Ireland is home to a surprising number of baseball fans, many of whom root for the Boston Red Sox. We caught up with a few of them ahead of game 6 of the World Series between Boston and St Louis.
|The Boston Red Sox in action|
People outside of the Unites States often scoff at the title ‘World Series’. Their sarcastic bluster is based on a perception that seeing as it is only North American teams participating, it shouldn’t be called the ‘World’ series. These contrarians are missing a couple of simple, subtle points. First of all, the players that take part in the games are genuinely from all over the World. Major League Baseball today is a multicolored collage of players from all around the World. Secondly, the appeal of the Series, and the game of baseball, is now strong all around the World. Yes, even in Europe.
The Irish national baseball team, for example, has played in stadiums all across Europe, from Hull in the UK, to Karlovac in Croatia, to Stockerau in Austria and Regensberg in Germany. If you are not familiar with it, the strength of the game of baseball in Europe would surprise you.
The World Series obviously holds a particular allure, and tonight’s game 6 is no different. Ireland, with its close ties to Boston, is home to a surprisingly large group of Red Sox fans, all of whom are waiting nervously for tonight’s first pitch. Yes, despite the 12:30 am GMT starting time over here in Dublin!
We caught up with a few of these Red Sox fans ahead of tonight’s showdown.
Mark Treacy, a 17 year old student from Wicklow town, in county Dublin, follows the games on MLB TV, the MLB website itself and occasionally on Boston.com. he has managed to watch every single World Series game, and a few of the playoff games before that, particularly the day time games US time, which are at a very reasonable time here in the GMT zone!
Mark thinks the latest he was up (to watch a 2013 playoff games) was 5 am, although he was so tired he didn’t remember fully. The reason he’s able to watch all the World Series games? He’s on a school vacation!
His answer to Red Sox playoff related exhausting syndrome (RSPRES), simply sleep it off (oh to be a student again)!
His favourite moments of the World Series so far have been the big Gomes home run and the Uehara game ending pickoff.
Garret Pearse, a 42 year old Information Technology executive from Wicklow, has been a Red Sox fan all his life, and has been to many games at Fenway Park. He is also a pitcher on the Irish B League Championship winning Dublin Hurricanes. He uses MLB.TV for all the games, usually on his iPhone with the headphones in and the duvet over his head, like a bold child trying not to be caught. Garret is a die-hard Sox fan and has only missed one or two of the 2013 playoff games, and those he followed on his phone. He figures the latest he was up was probably last Saturday’s game 4, which ended somewhere around the 5 am mark! As he said himself; ‘’I still haven't figured out what time I really got to bed!’’. When asked how he manages work the next day, he answered; ‘’ Coffee. Coffee. Coffee.’’ His favourite moments of the World Series so far? Shane Victorino’s and Big Papi’s grand slams and Jon Lester’s big game 5 win.
Peter Kavanagh, 29, the Information & Networking Officer at Active Retirement Ireland is from Clondalkin in Dublin. He has a tried and tested method for following the Sox; ‘’ I listen in to WEEI until my mind and body shut down and tell my heart to go to sleep. The next morning I watch the condensed game on mlb.com’’
A busy man with a schedule that would make President Obama blush, Peter is doing his best this playoff run; ‘’ I'm not catching them all live, but I'm devouring everything about them the morning after. Highlights, interviews, analysis, you name it.’’ Peter is not finding it easy to last the whole way through the games this time round; ‘’ During the '04 World Series, I was in college, so it was a regular occurrence to watch the entire game, then make some tea and head straight to class. I can't sleep in work as easily as I slept in German Lit. 201, so I call it a night about 4amthis time round.’’
Of course the flip side of this is, unlike many other Irish Red Sox fans, Peter is a fully functional cog in work the next day. How is he combating Red Sox playoff related exhausting syndrome (RSPRES)? ‘’ I have spent the guts of a World Series ticket on coffee in a wonderful little café on Capel St in Dublin. It's called Brother Hubbard and their excellent caffeine and friendly staff are possibly the only reason I haven't gone postal on all my colleagues.’’ An avid baseball fan and super intelligent human being, Peter naturally has an interesting take on the best moments of the 2013 World Series thus far; "
It's all about Papi, but it's not about him having the best World Series of any first baseman or DH ever, or his token effort to join the Beard Gang. It's the singles he legged out in games four and five. When Ortiz is hustling along the basepaths, you know this is a team that will fight to the last out.’’
Adam Murray, aged 30, from Stoneybatter in Dublin, is another disciple of the Church of MLB.TV. He watches is either on apple TV or on his laptop. In terms of this playoff run, Adam describes his viewership as such; ‘’ I've watched the start of all the games at least. The Spirit has been willing, but the body has been weak,’’. In fairness to Adam, he has put in the long hours before. He remembers going to bed at 6 am after the Red Sox bitter loss to Baltimore at season’s end. The Sox clearly owe him one this time around! Adam is another coffee addict, at least during the Sox playoff journeys. His answer to RSPRES? ‘’ Fresh air, water, adrenaline and smugness.’’. Adam’s favourite moments of the 2013 World Series thus far? ‘’ Everytime Big Papi swings his bat, and Koji's game ending pick off in Game 4’’
The above is just a small sample, you would probably be shocked at the depth, intensity and also baseball-intelligence of the fans over here in Ireland.
Now we just have to root out a Cardinals fan or two to tell their side of the story….