October 21, 2004

Nike on the Red Sox

I don't know how many people noticed, but the first commercial of the first commercial break on Fox after the end of Game 7 was an ad that started with "1919" written at the bottom of the screen and above it, two young fans dressed in 1919-era clothes sitting the stands at Fenway Park with their parents on the side. The number at the bottom started increasing one year at a time, and every ten years or so the shot above changed to show the fans aging through the years. It reached 2004 with two rather elderly fans and presumably a son and grandson still rooting for their Red Sox, then faded to black with "Just do it" replacing the date at the bottom, followed by the Nike logo.

That was one very cool commercial.

Update: Here's the ad.

Wow

I've been a Red Sox fan for roughly ten years now, ever since I spent my first of three summers in Boston. Of course I'm much more of a Phillies fan -- if the Phillies and Red Sox meet in a World Series, you can bet I'll be rooting for the Phillies to sweep -- but I definitely root for the Sox. It ties in nicely with my "anyone but the Yankees" preference, too.

I'm also a student of baseball history (much less than I used to be, alas), so when the Yankees won the first three games of the ALCS I didn't need ESPN to tell me that no baseball team had ever come back from a 3-0 deficit. I'd actually missed most of the first three games, but I listened to Game 4 just to see if the Red Sox could win one. They did. Then I listened to the next two games, staying at work later than I'd planned each night because I didn't want to miss any pitches on the way home. (Today Brian told me that the local ESPN affiliate is 1050 AM, so now I know better.) Today I went home early to watch the game.

Wow. Coming back from down 3-0 to win four games in a row against a Yankees team with such an array of stars, winning the last two games in Yankee Stadium while starting one pitcher with a dislocated tendon and another who pitched so poorly this year that he lost his spot in the rotation is simply astonishing. We may never see a series like this again. (And I should note that the this year's NLCS is no slouch either. Unfortunately, like most of the country, I haven't been paying much attention to it.)

I was thinking a bit today about the difference between being a Phillies fan and a Red Sox fan. As a Red Sox fan, every year you have hope, you're strung along deep into the season, and your hopes are dashed, often in the most brutal way imaginable. As a Phillies fan, every spring training you have hope, and by June 1st or so you're thinking about the following season. Read the Red Sox coverage in today's Boston Globe to get a sense of how a city feels after, having been on the brink but defeated for so long, it finally reaches the top.

Except that this isn't the top -- it just feels like it. The Sox have to win the World Series to eradicate the Curse. And wouldn't it be fascinating if they did so against the Houston Astros? That would be a Texas-Massachusetts Series, just a few days before we're deciding another important Texas-Massachusetts contest. And wouldn't it be sweet if Massachusetts won both of those?