Once upon a time in Red Sox Nation

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Pretty sure my inner Red Sox fan speaks for many of us.

grazianoI’d like you to do me a favor. Don’t worry, it’s nothing obscene. I’d like you to stop for a second and place your ear—either ear will suffice—to the screen you’re reading this on, be it on your laptop or a phone or an old-school computer monitor. 

Go ahead. No one is looking. I’ll wait. 

You heard nothing, right? This nothingness is the sound of the buzz surrounding the 2023 Boston Red Sox. 

You see, once upon a time, before I scribbled this column for Manchester Ink Link, I wrote a Red Sox column for a small newspaper in Boston called Dirty Water News. Much like “Not that Profound,” I tried to write something weekly but wasn’t contractually obligated. However, I liked doing it, and I really, really liked the Red Sox. 

Once upon a time, the Red Sox faithful would be rumbling long before the actual players reported for spring training. We would follow the Hot Stove like a soap opera, celebrating big trades or free-agent acquisitions. In fact, I might have cried when they signed Curt Schilling after the 2003 season—although it can neither be confirmed nor denied.

These days, however, the Red Sox tone-deaf owner John Henry and their smug Head of Baseball Operations Chaim Bloom—a low-rent version of the once-dynamic GM Theo Epstein—signed a few former All-Stars, a closer incapable of handling the new pitch-clock, and an overpriced Japanese outfielder. This was the sum of an off-season for a 2022 team that finished in last place in the AL East. 

Once upon a time, we celebrated Truck Day, which was the very definition of insanity. For the uninitiated, Truck Day is the day in February where a procession of 18-wheelers takes the teams’ equipment—the bats, balls, helmets, batting cages, etc—from Yawkey Way to Fort Myers. Historically, fans would gather outside Fenway Park to see off the trucks after the Red Sox late-poet laureate Dick Flavin would read some cheesy rhymed verse he’d compose for the occasion. 

This year, however, the trucks left without pomp or ceremony and merged anonymously with the Cisco rigs on the Mass Pike.

Once upon a time,  I would attend Opening Day at Fenway Park and was privileged to witness two ring ceremonies. Some of these games were played on bitter cold April days, but still it felt like a warm festival on Landsdowne Street, fans brimming with anticipation for the “boys of summer” returning for another run.

Now, I wouldn’t give an organization that charges some of the highest ticket prices and concessions in baseball, yet fields a last-place team—without making an earnest effort to rectify it—an American penny to watch their paltry product. 

Once upon a time, I woke my 1-year-old daughter in her crib and carried her downstairs so she could say that she watched the Red Sox win their first World Series in 86 years. And—this can be confirmed—I cried when closer Keith Foulke tossed the final out underhanded to first-baseman Doug Mientkeiwicz for the final out as Paige stared vacantly at the pictures on the television screen.

These days, the Red Sox are breaking my goddamn heart again. For all the wrong reasons.

About this Author

Nathan Graziano

Nathan Graziano lives in Manchester with his wife and kids. He's the author of nine collections of fiction and poetry. His most recent book, Born on Good Friday was published by Roadside Press in 2023. He's a high school teacher and freelance writer, and in his free time, he writes bios about himself in the third person. For more information, visit his website: http://www.nathangraziano.com