Bygones, Shmygones: Bill Buckner Ruins Boston's Opening Day Celebration

Sean Crowe@CroweKnowsSenior Writer IApril 8, 2008

I’m not a huge fan of overblown championship ring celebrations prior to a regular-season game in the following year.   I’d much rather the teams get it over with during the offseason. 

I’m sorry—I know I’m a party-pooper, but I just don’t particularly like having my sports team looking back at the previous year once the new one has already started. 

The 2008 Red Sox have nothing to do with the 2007 Red Sox.  The 2008 season should not be impacted by the 2007 season.

There’s a contingent of Red Sox fans who believed that the 2005 Red Sox should have gotten a pass because the 2004 Red Sox won a championship. 

That’s complete balderdash. 

If I’m spending $400 to bring my family to a Red Sox game (not counting parking and food, of course), then the Red Sox should win every season...or face the wrath of a guy who just spent a month’s salary to sit in a cramped seat built for a guy half my size that’s facing directly towards a pole.

I’m not sure how this point can even be debated.

I’ll concede that most fans seem to enjoy the opening day ceremonies, but can we at least make them tasteful? 

Give out the rings, honor the previous season’s team, and raise a banner.  

Don’t have Neil Diamond on the big screen singing "Sweet Caroline" with Katie Couric's former boyfriend waving his arms, making a fool of himself while trying to pretend he’s enjoying it. 

Owners should cut checks and cheer on their team.  That’s it.  Please stop reminding me that you’re nothing more than a rich LA dork.

Anyway, I’m a little annoyed tonight because my home opener was ruined by the whole “Bill Buckner’s Redemption and Forgiveness” storyline.

Way to ruin a good celebration, Red Sox.

I don’t blame Buckner for 1986. 

I place all the blame for Game Six on the following people, in the following order: 

1) John McNamara for not putting Dave Stapleton in at first base in the ninth inning (like he had done every other game, all season long).

2) Roger Clemens for allowing John McNamara to pull him (or for asking out of the game, depending on who tells the story).

3) Bob-Stanley-Calvin-Schiraldi for generally sucking. 

So if we’re going to play the forgiveness game, let’s invite them back.  I certainly still haven’t forgiven them. 

Maybe the championship celebration would have put me in a forgiving mood (not likely, but maybe). 

They can get their standing ovation, throw out the first pitch, and we can all let bygones be bygones.  Everyone can leave happy.

But no, we need to bring back Bill Buckner.

The people who hate Bill Buckner aren’t Red Sox fans—they’re media types who used to make money peddling the Curse and using his error (in a game that was already well on the way to being blown, by the way) to propagate their stupidity across America and pass it off as the feelings of Red Sox Nation.

Every time Buckner's name is brought up, history is completely rewritten to make Red Sox fans look bad.

Boston hates Buckner.  Boston never forgave Buckner.  Boston blames Buckner for the Curse.

It’s all crap.  Garbage.  Hogwash.

In 1990, Bill Buckner made his triumphant return to Boston.  This was four short years after the 1986 World Series, when old wounds were still fresh on Red Sox fans’ minds. 

So, given the way things have been portrayed, we must have booed him off the field, destroyed his confidence, eaten his first born, and banished him to Canada.  After all, we’re the awful Red Sox fans who blamed our cursed baseball team on his bad fielding, right?

As a matter of fact, Buckner received a five-minute standing ovation on Opening Day.  Five minutes.  Not a mixed reaction, not a smattering of boos—an overwhelming standing ovation.

Bygones were bygones, we all sang kumbaya, and we all loved each other again.

People love to pretend that never happened.  They love to demonize the evil Boston sports fans who turned a pretty decent baseball player into a sympathetic punchline.  Bringing him back reminds the rest of the world how ridiculous Red Sox fans are—even though the Red Sox fans have absolutely nothing to do with how he’s been portrayed.

It’s ESPN, who shows the highlight every time a team chokes in the playoffs.  It’s Dan Shaughnessy, who should have paid Buckner a percentage of every penny he’s ever earned seeing that he built a career off of linking Buckner to his invented Curse.  It’s the local sports TV stations in Boston, who continue to replay the Buckner error every time the Red Sox face the Mets in interleague play.

It’s not the fans.  We could care less.  We moved on.

Buckner said it right in his press conference yesterday: His issue was really with the media.  I was glad to hear him say it, since I’ve heard him say some pretty negative things about Red Sox fans in the past.

Anyway, I lost my point entirely…

To sum this thing up, Bill Buckner should not have been a part of what was supposed to be a happy celebration.  Save the ridiculous emotional healing crap for Dr. Phil.

By the way, Dice-K looked pretty good yesterday.

I’m SeanMC.


SeanMC is a Senior Writer at Bleacher Report. His archive can be found here. You can find everything he writes, including articles for other publications, here.


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