I watched the last two games of the 2004 World Series from the press box at Busch Stadium -- actually the auxillary box as an embed with the SI crew, who made room for a Christian Science Monitor credential holder otherwise slated for the way auxiliary outfield seats. They weren't pleasant games to watch for Cardinals fans or anyone who loves a good baseball game. You go to the World Series hungry to see the best, not a team that doesn't live up to expectations. I wasn't there as a fan but the disappointment seeped through the stadium, a miasma that was hard to shake on and off the field -- unless you were wearing red because you were part of Red Sox Nation.
Being on assignment for the Boston-based Monitor, I skipped the truly awful trip into the losing clubhouse (been there) for the champagne-soaked chaos of the visiting clubhouse. I wound up walking through the dugout behind the legendary Johnny Pesky, emerging while he was still being cheered. Red Sox players twirled their small children on the third base line; others took turns with cameras. It was an amazing moment to witness and an odd one. After all, this was the same field I stood on after Mark McGwire broke the home run record and yet for a moment it was Fenway in abstentia.
Today, Red Sox Nation came back to earth. They were in the real Fenway, watching another legendarily hapless team celebrate a sweep over the 2004 World Series champs -- and in the first round.
the first playoff series win since 1917 One stunned man sat motionless, with a kerchief over his face; another rubbed the back of a heartbroken boy while the winning team partied obliviously on and off the field.
It's the White Sox Nation's turn and the displaced, lifelong White Sox fan I call Dad is savoring every minute. When the White Sox meet the Cardinals in the World Series, I'm rooting for seven games worth remembering.