Column: Navajo Nation joins Red Sox Nation

"Not long ago, I watched the third game of the World Series at the Chuck E. Cheese pizza parlor in Gallup, N.M. Like anyone who grew up in New England, I inherited a lifelong devotion to the Red Sox, a non-exchangeable patrimony that you carry with you — some would say are saddled with — forever.

Living in the rural West and being a fan of a team 2,000 miles away isn’t easy. I don’t have a television, so during the past 25 years I’ve followed the team through radio, newspaper, the occasional game in sports bars or on friends’ couches and, more recently, the Internet. The team’s failures are well-documented — 86 years between championships — but recently its fortunes have improved, and to miss an inning of the World Series would be sacrilege. We call ourselves Red Sox Nation, this diaspora of displaced fans, so I put on my lucky cap, rubbed my Tony Conigliaro autographed baseball, and drove the 40 miles into town.

Neither Pal Joey’s nor Sports Page was carrying the game, the first sports bar because it didn’t have the right cable package, the other because there was a football game the patrons preferred. Someone mentioned that Chuck E. often puts sports on its big screen to mollify parents while their kids play video games. With the first inning already under way, I hurried across town. I was in luck: The game was on, and I settled in with a beer. Between innings, I surveyed the crowd. Gallup is a border town on the edge of the Navajo Nation, and it draws people from the small outlying communities to shop and eat. All the patrons but me were Native American, mostly parents with young kids. I thought I was the only one paying much attention to the screen, but in the Red Sox half of the third inning I began to hear murmurings about Jacoby. “Jacoby’s on deck.” “Jacoby’s almost up.” “Here comes Jacoby.” As he strode to the plate, everyone in the restaurant turned their chairs to watch."

Get the Story:
Steven Albert: Navajo Nation joins Red Sox Nation (The Summit Daily News 12/11)

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