I have been a Member of the Nation before we were actually known as “The Nation”. Being a Red Sox fan growing up in the 1980’s meant hearing words like futile, inept, overspending and cursed. One of my earliest memories is sitting in my aunt’s apartment while we watched Yaz’s retirement lap around Fenway. It was also sitting in my aunt’s living room where I watched Bill “You are so forgiven” Buckner make that historical error. To my aunt, who very much raised me, and now to me The ‘Ole Towne Team are very close to the heart. She was raised a Boston Braves fan by her father during the Great Depression and carried those memories and passed those stories her whole life… memories of her father who passed on rather young, riding the ‘T’ on the elevated track (which no longer exists here in Boston) to Huntington Ave and Braves Field.. and it took me a while to appreciate them. She often took me to games and thought Dwight ‘Dewey’ Evans and Ellis Burks (Burks winning the 2004 title was just sweet irony) were it and at one point in the dynasty days of the A’s we watched Dave Stewart face The Rocket on a brilliant Sunday afternoon.. where she verbally b!tch slapped a fellow fan who called for Evans to retire just before he smacked one into the longtime left field net which preceded the Monstah’ Seats atop The Wall.
And this season, something has been bringing me back to those great memories fairly often.
ESPN’s Monday Night Baseball. If you are unaware, Sean McDonough is a local boy and son of Will McDonough (and if you don’t know who he is, you never read anything about NFL football in the 20th Century) who during parts of the 1980’s and 90’s broadcast play by play for WSBK TV 38 in Boston (as well as calling a few World Series for CBS… “Touch ’em all Joe”). Sure we all know Donnie O’ and the RemDawg as the voices of The Nation these days, but before NESN became the exclusive provider of local Boston ‘Sox coverage (well, the Sox own ’em) there were a number of games televised over the air, free of charge on days not named Saturday or Sunday and subject to black out. But when I was a kid in the projects of Southie with no cable television, Sean McDonough was the man. Calling games with Bob Montgomery and later Jerry Remy, it was my window to the Red Sox World.
Any Sox fan who can remember the fateful day in 1990 if I recall correctly when the Sox were down to the wire… Clemens already having been sent to Toronto in case of a one game playoff… watching the crushingly tight game unfold at Fenway and that slap into right field, coming so close to the wall of doom which has destroyed many a fielder’s chances and hearing “BRUNANSKY…!!!” and not being able to tell from the angle of the camera if Bruno slid awkwardly into the wall or made the catch that brought all of New England to the edge of its seat….
In our days of multimedia saturation it is indeed nice to recall the clichéd simpler times of childhood when that simple game coverage was so important. So thanks go to ESPN for carrying several Sox games on their Monday Broadcasts… and a Thank You to Sean McDonough.