How My Father and Yaz Conspired to Make Me A Lifelong Red Sox Fan
By Scott Beller
Last week, the family and I ventured into DC to Nationals Park to see the Nats play the Boston Red Sox for the final 2021 regular-season game. Even though I love our home team, I left my Nats hat behind because we were there to cheer the Sox to victory and the top American League Wild Card spot.
Being from the DC area, my Boston Red Sox fandom (which I've proudly passed on to my kids) often confuses people. They assume maybe I'm from the Boston area, or I began liking the team once it started its run of multiple World Series wins earlier this century. No, the truth is I'm a fan because of my father, just not for reasons you might think.
I was born in Northern Virginia, just outside our nation’s capital, a couple of years before the Senators left DC to become the Minnesota Twins. More than three decades later, the DC area was still known as Baltimore Oriole territory. Although the (2019 World Series Champion) Nationals are here now, I didn't have them or any other true "home team" to root for while I was growing up.
I'm not a bandwagon Sox fan. I didn’t conveniently jump aboard in 2004 after the team won its first World Series since 1918, as many new baseball fans and non-New Englanders did. I began my suffering long before there was a “Red Sox Nation,” four championship rings, and pink caps emblazoned with the iconic Bosox “B.”
I vaguely remember watching with my dad the Sox lose to The Big Red Machine in the 1975 World Series when I was only 6. I really don't remember liking baseball, much less the Red Sox, before that.
I didn't get hooked until the following year. It would be my first season playing Little League. My best friend at the time, Chris, already had a season of baseball under his belt. So, when registration for the 1976 season rolled around, I told my parents I wanted to join him. Unfortunately, Chris was a member of an established team, the Bombers, and there were no vacancies on its roster. So, I was placed on the Generals.
After our first game against the Bombers, I vividly remember my father side-stepping me to greet Chris with a hearty, “Hey, Yaz, great game!”
My father gave my friend the same nickname as star Boston Red Sox outfielder-first baseman Carl Yastrzemski, who, like Chris (and my father) was a lefty. My dad didn’t even like the Red Sox, as far as I knew. He was an Orioles fan.