One Final Day in Paradise for My Father
My father was simply a Sox fan who died too young. A country kid from a town called Cornish, Maine. He died on June 2, 2005 at the age of 47 from leukemia. I was 10, my sister was 8.
He was born on November 13, 1958. He grew up a Red Sox, Celtics, Bruins, Duke and Raiders fan. A devout Raiders fan. I can still remember the argument he and my uncle (my mother's brother) had about the infamous "Tuck Game" between the Patriots and the Raiders. Whenever he talked about the Raiders, nearly everyone would say that he would make a better owner than Al Davis.
He was a great Celtics fan, but he also liked the Bulls for Michael Jordan and Lakers for Magic Johnson. He hated the FleetCenter (now TD Banknorth Garden), and always wanted the Celtics and Bruins to refurbish the old Boston Garden.
He wasn't really into the NHL, but he was a Bruins fan. However, he loved University of Maine hockey, especially during their glory years in the 1990s.
But most of all he was a Sox fan. He fell in love with the loveable losers in 1967, the year of Carl Yastrzemski and the Impossible Dream Red Sox of 1967.
The Red Sox had been terrible during the 1950s and 60s, but in 1967 the Red Sox won the American League Pennant, and took the St. Louis Cardinals to Game Seven in the World Series, which they eventually lost.
My father sat in front of a church and cried. The minister came out and asked hom what was bothering him. My father told him about how the Red Sox lost the World Series. The pastor replied, "You better get used to that, son!"
I fell in love with baseball during the 2003 ALCS between the Red Sox and the hated New York Yankees. I tried to watch as much of Game Seven of the '03 ALCS as I could, but as an 8-year-old, I fell asleep around the sixth inning.
I woke up at around 7:00 AM the next morning and ran into my mother and father's room. I asked my dad if the Sox had beaten the Yankees to win the pennant. He said no, and I actually broke down crying.
I tried to read about everything that had to do with baseball during the 2003-2004 offseason. I became a highly educated baseball fan.
But enough background stuff. My father took me to my first Major League on June 13, 2004. We were able to get tickets three rows behind home plate. We got the tickets from our next door neighbors, who had season tickets.
But going to Fenway Park to watch my beloved BoSox wasn't the only thing we did that day. We went to the top of the Prudential Tower, which is visible over the right-field facade.
There was some backstory to the game. The starting pitcher for the Red Sox was Pedro Martinez, facing his original team, the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The starter for the Dodgers was former Red Sox pitcher Hideo Nomo. It was also my favorite player, Nomar Garciaparra's third game back from that ankle injury which may have led to his eventual downfall from greatness.
The game starter late, at 8:05 Eastern, because it was being broadcast on ESPN. Due to the late time start, my sister, who was 7 at the time, was asleep by the third inning. Pedro immediatley gave up a hit to the first batter of the game. Pedro went on to pick him off less than 30 seconds later.
The game continued at a rather slow pace, with very few highlights. Nomar made a few nice plays at shortstop, and Pokey Reesem who was playing second for Boston, made a spectacular catch jumping about three feet in the air to snare a line drive off the bat of Milton Bradley.
His next time up, Pokey ripped a double off the Green Monster, to put the Red Sox up by three. The Red Sox eventually won 4-2.
At the time, I was just a 9-year-old kid. I never would've guessed that less than a year later (354 days to be exact) my father would be considered deceased. He passed away in the early morning. On that very same day, I would be on my fourth grade field trip to the State Capitol Building in Augusta, Maine.
Despite watching leukemia rage through my father, I will still think of the good times of the evening of June 13, 2004.
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