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Cup of Joe
The most hated man on campus
By Joe Kennerson
Monday, October 25, 2004
It was after Game Six of the Red Sox-Yankees series in which my friend proclaimed me as "The most hated man on campus." My column last week forced me to grow a beard and stay incognito from the rest of the University. I had people coming up to me that I didn't even know asking if they could take me to a realm that I had never seen before. I was a wanted man.
There was no way I could see it coming. Down 3-0 against the New York Yankees, home field advantage, and the best line-up in baseball with Curt Schilling injured? It is like saying the Patriots had a chance as 14-point underdogs in the Super Bowl against the St. Louis Rams. But they did, and somehow the Red Sox did also. And in the mean time there were signs posted throughout the campus "Wanted Dead or Alive" with my face on it. My column was no longer used as reading material, but my face posted on walls to be used as a dart board. Even I admit that I should have been locked in a pillory on Thompson lawn for at least three days.
But I've paid my dues. My Game Seven celebration was rejoiced with timid high fives. My roommates looked at me in a different way. I went down to the Main Street celebration, but I felt like a Yankee fan in disguise. I learned my lesson the hard way, a lesson that I will pass on for generations.
People all week asked me how I would counter my last column. How could I ever regain my readers after pulling a Henry Hill and turning against them? My uncle told me to play it off. "Tell them you were dizzy with desperation. Your writing mind was clouded by blind faith," he suggested. But I have to be honest, I lost faith. I let my anger overtake my passion.
But who would have believed? Who would have believed we could have won a seven game series without Manny Ramirez having one RBI? Who would have believed Curt Schilling would have been touched by God in pitching seven flawless innings on one ankle against the Yankees? Who would have believed that Bellhorn, while being booed the first five games would come through with two big homeruns?
In the mix off all this madness, we were lucky enough to witness the biggest game in baseball history. The Red Sox came back from a 3-0 deficit against the best team in any sport in the entire world. We watched the best closer in the history of the game fall apart. We watched Alex Rodriguez, supposedly known as the poster boy for baseball, play in a style Pete Rose would have been jealous of. The best feeling, however, even better than seeing the faces of Brian Cashman, Joe Torre and Derek Jeter in the dugout in Game Seven, is the fact that Red Sox fans finally feel superior to Yankee fans.
This is just like when team U.S.A. defeated Russia in the Miracle on Ice game in the 1980 Olympics. It wasn't the gold medal game, but fans reunited in something more than just a hockey game. That's what coming back from 3-0 against the Yankees is: it was more than just a baseball game. For the first time in our lives a Boston fan can walk by a person wearing a Yankees hat and know that you could actually say something or feel something that had meaning. The most pompous, stuck-up fans in baseball finally get to eat their words.
Now we stand just two wins away from completing a dream, but I still don't think what has just happened has sunk in quite yet. I sit back and watch the World Series, but it just doesn't feel like the World Series. St. Louis isn't a team that has bullied us around for decades. As far as I'm concerned win or lose the World Series, what we did to the Yankees will alter Boston Red Sox history forever.
If we do win two out of the next five games forgiveness will be spread all throughout Boston. Bill Buckner will finally be able to show his face again in New England. Grady Little will be welcomed back to Fenway Park. And yes, even school sports columnists, who were once unfaithful to the Sox, will be able to walk around without being claimed as "The most hated man on campus."
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