Here are some great Sox Stories that are more than deserving of a free Red Seat original t-shirt. Thanks for your submissions. Keep 'em coming!

2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004


The November T-shirt Freebie Winner

On Fenway Signage

Now, I'm sure you'll agree, there are a myriad of inflatable objects which, when handled, should not result in a patron's ejection. A list of such objects might include the following: those little pillows you put around your neck so you can sleep on the airplane, Nike Air Max 360 Sneakers, the Dyanna Lauren Fantasy Doll, a Moonwalk, and Manny Ramirez's ego.

Note: the possession of bagpipes, however, should result in a patron's immediate ejection, whether handled or not, because you just never know when a patron might decide to start blowing that thing.

As an editor, I feel it's my duty to point out here that the sign could have been condensed down to the simpler: "Patrons handling inflatable objects..." Because, technically, one of the things this wording suggests is that they can throw you out simply for being interested in handling an inflatable object. Which, again, I'm all in favor of in the case of bagpipes.

But that's neither here nor there.

All I'm saying is if the Red Sox were losing, and someone suddenly inflated one of those giant arm-wavy guys you see in front of every car dealership on Route 1, not only would it provide a huge morale boost for the fans and the team, but it might even bring us home to victory.

Look, I'm not crazy. I can understand throwing people with inflatable balls out of the game. But sometimes the only way to get any enjoyment at all out of a Red Sox game is by surreptitiously handling an inflatable object, if you know what I'm saying. Which brings us to our next sign.

This sign isn't so much about the sign's content as it is about its placement. First of all,  as you'll notice, the sign is impossible to read by anyone other than the patron seated in front of it - and even then only when that patron ducks down to pick up a beer. More importantly, however, note that the sign is positioned right at "balls" level, suggesting an altogether different sort of "play" and/or "ejection." So maybe that explains everything.

On the other hand, (to milk a bad joke far beyond its recommended milking point) this reading also seems to suggest the park is actually in favor of keeping balls in play, and is concerned only with throwing out the fans who interfere. So perhaps Fenway does understand our needs after all. Because, again, sometimes a little ball-play is the only sure-fire way to save a dying Sox game. Unless somebody whips out a bagpipes, in which case, all hope is lost.

By the way, this sign would make a great next Red Seat shirt, for the above obvious reasons. All I ask is a 10% finder's fee.

I'm Steve Brykman. Thank you very much for reading. And please come check out my standup comedy on Friday, December 8th at 9PM at the next Boston Comedy Showcase @ Kennedy's Midtown, 42 Province St., Boston.

- Steven Brykman, Winchester, MA



The September T-shirt Freebie Winner

FIXING THE SOX

Since only bench coaches get fired here's a list of the people that should be held most responsible for this 2006 season. 

1) With so many injuries the medical staff should be sued for malpractice. We also should bring back Doc Morgan (aka: Cadaver Man). He might even get the dead to pitch - the dead guy being Matt Clement.

2) Fire the Manager. It's what everybody else does so it must work, plus I'm tired of Terry's Take with Tina and his gosh-golly-gee-darn interviews. When you lose you're pissed and when you win things worked out - we get it.

3) Theo Epstein needs to pay back his salary. GM's get paid to make deals and trading David Wells and his Poker Stars cap for a player to be named later is l-a-m-e. 

4) Take David Ortiz's DNA and clone him like Dolly the sheep. 

5) Trade Manny for Manny. Get him out of town and then get him back like Mirabelli except trade Mirabelli this time and don't get him back.

6) Remy and Orsillo were great... on the promos. Oh and I better get a Remdog t-shirt, and hats, and sweaters and all those other knick-knacks he's selling every game from the 1st to 9th inning. All that stuff will look great in my yard sale next week.

7) Speaking of promos, I need a free t-shirt. I'll take the long sleeve one because I'm not turning my heat on until March and by picking me I won't feel like a loser because I won something and that's good for my self-esteem.

8) One more thing: get a closer if Papelbon is starting. Foulke Timlin!

- Tim A. Weston, Athol, MA



The August T-shirt Freebie Winner

This is my open letter to Stephen King:

Dear Mr. King -

Like you, I am a Mainer. I married a Mainer and although we now live out in California, we will raise our kids as Mainers. Hell we even fly the State flag in the front of our house. My parents still live, year round, in York right off the Turnpike before the tolls (feel free to stop by anytime).

And like you, I was raised a Red Sox fan. We didn't have the bucks to get a real hat so my mom did the best she could. My grandfather passed away four years ago - buried him with his hat. Being left coasters, we make our annual pilgrimage back home to see friends, family and pay homage to our Green Church of Baseball.

The latter, as you are aware, is more difficult than anytime in memory. I used to saved nickels from bottles for eight dollar bleacher seats as a kid and could run around the entire place without a problem.

Of course now buying a bleacher seat feels more like a prostate examination. So I write to you essentially to beg. My wife and I can't foresee obtaining a second mortgage to watch the game from the bleachers. If there is any possible scintilla of a chance that you have a connection for face value tickets or are even willing to sell your own tickets for a game, I would be forever in your debt.

I appreciate your time actually reading this solicitation and the possibility of you entertaining my request. If you are in the Bay Area for either Sox series this summer, my wife and I would be more than happy to give up our seats to you for a game. We haven't missed the Sox out here since our move - six years ago.

Thanks.

I haven't heard from my state's favorite son - yet. Perhaps this will help!

- Jeremy Wilson



The July T-shirt Freebie Winner

There isn't one! The photos this month were way too good!

