The Reinvention of the Red Sox

Mookie Betts (Monte Dutton sketch)

Clinton, South Carolina, Monday, October 29, 2018, 1:13 p.m.

By Monte Dutton

Last night the announcers referred to the Boston Red Sox as “a storied team.” The five-game triumph over the Los Angeles Dodgers was the Red Sox ninth World Series title. The first five were in the first 20 years of the 20th century.

Until 2004, the team that has been my favorite since I was nine years was chiefly known for going 86 years without winning the World Series. The Red Sox lost, each time in seven games, in 1946, 1967, 1975 and 1986.

Clayton Kershaw (Monte Dutton sketch)

The Boston Red Sox are great early in centuries. Last night marked their fourth world championship since the century turned.

Manager Alex Cora’s first Boston team became the first ever to defeat two other teams with 100 or more victories, the New York Yankees and the Houston Astros, en route to the title. It became the first to defeat the two teams in the previous year’s World Series, the Astros and the Dodgers.

Tuesday, October 30, 11:37 a.m.

LA won last night. Laurens Academy defeated a team called Tri-Academy (formed with players from three neighboring schools) 44-6 in a football game postponed to Monday.

Thomas Lowry (Monte Dutton photo)

It was my first eight-man football game. The field seems awfully roomy. Laurens Academy’s sophomore quarterback, Thomas Lowry, made me think of Fran Tarkenton.

I asked Thomas if he’d ever heard of Tarkenton. He said no. I told him to look him up on YouTube.

11:59 a.m.

In 2003, the last of the Red Sox horrors, I was sitting in a motel room in Eden, North Carolina, when Aaron Boone hit the home run off Tim Wakefield that sent the Yankees to the World series.

As soon Boone hit it, without a word, I got up and left the room. My roommate – we were both writing about the NASCAR races at Martinsville – thought I might jump into the Smith River.

I just drove around aimlessly for about 30 minutes.

The Red Sox used to take years off my life.

Fenway Park (Pixabay photo)

The next year everything changed miraculously. I was covering a then-Busch Series race at Charlotte on the night the Yankees took a 3-0 ALCS lead by defeating the Red Sox 19-8. Then the Red Sox did what no baseball team has done before or since. They won four straight, two in Boston and the final two in New York. For good measure, they won four more straight, sweeping the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series.

As Robert Frost wrote, “… that has made all the difference.”

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(Cover design by Steven Novak)

Lightning in a Bottle, the first of my two motorsports novels, is now available in audio (Audible, Amazon, iTunes) with the extraordinary narration of Jay Harper.

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About Monte

For 20 seasons, I mostly wrote about NASCAR. I'm still paying attention, but I'm spending more of my time these days writing novels and songs. I try to blog regularly on whatever happens to strike my fancy.
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