A mountain of feedback came in concerning the ALCS; below is a small, small part of it. There was just great passion in just about every letter. We also got about 800 letters on Navy football, making this one of the biggest weeks ever for The People's Voice.
Thanks for every last one of them. As always my individual response is in italics.
Now on to The People's Voice. …
THE ALCS (Game 7) ("The Big Dig" Oct. 21, 2004)
At times the Universe, in its mysterious ways, offers us an opportunity to right a wrong that has wounded us for too long a time.
Just after midnight, we witnessed such a moment in Yankee Stadium that few of the loyal Red Sox fans will ever forget.
This morning ... all is right in our world and we thank the Universe for its understanding and generosity.
Even if the Sox don't win the World Series, beating the Yankees like we did gives, by far, the most euphoric feeling I've known in all my years of being a Red Sox fan. If we'd come back and won like we did against any other AL team, it would have been great. But, doing it to the Yankees, at Yankee Stadium, is so far out there that nothing else compares.
Thanks for listening. I just had to express my joy. Not many folk in Arkansas can even relate. I may live in Arkansas but I'm a New Englander forever.
Fort Smith, Ark.
I understand why everybody hates the Yankees but to say the Red Sox "outclassed" and "humiliated" them is absurd!
Weren't the Sox favored? Didn't the series go seven games? Didn't the Yankees pound them the first three games? Didn't the Sox get lucky and squeak by with two extra inning wins in their own ball park? So what if the Yanks were up 3-0 and lost. It's better than getting swept. That would be humiliating.
Let their fans enjoy this for awhile and hope they don't choke in the World Series. The Sox would have to win the World Series the next five years to even put a "dent" in the Yankees legacy. (And wait till next year!)
So becoming the first team ever to blow a 3-0 series lead and getting drilled at home in Game 7 wasn't "humiliating"?
You hit a number of bull's-eyes in your "Big Dig" column, none more accurate than the observation that George's money got him neither heart nor chemistry.
What it has bought him is the "Curse of A-Rod." No team with A-Rod in the lineup has gone to a World Series.
Rodriguez was 2-for-17 over the last four games and left a number of critical runners on base. He had more than one opportunity to step up and get it done but he never came through. Most sadly, like the majority of his teammates during the final two games, his performance in front of the Yankee faithful was feeble and uninspired.
Woe be the Yankees for the curse is upon them.
Virginia Beach, Va.
Considering the hoopla last winter when the Yankees beat the Red Sox for Rodriguez, the Game 7 scene of him being lustily booed at the Stadium as Boston celebrated an incredible victory is Shakespearean.
I think describing "drunken taunts" from Yankee fans toward visiting Boston fans at last night's Game 7 is unfair. I'm not at all saying there were no drunken taunts, but, as a writer, you know that the description conveys an implicit universal criticism of all Yankee fans at the Stadium.
As a matter of fact, a friend and huge BoSox fan took his wife and four kids in full Red Sox regalia to the game last night and remarked that he'd never been treated more generously by Yankee fans than at that game – to the degree of even inviting his children to come down a few rows nearer the field to get a better view.
Fair enough. Obviously the taunts stood out and the kind acts didn't. I am sure the story you describe happened often. And certainly some Red Sox fans are not above the same ugly behavior in Fenway.
Another sleepless night in the other half of the world. Fox Sports had announced that they would actually broadcast "the game." But like the last three games they didn't. Istanbul is cold, especially at 3 a.m. when you wake up to watch your team play the most important game that you have ever witnessed as a fan.
I attended Boston University from 1993-1997 and lived in Boston till 1999, in the time of Mo Vaughn and Roger Clemens while they were still in Red Sox uniforms. I had arrived in Boston and in the U.S. for the first time, and hardly knew anything about the American lifestyle. My dormitory was at Kenmore Square, and the first truly American experience of my life was to follow the crowd that got off the T at Kenmore and walked to Lansdowne Street, with a childish curiosity and a foreigner's adventurous spirit, without actually knowing where the heck they were going.
Then there was the Green Monster. Kids, Irishmen, Italians, college guys, families, all there to watch this team called the Red Sox play against this other team called the Yankees in a stadium with a weird shape that didn't look like any stadium I had seen before in Europe or in my country. The game was called baseball. I had heard about baseball before. I had actually seen it on TV. But I knew nothing about the rules of the game. That day I bought ticket to the right bleachers.
That day, I found out that the Red Sox had actually not won the World Series since 1918. That day, it was a capacity crowd and they all cheered a team that had not won in almost 8 decades. That was impossible to me. Imagine Real Madrid not becoming champions for 8 decades. Imagine Man Unt. Imagine Juventus. Or my native and favorite soccer club Galatasaray. There wouldn't be a Real Madrid, or Man. Unt. or any other team if they had failed to win the championship year after year.
But Red Sox fans came out to support this desperate, this cursed team year after year. Years later, I found myself as one of those supporters. Today, I'm a proud Red Sox fan even if they don't win anything for another 8 decades.
But everything changed when Ortiz hit that homer in the 10th against the Angels. I started thinking, "Well, could it be happening this time? Can we go all the way?"
Without TV, the only source I could rely on to follow the game was Yahoo, again. Then came your piece. As I read it, I started crying. All the feelings I had kept inside as for almost 6 years, had come out as I read your article. Thank you for a marvelous description of that 7th game, "the game" for a Turkish Red Sox fan far, far away.
You made me proud once again, a proud member of the Red Sox nation.
This is perhaps the greatest description of what being a Red Sox fan (or a loyal fan of any team) that I have ever read.
