It was the best of times, it was the worst of times....
October 25, 2001 3:06 PM   Subscribe

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.... for Boston Red Sox fans. This story from's Page 2 about Game 6 of the 1986 World Series is well-written and fills me with sympathy and empathy for Sox fans. See, as a Yakee fan, I was rooting against them at the time, but I feel sorry for them now. What a cruel punishment that game must have been. So close, and yet so far. (Please pardon my sports digression and shameless use of cliches.)
posted by msacheson (34 comments total)
A cruel punishment will be after Game 4 of the current World Series when the Diamondbacks trounce the Shankees and the entire world will delight in watching Derek "Call Me A Cab" Jeter wipe that stupid smirk off his face.
posted by theJaybird at 3:33 PM on October 25, 2001

Great essay. I was 14 years old in '86, born and raised in New York. My whole family had given up, gone to bed, only I stayed up to watch the end of game 6. I thought I was dreaming when the Mets won it.

Later, I went to college in Boston and almost got my ass kicked several times for bringing it up.
posted by Ty Webb at 3:39 PM on October 25, 2001

I can't read the link. Tried. Can't. I've been a BSG fan since back when he was actually the BSG and not ESPN's homogonized "Sports Guy," but even he's not reason enough to relive the whole thing. Yuck.

Unfortunately, the Yankees will not lose. The only comfort will come in the afterlife, when one notices that Heaven is suspiciously free from Yankee fans. And Yankees.
posted by yerfatma at 3:42 PM on October 25, 2001

theJaybird: Then, the Yankees will win Game 5 for a 4-1 Series victory and Derek Jeter will be named MVP.

It's destiny.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 3:43 PM on October 25, 2001

Self-imposed silence or not, I gotta post on this one. Bill Simmons used to have his own site,, until he was offered a cushy 3-column-a-week spot at His writing is terrific, definitely a must read column from ESPN's Page 2.

My personal story: I was watching that series as a 10-year-old, leaping up and down in the living room as we were "one strike away". That elated moment and the heartbreaking ones that followed are captured by wonderfully Bill Simmons in this piece (if you look in his archives, he's written some other good '86 and Red Sox pieces), and that Series epitomized for many Boston fans our unusual history and emotions when it comes to rooting for this team. It still hurts to relive that moment, but sometimes you just gotta have the catharsis, especially in October when the Yankees are playing...

Interestingly, this year many BoSox fans began actively rooting against the Red Sox about when they fired Jimy Williams; while still a BoSox fan at heart, I can't root for that team until it cleans house from management on up.

That said, I'm so rooting for the Diamondbacks; as a Seattleite, I think all that national media rimjob about Yankees mystique and that organization's class were fully dispelled when, after a humiliating 14-3 loss to the M's in game 3 of the ALCS, the key players like Jeter and Williams left the dugout before the game ended to shower and be out of the clubhouse 10 minutes after the last out- so they wouldn't have to face reporters. Real "class" there... sounds more like a spoiled sense of entitlement from the richest team in professional sports.
posted by hincandenza at 3:44 PM on October 25, 2001

Somewhere in the world (more likely a recycle pile) there is a biology book with teethmarks on it from me trying not to scream out loud (and wake my parents) when the Mets won Game 7. Until 1986 I could get on a Red Sox fan's good side (when they found out I was from the NY area) by saying "Oh, but I root for the Mets, not the Yankees". The essay does make me feel sympathetic for the BoSox, but I spent years being ridiculed for rooting for "such a lame team" that the victory is nothing but sweet for me.
posted by girlhacker at 3:50 PM on October 25, 2001

Well see, the good news about the Yankees winning this Series (improbably: never mind Seattle, how did they ever beat Oakland?) is that we'll never have to read another story in the Boston Globe about how Sox fans are rooting for the Yankees and New York this year. The Yankees getting this far through the playoffs has set everyone's personal barometers back to "Hate."

