The two young nurses stood firm. They were going to Game 1 of the World Series. Probably realizing she’d be worse off without them, their boss let them leave early.
After changing clothes, they ran to catch the trolley, got off at Fenway Park and entered the bleacher section just before the start.
Unfortunately for my mother, her friend and other long-suffering Boston Red Sox fans, Bob Gibson pitched the first of three gems to help lead the St. Louis Cardinals to the 1967 title.
Yes, dear reader, we’re time-traveling again. But what’s time during a pandemic in which somehow minutes drag on while weeks spent sheltering in place fade away?
In the last dispatch I discussed how grandfathers on opposite ends of New England started a family tradition that continues as my sister raises (casual) fourth-generation Sox fans.
Her young daughters will never understand how 2004 changed everything.
When the hated New York Yankees won Game 3 of that year’s American League Championship Series 19-8 to take a 3-0 series lead, we felt the dejection that seemed our birthright. No team had overcome that deficit to win a postseason series.
I had to work during the fourth game, and I tried to convince myself not to care. At least I wouldn’t have to watch the embarrassing end.
But knowing the game was close late I raced home from my restaurant job, hoping the Sox would find a way to win at least this one.
Down 4-3, Kevin Millar led off the top of the ninth with a walk against Mariano Rivera, arguably the best closer in history.
I bounded into my dark apartment in San Diego’s Ocean Beach neighborhood around the time Rivera threw one of many times to first base to try to keep pinch runner Dave Roberts close.
On the first pitch home Roberts took off for second. At first I thought Derek Jeter had tagged him out.
But no, safe!
Roberts had provided a glimmer of hope.
Before the ALCS started we had been confident this team would beat the Yankees.
Earlier that season the Sox and Yankees brawled in the finale of a weekend series after Alex Rodriguez took offense to getting hit by a pitch.
Not for the first time, or last, these two teams fought over a game. Past Red Sox teams would have let their anger become a distraction. This team channeled the energy. Third baseman Bill Mueller won that game with a home run off Rivera.
My roommate at the time, and the guy living on the couch — neither Sox fans — cheered along with me. Hard to imagine now, but back then many fans of other teams rooted for the Sox to beat the Yankees.
The Sox carried the momentum to a playoff appearance and a first-round sweep of the Anaheim Angels.
Their failure in the first three games of the ALCS against the Yankees left us dumbfounded.
Then in Game 4 Mueller again came to the rescue, hitting a single up the middle to bring Roberts home.
In the 12th, David Ortiz sent a pitch into the right-field bullpen and the series to a fifth game.
I can’t remember if my mother and I talked that night or the next day, but I know she stayed awake until the end in the wee hours and was at work bright and early later that morning.
A friend who had hosted the viewing party for Game 7 of the ALCS the year before invited me to join for the next game, but the Sox had lost every important game we’d watched together. As first pitch approached, I declined.