Why Are You Going To Boston, Daddy ?

9 Apr

The first time Jeff asked the question was when he was just over 3 years old and, by then,  a full-fledged Yankees fan.  And although the answer was quite straightforward-I have been a day tripper to Boston for business purposes since before Jeff was born-I thought I’d give him an answer that he’d find much more interesting and fun.

“I’m going there to put a curse on the Red Sox, little man,” I told him.  The squeal of delight that I received in response is something that I remember to this day, and his reaction cemented a ritual that has continued from that day all the way to the present.  Prior to every single trip to Boston since that day in 1990, I have proactively informed Jeff, and then Drew and Brett as well once they were old enough to have achieved certified Yankees fan status, that I was headed to Boston to put a curse on the Red Sox.  And until 2004, my kids thought I was truly a magic man and could do no wrong.  After the debacle of that year, I assured them all that I still had the midas touch but just had an off year.  They seemed to buy into that notion.

Fast forward to last week, March 31st to be precise.  I had a closing dinner in Boston that night, but I made sure to let Drew and Brett know the real reason for my trip.  And the best part of all  was that, in a wild coincidence, March 31st was the season’s opening day !   Upon entering the city, I did my best to put an extra strong curse on our arch rivals.  As I was doing so (and I will never reveal how I do this), a thought occurred to me: this season, I didn’t need to be at the top of my game as it pertained to ensuring Red Sox failure.  I would have all the help I needed from above from the biggest Red Sox nemesis of all.  Jeff’s spirit, which had already had a meaningful role in UConn’s most unlikely rise to the NCAA championship (blog post on this forthcoming once I conquer technical difficulties with uploading pictures), would have a field day ensuring that this year’s favorite to win the World Series-yes, the Sox-would bitterly disappoint their loyal fan base by succumbing to the pressure of great expectations.

Well, the proof is in the pudding, as they say.  For the first time since 1945, the Red Sox  started a season 0-6.  And as if that wasn’t enough, the AL East defending champion Tampa Bay Rays, ALSO have started the season 0-6.  Do you know what the odds are of such a thing happening at the SAME TIME to the two biggest threats to the Yankees supremacy in the AL East ?  Off the charts.  Virtually impossible.  But it happened.   As has been discussed frequently on this blog, several of Jeff’s friends have also seen signs of Jeff’s presence over these last painful months, and this is just the most recent example of the signs that I’ve seen.  It’s quite uncanny, and it gives me comfort to know that my beautiful son’s spirit is alive and well, and he is relishing these moments in which he can exert his influence.

At least in 1945, the Red Sox had a real world excuse for what became an 0-8 start.  They had just lost Ted Williams, Dom Dimaggio and Johnny Pesky to military service in World War II.   This season, however, they spent gobs of money on top free agents Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez, and they were annointed World Series favorites.  And so while they don’t know this, all the Sox players need to do to find the explanation for their woes is to look into the Heavens, where they will see a good-hearted soul who simply happens to be a huge Yankees fan, and who has been one since the day he was born.

I wish so much that you were still here with me, Jeff, so we could work together on my traditional method of putting a curse on the Red Sox.  But since you are not, I appreciate you taking some of the pressure off me by helping from above.  And your results have been spectacular (despite today’s Red Sox win, their first).  Nonetheless, I will forever let you know when I’m headed to Boston for a supposed business trip.  You and I, along with Drew and Brett, will always know the real reason for my journey.  Just please don’t tell my boss.

-Rich Klein


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