Book Review – Our Red Sox

There have been dozens of books released about the Red Sox since their historic World Series Championship in October. I’ve been sent a number of them and I’m still working my way through several. I expect to read more as time goes by. However I wanted to make a special mention of one book that I particularly enjoyed. Our Red Sox by Robert Sullivan.

Sullivan is the Deputy Managing Editor of LIFE magazine and Editorial Director of LIFE Books. He is also a lifelong Red Sox fan, having grown up in the Chelmsford/Lowell area, but he is now living with his family in the heart of Yankee country in New York, due to his job. He is a long time member of BLOHARDS, (Benevolent Loyal Order of the Honorable Ancient Redsox Diehard Sufferers of New York) which, for those newbies not familiar with the group, was SoSH before there ever was an Internet. Living in New York, he has a unique perspective on the Red Sox/Yankees rivalry as he is in the heart of enemy territory.

What really appealed to me about this book was how personal it is. You get to see the impact of the Red Sox on a New England family, the heartbreak involved in the losses, (which is not romanticized the way the national writers would describe it) and more importantly the joy and satisfaction in the eventual triumph of the Red Sox last fall. Among the tales in the book, Sullivan writes about taking his daughter to her first baseball game – a Lowell Spinners game – from which she is rushed to the hospital after being struck by a foul ball while playing in the playground at the park. He recalls that his uncle was one of the men who carried Tony C out of the ballpark that night in 1967 when he was struck by a pitch.

The best parts of the book from my perspective are the accounts of the 2003 and 2004 ALCS Series. Sullivan was at the games, sitting in the stands, both in Yankee Stadium and Fenway Park and describes his days and nights, his interaction with his friends, both Yankee fans and Red Sox fans during those epic series. (Including one of his friends who grew up a Red Sox fan in NH and moved to NY and became a Yankees fan. I, on behalf of the State of NH, disown that person.) The agony of 2003 is followed by the ecstasy of 2004. He mentions a one day buffer in New York after the Red Sox victory last fall. He wore his Red Sox cap the day after the win and Yankee fans were mostly congratulatory. The next day was a different story.

Next morning, I went to the city similarly accoutered as on the day after the Day. I received a different reception. "Take off the damned hat!" This was issued by someone on the other side of the street, passing the other way. That evening: "Boston sucks." All goodwill was gone, and I realized: I'm gloating. Yesterday, we were still in the event, and Yankee fans were passing a torch. Today, I'm wearing a hat indoors, in someone else's house. It's impolite. I would, I resolved, only wear the B-hat during the games. (And maybe at breakfast after a win.)

You can get a taste of the style of the book over at Time.com, where Sullivan has a new article up looking at the Red Sox after the first couple weeks of the season, entitled Our Red Sox, Still? As mentioned at the outset, there have been dozens of Red Sox books published since last fall, this one, in my opinion stands above just about all the others that I have read thus far and is one I will be glad to read again in the future.

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