I have appreciated your articles over the years. You're a great writer. But this article just won't do it for me. You owe the entire Red Sox nation a public apology for your "wonderfully kind words" a few days ago. I did a copy and paste to save them for this very moment, because I KNEW we would come back and beat the Yankees.
Here is what you said and I quote, "A history full of statistics will tell you it won't matter in the end. New York will win its 40th pennant, and Boston will wonder how or if they can ever beat the Yankees."
Dan, do the right thing and write your apology to us. We deserve it and so do the Red Sox.
Well, a history full of statistics did tell us Boston wouldn't win. But the Red Sox did what no baseball team ever did. Congrats to them. As for an apology, I'll get to mine right after 90 percent of Red Sox fans apologize for thinking they'd lose also.
When I planned this trip to Beijing several months ago, I don't know what I was thinking! I can only get game coverage online, through Yahoo and so for the past two days have been sitting in front of the computer, rubbing the belly of a happy Buddha, praying for the Red Sox.
Then today my Chinese friend lit some incense that seemed to help. The Buddha is a gift for my son-in-law, a long suffering Red Sox fan who lives in Framingham with my daughter ... so when they won yesterday, I called him (phone cards are great!) and he couldn't believe I was calling from China!
I still can't believe I didn't pay enough attention to the baseball calendar to be able to see all these games! Anyway, keep up the good writing and you can be sure I'll be in front of the computer in the morning (12-hour time difference, so it will be the morning of the following day), Buddha next to the monitor and incense burning. Dreams do come true and so WHY NOT?
I am 53 years old and have been watching major league baseball for 48 years. What I saw Curt Schilling do in game 6 of the ALCS is, without question, the most gutsy, unselfish, heroic single-game performance by a major league baseball player in the last half century.
I just wanted to let you know that I really enjoyed your article about Curt Shilling and the Red Sox. I had the opportunity of watching the Sox vs. the Yankees three times this series at Fenway. I have also watched almost every game this season. Today brings back terrible memories of Game 7 last year. Your article made last night's game seem so powerful that the Yankees aren't going to be able to stop the Sox now.
I can't stand it when athletes talk about God and reporters print it. Leave God out of it. We don't care!
Your description of the Tuesday night game brought back in such vivid detail the emotional and awe-inspiring performance of Curt Schilling. Thank you so much for including his powerful Christian testimony.
Flat Rock, Mich.
I've spoken to family and friends (all of whom are "baseball people") in California, Oregon, Texas, Indiana, Michigan and here in Ohio and we all say the same thing. The Astro/Cardinal series has been much better, and the media and baseball need to get over themselves and the mindset that everyone believes the center of the universe is in New York.
Oh yeah, if you're going to respond to my comment, type slowly and use small words. I live in the Midwest.
The NLCS was a great series, but there were some incredible games and drama in the ALCS also. I can't agree that the NLCS was "much better." I am with you on the "national" media's New York obsession, but in this case I believe it was warranted.
NAVY FOOTBALL ("In the Navy" Oct. 15, 2004)
Thank you on behalf of all Navy fans for a great article. I'm a junior here at USNA, and I've seen both extremes.
As a freshman, our team was (quite rightly) ranked as one of the worst in the country. But over the past two years, I've seen a true blossoming of football here. Believe it or not, it really does improve the morale of Midshipmen and our alumni out in the Fleet when Navy football has success.
We're very proud of our team because they share the same bond that every one of our 70,000 graduates share: a bond of pride, tradition and service to this great country. I don't know if we'll be a BCS buster this year, but whether we are or not, I can guarantee you that every Midshipman, past and present, is on board for the ride.
Great article regarding Navy. I was recruited by them in the early '70s - wound up playing for USC (two National Championships, three Rose Bowls and a Liberty Bowl) and have always kind of regretted not playing for Navy.
Long Beach, Calif.
I must tell you, if Navy has to become what the "elite BCS" schools are to join the club, I hope Navy never plays in another bowl.
Navy, and Air Force and Army for that matter, exemplify what college sports and SPORTSMANSHIP should be all about. These kids play for the pure love of the game, not for some ridiculous paycheck for playing on Sundays.
I have fallen in love with Navy football since my son enrolled in 1992. Thanks for a terrific article.
I appreciate the article because I served in the Navy and believe in those words "honor, courage, and commitment." I learned so much in the Navy about who I was and how hard work would get me there.
It is unbelievable to me that the boosters and athletic programs want to cheat the system to recruit these kids. You are teaching them the best method is the shortcut. You want these kids to work hard in the classroom and on the field, yet they are not doing honest work to get the kids there. I know it is a business and in business you need to take every advantage, but the Universities call themselves non-profits.
Falls Church, Va.
I am a Cadet at the U.S. Air Force Academy and I was an exchange cadet who spent one fall semester at the U.S. Naval Academy, and it made me proud when you described our values and priorities in service academies.
Football comes fourth, to character, military training and academics. With this in mind, recruiting "top-notch" athletes is impossible when they have to swear to an honor code, complete advanced engineering courses for 4 years, then they could be in Iraq 6 months after graduation. Competing at a Division I level really doesn't fit our 4,000-member schools.
But we do our best, and it really feels good to know the guys on our side of the ball have sworn to an honor code and have sworn their lives to defending the nation. That goes way beyond college football.
Cadet First Class Mathew Zulauf
U.S. Air Force Academy
Colorado Springs, Colo.
All I have to say is "God, Country, Notre Dame."
My recollection is that the Naval ROTC program at ND has produced a tremendous number of career naval officers (Marines, too). Not a committed felon among them, either. Ask Alan Page. This patriot is rooting for the Irish.
- Red Sox