Monday, November 26, 2007

Red Sox Nation Celebrates a Championship

There are gravestones in New England which have as their epitaphs-- 'he didn't live long enough to see the Red Sox win the World Series'. Until 2004, there were few who could even vaguely recall the last World Series championship-- that one won in 1918 with the help of some pitcher named Babe Ruth. It has been said of late that now that the Red Sox have won twice in a four year span, that the basic fatalism (some would call it Calvinism) of the region has taken a serious hit. New Englanders hardly know what to do with themselves in view of the Red Sox, the Patriots, and the resurgent Celtics, not to mention Boston College. It is indeed interesting how the psyche of a region becomes so linked to the fortunes of a favorite team, and that is especially so when one is thinking about the long on again, off again courtship between the Red Sox and New England, which more recently has become a consummated marriage that involves delirious bliss just now.

Some of you have wanted to know what some of my other passions in life are (other than my faith and Biblical studies) and certainly the Red Sox are one of them, ever since I went to Boston to go to seminary in the early 70s, and married a New England gal. Though I am from N.C., my favorite big city is Boston (second choices, Charlotte or Chapel Hill). This summer I got to go back and had a great seat in dear Fenway to see 'the olde towne team'. You will notice the pictures posted here. I even took the tour of the Park and stood on top of the Green Monster watching Manny Ramirez shag some fly balls off the wall. 1975 was when I plighted my troth to this team. That season was incredible, and the World Series was even better-- if Luis Tiant could just have pitched one more game. The 1986 World Series was more difficult to swallow. Watching a young Roger Clemens sitting praying in the dugout in Game 6 for three final outs in Shea Stadium which never came (due in part to a certain ball going through Bill Buckner's legs-- but he made far more good plays than bad that season). Nothing however could ever compare to the last four games the Red Sox played in 2004 vs. the Yankees to take the pennant, when they came back from the dead and won the pennant at Yankee Stadium--- sweet! Curt Shilling and his bloody sock will always be embedded in my brain, as will his giving all the glory to the Lord thereafter. No wonder several million showed up for the parade after the 2004 Series.

So, enjoy the pictures, and here's another litttle bit of who I am. If you are wondering why I also pull for the Braves, you must remember: 1) I'm so old that the Braves were still in Boston when I was born; 2) the Braves were the only team in the south when I was growing up, and I sure did love Major League Baseball-- still do :) It's the most American of all games, the national past time, and certainly a game that has consumed a lot of my past time as well.


yuckabuck said...

Since I left Catholicism, I haven't really believed in the intercession of the saints.
But since Red Auerbach died and went to heaven, there seems to be no other explanation for the divine approval shown to my Boston Celtics this year.
Thanks for the fun post!
God bless you,
aka Larry Bird wannabe

Leslie said...

Dr. Witherington,

I've been thinking about going on for my M.T.S. and then working towards a Ph.D. in Theology, and I've been considering doing this at Boston University. Seeing as you're acquainted with the area, I was wondering if you could lend any thoughts.

Also, go Sox!! My wife and I are both big Sox fans. I was kinda scared when the Series started, seeing as the Rockies had been on a roll, but they certainly squelched those fears. :)

Marc Axelrod said...

IIRC, the Reds finally had Tiant on the ropes in Game Six of the 1975 series. Cesar Geronimo's solo blast in the 8th inning made it 6-3Reds, and that was the end of Tiant's night. Even though Bernie Carbo and Carlton Fisk came through later, the evidence seems to show that the Reds were beginning to catch on to Tiant's quirky delivery.

On the other hand, Tiant was pitching game 6 on two days' rest ...

Marc, who lived in Cincinnati from 1974-1980.

Marc Axelrod said...

BTW, I have a small request. I am a bookworm, and I respect your opinions very much. With that said, I was wondering if you could post a list of your 20 favorite books. Christian or secular. Anything goes!

Marc Axelrod said...

I like baseball too. The Red Sox may be to the 21st century what the Yankees were in the 20th: The dominant team in their sport.

They also have the dominant NFL team of the 21st century.

Makes me think of the Dave Loggins hit "Please Come to Boston."
This is my 3rd post, so you don't have to put any of these up if you don't want ....

Ben Witherington said...

I honestly wouldn't do any masters level theology program at B.U. If you are going to the Boston area, then go to Gordon Conwell, or better yet, come here. Lexington Ky. is beautiful, especially if you like horses.

