A reasonable person would assume that a man born and raised in New York City, with a blood connection to All-Star third baseman
That reasonable person would be wrong. My father was a Red Sox fan, if for no other reason than to curry my goat. Or so it seemed.
My allegiance to the Yankees was born while watching the fading
Dad preferred thoroughbred races at Belmont Park and Aqueduct to baseball games, but he occasionally regaled me with tales of going to Detroit on business and stopping by Tiger Stadium to say hello to his second-cousin Red, who managed the Tigers from 1949 to '52 after 10 seasons with the Yankees, where he played on five World Series winners. My dad's fondness for the Red Sox, though, did not become apparent to me until a certain principal owner arrived in the Bronx in 1973.
How well I recall the nights spent watching the Yanks on TV with my parents during the Bronx Zoo years. My mom was my ally and greatly enamored of second baseman
"Raymond, honestly!" my exasperated mother would say, "Why can't you root for the home team?"
"That Bronfenbrenner is for the birds," he'd say, blowing a cloud of cigar smoke toward the screen. So was the swagger of
Dad was also an avid golfer who proudly sported his Red Sox cap on the links. We sparred good-naturedly every baseball season, and for Father's Day in 1985 I bought a T-shirt at a Yankee Stadium concession stand. It was a snappy gray number with big red letters on the chest that read BOSTON SUCKS. Dad was asleep by the time I got home from the Saturday night game, so I draped it over him. He was wearing it the next morning, but he still boldly proclaimed the superiority of his Red Sox. He had this cool, calm faith in that team -- an uncommon demeanor among the Boston faithful, but he was an uncommon man.
Dad passed away in 1994 at age 83, so he never experienced the bewildering joy of the Sox' 2004 ALCS comeback -- lord, how I would have heard about that -- and their subsequent World Series triumph. But part of him did. My son