As I read stories this winter about how I was supposed to feel after finally winning a World Series championship, I thought about my perspective as The Season After dawned. I didn't follow spring training as rabidly as in past off-seasons, so I wondered if some distance come between me and the Red Sox.
After the bitter end of the 2003 season, it took only a few weeks before I was itching for the terrible wrong that had been inflicted on my team to be set right. Getting another chance at the Yankees was paramount and the A-Rod-Schilling-Foulke hot stove action only increased the anticipation.
Beating the Yankees again this summer is imperative -- and could we win the fooking division this year, please? -- but I don't sense the maniacal drive I felt in April 2004. I suppose winning takes some of the edge off.
Having the Red Sox begin the season in the Bronx is drawing the usual media moaning about having such intense games scheduled "too early," but this is exactly what we need -- an electric shock -- literally, a Randy Johnson fastball -- to kickstart the season. It shouldn't take long before we're all at the high level we were at five months ago.
Yankee fans are still smarting over their team's unprecedented choke job last October. At least, I assume they are. I don't have actual contact with any diehard Yankee fans anymore. (Yes, my partner Laura is now rooting for the Red Sox. She explains her transformation here and here and has threatened me with serious bodily harm if I try to take credit for "turning" her.) Those fans want to end those incessant "Year 2000" chants and Red Sox fans want to show the world that 2004 was not a fluke. I don't see how there can be any letdown on either side.
The Globe's Kevin Paul Dupont talked to a few fans about this topic:
Tim Melligan, 36: "It starts all over again, this Sunday. ... And now that you've won the Series, hey, the idea is to win every single year. Is that asking too much, really? I don't think it is.""Win so easy that it's not even like the World Series." I can really relate to that. Even rewatching the post-season last month, it was sometimes hard to grasp the magnitude of what the Red Sox were doing. I'd always expected that when Boston won the World Series, it would be an exhausting, nail-biting battle. I never expected a sweep; that was surreal in its own right, a little anti-climatic. The four games were over before we had fully emerged from the haze of winning the pennant.
Dave Kazanjian, 43: "The way I see it, if anyone says they're content now, they weren't a true fan to begin with -- those are the bandwagon guys. Free pass? Never. You taste victory after 86 years, and finally know how good it is, you want that again."
Lloyd Benson, 53: "For the first time in my life, I don't care. I know it might sound trite, but hey, they won, and I'm a happy guy now no matter what happens -- and I can honestly say that I never thought I'd get to that point in my life."
Patsy Valentine: "Now that they've won, I kind of feel they can do no wrong. I don't know if I should feel that way, but I do."
I'm not seriously afraid of becoming less of a fan. But all of us have become different fans, whether we like it or not.