It's like the Kennedy Assasination: I was sitting in our family room, in the seat furthest from the television, pretending to skim a copy of some magazine when Schiraldi, Buckner, et al fufilled their cosmic destinies. The magazine flew in a perfect straight line, 30 feet into a family heirloom. Goodbye Series, goodbye mom's treasure.
posted by yerfatma at 3:52 PM on October 25, 2001

I'm honored to get a comment on this thread from someone who took his name from Bull Durham.
posted by msacheson at 4:03 PM on October 25, 2001

...especially because I agree with you, Crash!
posted by msacheson at 4:04 PM on October 25, 2001

Oh, and a comment from someone who references Caddyshack. "Say, Ty, what did you shoot today?" "Oh I don't keep score, Judge." "Well, how do you measure yourself against other golfers?" "By height."
posted by msacheson at 4:10 PM on October 25, 2001

Someone who references The Simpsons might point out that your title should have been It was the best of times, it was the blurst of times . . .
posted by yerfatma at 4:14 PM on October 25, 2001

Excellent article.

It was the last chance for my dad to see a world championship. At the same time, I now realize it was the moment I became a 'real' redsox fan.

I will not give up though. They will win a world series one day, and can you imagine the celebration? I will fly to boston just to be there for that event. As painful as it is, I enjoy being a redsox fan. Anyone can be a yankees fan.

I, like the writer, hold no ill will for buckner. I save it all for two people. Calvin Schiraldi and Roger Clemons. Schiraldi was awful. Thankfully, he was soon punished for his failure to end the 9th (traded to the cubs). Clemons, for the first time in his career, showed that even a hall of fame pitcher can lack balls. I think Clemons, and I think classless. Riding yankee coattails to a championship (or several) is fine, but it doesn't compare if he could have won it all here. Too bad he didn't have the guts.
posted by justgary at 4:42 PM on October 25, 2001

my honest to goodness true story:

on the night in question, i was in a little restaurant in oklahoma city, watching the game and hanging out with my friend who tended bar. because of my longstanding (and unchanged) dislike for all new york sports teams, i was rooting for the 'sox. a group of people came in, red sox fans, around the 7th inning. they had gotten pretty excited after the top half of the tenth, at which point i pointed out to them there was no way the red sox were going to win, because they weren't allowed to.

this of course, started quite an argument which didn't end until bet of (a portion of their/all of my) bar tab was made. after hernadez goes down (2 outs) i get out my money and place it under my drink. several comments of 'just go ahead and give it to us' were made. carter singles. mitchell singles. it starts to get very quiet. then of course, the baseball gods descended from the heavens to wreak hell and havoc on the sox in a clearcut case of divine intervention.
posted by lescour at 7:46 PM on October 25, 2001

ah yes, this is a night i'll always remember. i was 9 and a HUGE mets fan -- gary carter was, and still remains, one of my favorites of all time; a guy who never got the credit he deserved. it was HIM who came through in the clutch and hit that looper into centerfield to get the rally going. i still say he shoulda been MVP.

oh well.
posted by aenemated at 7:49 PM on October 25, 2001

What a cruel punishment that game must have been.

You have absolutely no idea.

No idea.
posted by jpoulos at 8:17 PM on October 25, 2001

I'm a Blue Jay fan, so my happy memory is Joe Carter leaping and dancing around 1st base in 1992 AND 1993.

But as a baseball fan, I can say that there are two moments in World Series history that reach the absolute high and low for me:

High: Watching Kirk Gibson hit that home run and hobble around the bases.

Low: Watching Buckner turn around and look at the ball behind him.

I had no vested interest in either game/team, but I felt the emotional impact of both moments.
posted by Grum at 9:25 PM on October 25, 2001

High: Watching Kirk Gibson hit that home run and hobble around the bases.

Low: Watching Buckner turn around and look at the ball behind him.

Baseball (the game) does a great job of creating amazing, emotional moments. (super bowl anyone? ZZZZZZzzzz)
posted by justgary at 9:37 PM on October 25, 2001

You had to go and mention the Blue Jays, didn't you? My happy memory was watching the fantastic 1992 Milwaukee Brewers rack up over 30 hits in one game on David Cone during his first outing as a Blue Jay. It was especially beautiful since Paul Molitor was soon to defect to Toronto after that season. Jerk. Anyway, good times, good times...
posted by evixir at 11:30 PM on October 25, 2001

you're right, I can't read it either. I've printed all 8 pages of it, can't do it.
posted by matteo at 4:01 AM on October 26, 2001

1986: Bill Buckner, a likeable, good hitting, quality first baseman in the later years of his career. Spent many years with the Cubs.

2001: Mark Grace, a likeable, good hitting, quality first baseman in the later years of his career. Spent many years with the Cubs.

