On our recent trip to Manhattan, the Lady Friend and I discovered that life is not easy for a Red Sox fan in New York. We were on our way to the Museum of Modern Art when I couldn’t remember if the entrance was on 53rd or 54th Street.
As we deliberated we spotted a cop talking to a fellow officer in a patrol car. I stepped towards him. “Excuse me, officer, but could you tell me where …” And that was as far as I got. The cop turned around, and taking note of my cap, said, “I don’t give directions to people wearing Red Sox hats.” Then he broke out into a broad smile. He put his hand over his heart and declared, “The Yankees are my soul.” Then he directed us to the museum entrance.
When I was living in New York I took in an occasional Red Sox-Yankee game. It was during one of those contests that a fellow in the next row tapped my back. He objected to my cheering for Boston. I was a guest in Yankee Stadium, he said, and should restrain myself. When I wheeled around I came face to face with a towering brute. For reasons I can’t explain, I replied, “It’d take a bigger man than you.” Nothing happened. And I’m still wondering why. When I told the Lady Friend the story, she asked, “Did you stop cheering?” I said I didn’t remember. But I think I did.
One night I occupied a box seat at Yankee stadium. The neighboring box was occupied by Norman Mailer. The famous writer, I recalled, went to Harvard. I forgot — or didn’t know — he was born in New Jersey and raised in New York City. So when the Red Sox scored in a crucial inning, I blundered when I said to Mailer, “We showed those Yankees, didn’t we?” To my dismay, the irrepressible author exploded in unprintable language. In sum, he was no Red Sox fan.
For many of our friends and family it’s been a bum baseball year, with the A’s losing in the fifth game to Detroit, and the Giants going nowhere. But in one little house in the Bay Area, hope is still alive.
This article originally appeared in the San Leandro Times.