In September of 2004 we were dealt with one of the biggest blows you can hear. My Dad, had terminal cancer. The thing we shared more than anything was baseball. He gave me a glove at age 6, and we played all the time.
He was my ESPN, long before they existed. He held had the Red Sox on his transistor radio from March - the end of the season. He always had my updates, win, loss, homers, big plays . . . I didn't need sports center.
Although he watched every game for every sport, baseball was always the sport he connected with the most.
We watched the 1975 World Series together, 1978 Sunday game and Playoff game together, 1986 World Series . . . 2003 ALCS we lived through all the Red Sox nightmares together. What I always enjoyed and still miss to this day was his total understanding of the game. The little things most miss he had a eye for and they were always the plays that seemed to matter the most.
The last hope I had for Dad was to make it through the playoffs and maybe get a chance to see the Red Sox win it all. As Peter Gammon's has said, baseball in Boston is just different.
After the Red Sox swept through the Angels, which I had the pleasure of my daughters company for game 3 in Fenway. The Red Sox historically came back from being down 0-3 to win the American League Championship vs the Yankees.
I went to Game 3 and 5 with my daughter and for Game 6 I was with my Dad. The nurses let me stay late often in his room, so after a few hours of chatting it was game time. We starting watching the game, and of course the conversation was all about Schilling. Schilling gutted out a performance like something out of a story book. We discussed every pitch, the locations, it was like 1978 all over again (except they won this time).
We watched in disbelief as the umpires actually got the homerun call right for Mark Bellhorn. After 6 and half innings, I had to leave but the nurse allowed Dad to use her cell phone so we could talk. Which we did all the way home, it was a hour ride back home. He did a better job then Joe Costig . . . no offense Joe :-). Things got a little crazy during the A Rod play of course, but he said it was clear A Rod slapped the ball out of Arroy's hand.
I can recall his last words that night, I said to him what if they actually win? He said we will have nothing to complain about any more.
The Red Sox of course wiped away 86 years of pain, and he did get to see it happen. It will always be that game, and sharing those moments that will be my greatest memory.
- Tom, Amesbury, MA