The Cub Factor must be off the chart on this one.
posted by groundhog at 5:55 AM on October 26, 2001

I'm still waiting for my Happy Postseason Memory.
posted by groundhog at 5:58 AM on October 26, 2001

(super bowl anyone? ZZZZZZzzzz)

Obviously, you did not watch Super Bowl XXXII or XXXIV. Both incredibly exciting, nail-biting games. XXXII was especially satisfactory for anyone interested in seeing Elway kill one of the largest back-clinging monkeys in sports history.

Anyway, I just moved to Boston recently, and while I had heard about this story before, the way people go around talking about the Red Sox now makes so much more sense to me. All the conversations sound like they belong in a hospital, where friends and family have gathered to be there as their lover-one passes away. About a half and half mix of love and resignation...and where all hope is faked.
posted by thewittyname at 6:47 AM on October 26, 2001

Obviously, you did not watch Super Bowl XXXII or XXXIV.

Sure I did. While better than your average superbowl, they pale in comparison to the world series moments discussed here (incredible doesn't come to mind).

I really won't argue this point. The super bowl being a snooze fest is common knowledge. The nfl has tried for years to find a way to make the games more competitive and exciting. Nothing beats the super bowl when it comes to a week long party, but the game is usually an after-thought.
posted by justgary at 7:11 AM on October 26, 2001

Well...I think for every Super Bowl that has been a let-down in the excitement department, there is probably an entire World Series that was nothing to write home about.
In the last ten years, only the 1997 and 1991 Series went to 7 games. Not to mention the four blowout series: 2000, 1999, 1998, and 1990.

Of course the fact that the World Series is twice as old as the Super Bowl has to be mentioned, but still, I think recently, the Super Bowl has been much more exciting. (Nothing beats the Stanley Cup finals though). My 2 cents.
posted by thewittyname at 7:50 AM on October 26, 2001

I agree that many world series have been forgetful. I think that goes for most championships in most sports.

I just think the highs in world series play have been much higher than in football. Just my opinion. (same goes for the allstar game, but that's a different story)

And I agree about hockey, but then again they need 'final' excitement after a practically meaningless regular season.
posted by justgary at 8:12 AM on October 26, 2001

(super bowl anyone? ZZZZZZzzzz)

Or how's about XXV? Norwood could just be Buffalo's Buckner (or Schiraldi for that matter).
posted by PeteyStock at 8:15 AM on October 26, 2001

Baseball eats Football's lunch.

[ducks, expecting owillis to come in here swinging any minute]
posted by jpoulos at 9:16 AM on October 26, 2001

Funny how every sports thread slides into a baseball vs. football rut.

Or how's about XXV? Norwood could just be Buffalo's Buckner (or Schiraldi for that matter).

That statement alone proves baseball's superiority when it comes to great games. As far as superbowls, it's up there. It pales in comparison to the 86 series however.
posted by dantheman at 9:35 AM on October 26, 2001

hincandenza, you're right: here's to hoping the new ownership tosses GM Dan Duquette (and hell, Kerrigan too) out this coming season.
posted by jerseygirl at 9:36 AM on October 26, 2001

jerseygirl, I'd like to get behind your sentiments (as I agree), but I'm too busy hoping Jeremy Jacobs, the Dark Prince of the Bruins, doesn't get within $300 million of buying majority ownership in the Sox. The little bump of the Duquette Administration will seem like Good Times if Jacobs is ever able to get his mandibles into this team.
posted by yerfatma at 9:44 AM on October 26, 2001

Funny how every sports thread slides into a baseball vs. football rut.

Sorry Dan! Just had to throw the Giants-Bills reference - besides, as a Giants fan living in, Redskins territory, I couldn't resist. Personally, baseball and hockey are more entertaining right now than the NFL.

Oh yeah...Yankees in 7.
posted by PeteyStock at 10:48 AM on October 26, 2001

oh i know. we think we have problems now... if Jacobs gets a piece of the Red Sox, forget it.

I think at this point, and from the "New Fenway" perspective, I am rooting for McCourt. A Fenway by the Sea doesn't sound too bad right about now.
posted by jerseygirl at 10:53 AM on October 26, 2001

Funny how every sports thread slides into a baseball vs. football rut.

I agree! We need a baitball vs. foosball discussion instead.
posted by rodii at 11:36 AM on October 26, 2001

Foosball rocks.
posted by justgary at 11:38 AM on October 26, 2001

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