Presumably there are Red Sox fans who simply enjoy baseball enough to watch the ALCS without a rooting interest, but the Boston Globe’s Dan Shaughnessy would have you believe there’s all sorts of reasons why otherwise disinterested Massholes should (temporarily) shift allegiances (“these Orioles are forever entwined with the Red Sox of Boston, and they serve nicely as New England’s team for this October tournament”). For instance, did you know Baltimore and Boston both begin with the letter, “B”?
The Baltimore Orioles gave Boston Babe Ruth, Willie Tasby, Mike Boddicker, Larry Lucchino, Theo Epstein, Dr. Charles Steinberg, and Janet Marie Smith.
Baltimore always matters to Boston because Baltimore is the home of George Herman Ruth, and the Bambino is the guy who came to the Red Sox as a rookie (via the Baltimore Orioles of the International League) in 1914 and stuck around for three championship seasons, throwing shutouts and hitting homers. The Sox sold him to the Yankees in a cash deal that decimated the Boston franchise and triggered 86 years of frustration. You know the story.
When the upstart big-league Orioles (they were the St. Louis Browns before they moved to Baltimore in ’54) came to Fenway in 1956, the great Ted Williams made a special trip to the third base dugout for a pregame visit with a rookie Baltimore outfielder named Tito Francona. The young hitter never forgot the kindness of The Kid and made sure his only son, Terry, had a visit with Williams when Teddy Ballgame was managing the Texas Rangers in 1972. Tito’s boy went on to play a major role in Red Sox lore.
I’m actually not very clear on this Ruth fellow. Maybe Shaughnessey could write a book about the shadow he continues to cast over the Red Sox to this very day!