the Year the Sox Beat the Yanks.