Hi Marc, nice to hear from you. You are of course right about Tiant. I will give some thought on my top 20 books, but have mercy, I've read so many it would be hard to decide. If you get a chance, how about a review of The Living Word of God on Amazon. Baylor will send you a review copy :)



Marc Axelrod said...

I read about 5 or 6 books at a time, but one of them is Living Word. I should have a review up within the next seven days.

Thanks for the book!

danny said...

As a native New Englander, I endorse anyone who supports the Red Sox. However, I have to ask Dr Witherington, when the Braves and Red Sox play, who are you rooting for?

Anonymous said...

You have good taste since your favorite city is Boston. The series with the Indians was much more fun to watch than the world series, I think. I fell asleep at the end of game 4 and woke up to everyone celebrating.

I would second your recommendation to Gordon Conwell.

Hollands Opus said...

Hi Ben
thanks for this post. I have lived in MA all my life. My dad is one of the unfortunates to not see the sox win the world series in 04, as he died suddenly in 2002. :(

No one will ever take the place of YAZ in my heart. He was one of my earliest heroes. In one of my first games at Fenway, he and Petrocelli went back to back!

I actually have a photo on my cell phone of the 2004 World Championship ring on my finger! Carl Beane, the "voice of Fenway" who does all the announcing, attends the same church as I, and on Friday's he co-hosts a sports radio program on a local Christian station with one of the pastors of our church. He of course received a championship ring in 04. What ring! It looks good on me!

The fanaticism is indeed profound here. But after all, we were created for that level of passion and "cheering". I suspect the scene with the 24 Elders was somewhat like that, as will be the numberless multitude on that great day, when we finally round third and (some of us more than others-Jude 23!)) slide into home!

Viva la Sox!

Ben Witherington said...

At this point, I am hoping next year is a Braves year. I would love to see Glavine, Jones, and Smoltz get one more championship, after 14 division titles.

But I shall be hollering for the Sox just as loud.

I have apoplexy trying to figure out who to root for when they play each other.


Falantedios said...

Since the Sox Series win in '04, my friend Ben Overby has used the plight of current Sox fans as a metaphor for the change in identity currently underway in believers. Here's a quote:

"We’re part of a humanity that has the fall buried deep in its psyche. We were all born onto the losing team. Like pre-2004 Red Sox fans our self-image is that of despair, frustration, and hopelessness. Structural evils such as racism, injustice, sexism, economic oppression, environmental negligence, and all the rest help form our worldview. We come into the world angry that we’ve been pushed out of the womb, finding we have to steal our first breath, choking, howling, and clinching our little angry fists at the sudden shift in environments. Like pouring a concrete foundation, we are poured out of our mother’s womb into well-defined structural forms, outlines laid without symmetry, jagged, sharp, crooked lines constructed by the un-builder himself—Lucifer. It doesn’t take long before we harden into the shape of the world and become by nature children of wrath."

Check out more at OR

in HIS love,

Marc Axelrod said...

It's hard for me to have favorite teams because I get all worked up in my flesh when they mess up. You should have seen me when Carmona was getting hammered in game Six ....


Ben Witherington said...

Hey Marc:

If you are interested, Baylor Press is looking for someone to create a short study guide for The Living Word of God. If you are interested, contact Carey Newman at ‎

The upside is, you get yourself published :)

Ben W.

Sarah said...

Yay for Boston being your favorite city in the States (your good judgment, it would seem, extends far beyond your hermeneutical decisions)! It is def. mine as well, second only to Oxford and Vienna on the international level.

In any case, it was so important for me to catch at least one of the World Series games that I raced down to Boston from New Haven (right after I got out of my Josephus class actually, haha) to catch the second game. We didn't have tickets for Fenway, of course, but I was glad to find that it was just as crazy a time in Boston Beer Works. Fun times, even if, in the end, watching their triumph in this series was more akin to watching someone snatch candy from the grasping hands of a helpless child (and we both know that is never much fun). I still wish the Rockies would have won at least ONE game.

Marc Axelrod said...

Sounds great. Are there study guides out for the other two books in the series?


Ben Witherington said...

Hi Marc: No but it would be good to have guidebooks to all three.
Ben W.

Marc Axelrod said...

I'm curious. I've written a lot of stuff. Is it any easier to find a publisher for future material once you've been published by a major publisher?