Well kids, as I predicted on these pages a few weeks ago, the Red Sox are headed to the World Series! (That’s a lie, I had Boston losing to Cleveland in the ALCS)
I have been blessed over my 27+ year career in television to cover three World Series’. 2004, 2007, and 2013 (All Red Sox wins)
There is no doubt, the World Series is special. In 2004, it transcended sports for obvious reasons, 86 years, the fact that Grady Little left Pedro in for too long in 2003, etc.
Being on hand to watch the beating of the Yankees in the ALCS and in the process becoming the first team to ever come back from down 3-0, was nothing short of religious.
Now here’s the thing about being in the media. You’re not ‘allowed’ to cheer for a team. It’s actually written on your credential. No cheering, no selfies, no autographs. You’re doing a job covering others who are doing theirs.
That was first put to the test for me in 2001 when the Patriots won the Super Bowl. I WANTED to jump in Tom Brady’s arms and give him a giant hug. I settled for sticking a microphone in his face.
It was even harder to contain myself in 2004. Maine resident and ski mogul Les Otten owned a percentage of the team back in 2004. So knowing him, I had an ‘in’ with the Sox. Les was a regular live guest for me as we went through the ALCS and after game 7 in Yankee Stadium. Him pouring champagne over my head on live TV was a top 10 moment in my career.
So then it was onto the World Series. Two wins at Fenway, a quick flight to St. Louis, more wins, and just like that it was over. As Keith Foulke tossed the ball to first base, me (and about 50 other media members) ran onto the field to start interviewing the celebrating Sox. What inner Lee wanted to do, was cry, scream, cheer. Tell my grandfather in heaven that the Sox had FINALLY done it. I longed to call my dad, my friends, everyone!
What I did, was get laser focused on my job.
“There’s Pedro, let’s talk to him, Schilling is to my left, Damon is to my right, there’s Varitek, anyone seen Papi?” was how me and my photographer Dennis Doyle took in this historical moment. Game’s over, let’s get to work. We did all the interviews, got soaked by champagne in the locker room, did our live hits for the news, shot things for the morning show the next day, and before we knew it, the stadium was almost empty. And there we were, on the field in St. Louis and having covered arguably the biggest moment in New England sports history.
I remember on the way back to the hotel that night, we pulled over at a ‘package store’, bought two beers, got back to the room, and drank them before passing out from exhaustion. That was our celebration, and it was amazing.
2007 in Denver was amazing as well, but the historical magnitude was not there for obvious reasons. And then in 2013, finally, I was able to see a World Series celebration in Boston for the first time. That was pretty special.
This year for the first time since I started in this business I will not be covering the Sox in the World Series this time around. It’s time for other people to get to experience what I have been so blessed to do. 7 Super Bowls (5 wins, 2 losses), 3 World Series’ (all wins), 1 NBA finals (win) and 2 Stanley Cup Finals’ (1 win, 1 loss) more than a kid from Maine could ever dream of and then some.
Plus, now that I won’t be at the games in an official capacity, I am allowed to cheer. GO SAWX!!!!