- E + C



The June T-shirt Freebie Winner

My dad and I were at a game in 1967, about twenty rows back between first base and the dugout. Yaz had caught a fly ball for the final out of an inning. As the players were coming in from the field to the dugout, we were all yelling for Yaz to throw us the ball. He did and the ball was heading straight for us. My dad was standing, ready to catch it. At the last minute, a little red haired girl a couple rows ahead of us snatched it. My dad will deny it to this day, but on the way home to Rutland, VT, he said, "You know, Bob, if her father hadn't been there..."

All my family were at Yankee Stadium on Father's Day weekend in 1990 to watch the Red Sox beat the Yankees. After the game, we went to a nearby souvenir shop and bought him an autographed Yazstremski baseball to replace the one he almost had in 1967. Happy Father's Day, Dad!

- Bob



The May T-shirt Freebie Winner

I'm a fourth generation Sox fan. My grandfather, born in 1920, grew up listening to games on the radio with his uncle. My dad -- a good old-fashioned workaholic Mainer -- basically only ever sits down if there's a Sox game on NESN.

Growing up, my dad coached me at softball, and we'd drive home in his pickup truck, smelling like dirt and chalk and sweat, and dissect the intricacies of my latest game. Honestly, I think the first time I saw my dad as a real person and not as *my dad* was when I was about twelve, and he couldn't pitch fast enough to challenge me anymore.

In college I didn't play ball, and I drifted away from the game. But then in the fall of 2003 I moved out to California for grad school, and I became obsessed all over again. By this time, my grandfather was in a nursing home and had grown incredibly forgetful thanks to a series of strokes. So once the postseason hit I'd call him up before every game to get him to turn the TV on.

2003 was bad, of course. But that winter I discovered hot stoves and Dirt Dogs, and I was more than ready for the 2004 season.

I talked to my dad after almost every game that year. We loved Pokey, we adored OC, and we both thought Derek Lowe was a head case. But then in early July I got a different kind of phone call from my dad: my grandfather had died in the night. I flew home, went to the funeral, and watched some games on NESN with my dad. In a few weeks, I flew back to California.

On October 27th (well, in the wee hours of the 28th), I called my dad. We didn't say much at first; we were both so stunned. But after a bit of silence, I said, "Gramp would really have loved this." "Yeah, he would've," my dad replied, with a small but unmistakable choke.

I was in Spain for most of July last year, a horrible country where nobody cares about baseball. My dad sent me daily e-mails with updates on the games and his own commentary about Francona's latest moves (which he rarely agreed with) and Renteria's latest errors (which he forgave since the guy could bunt).

And this year we call each other almost every day, trying to beat one another to the news: did you hear about Coco\'s finger? Papelbon's haircut? The trade for Mirabelli? I got a new Red Seat shirt -- Captain Fenway, Defending the Nation -- and the Sox have won every game that I've watched while wearing it.

My grandfather always used to say that the Sox "would get 'em next year." Toward the end of his life, after 84 seasons of failure, it became a weary and unconvincing refrain. But maybe the best part of being a Sox fan now is that I can talk to my dad and we can both really believe -- not just hope, but believe -- that they'll get 'em this year, again.

- Jessica Weare, Stanford, CA



The April T-shirt Freebie Winner #1

I'm a flight crew member for a major airline and the biggest RED SOX fan in existence. One evening we were desending over Manhattan and I noticed that we would fly directly over yankee stadium. Well, the particular airplane we were on has a lavatory that the water from the sink is vented overboard...that is, the waste water goes out of the plane. At the right time I quickly went to the lav, voided my bladder into the sink and pushed the plunger to vent the contents of the sink right over yankee stadium. My dad always says it's better to be pissed off than pissed on but in this case the yankers can't say that.

- Mike from San Diego

(Disclaimer: Actions taken in this story are not necessarily approved or recommended by The Red Seat. However, Yankee Stadium is in fact, a big bowl.)



The April T-shirt Freebie Winner #2

So as the season starts I am drawn back to the disappointing finish of the 05 season. Unfortunately, or perhaps luckily, I was overseas and forced to watch games at various internet cafes. My genius sister-in-law decided to get married on October 2nd in Italy. Obviously she is not a baseball fan let alone a member of the Nation. She is far more interested in sun salutations and the newest Pilates move. I figured I could have pulled some kind of "sorry I have SARS, can't go to Italy for your wedding" type of excuse but then she asked me to perform the wedding ceremony. I've been an ordained minister for about 5 years thanks to the Universal Life Church and their willingness to ordain any derelict in five minutes on-line.

So without any excuse my wife and I headed to Europe in the middle of September and I got to watch the end of the season in some of the finest overseas internet establishments. As the wedding day approached so did the final regular season series and of course the AL East teetered like D Wells at last call.

Saturday, October 2nd, the wedding day - not only was it make or break for my new brother-in-law but for the Sox - lose and make it eight years in row as #2. Needless to say my wondering mind was on a walkabout as I prepared for the wedding ceremony. As I went over my little speech, their vows and the order in which the bridesmaids were giving their readings, my brain drifted to the necessities of life - what the Sox needed to do win.

I pulled it together as the guests arrived at the Villa where the wedding party was staying and where the ceremony was to be held. And although I was still thinking about the Sox, the wedding ceremony was going very smoothly. The readings were going off without a hitch, the sun was shining and people were smiling. Then I turned the page in my book of notes, prepping myself to read the exchange of vows but they weren't in the book! The vows weren't in the book! I had forgotten the friggin' vows!!!

So I calmly placed my hand on the shoulders of the wedding couple, explained my idiocy, and took off running like a crazed woman at the Filene's wedding gown sale. I got back to my room, grabbed the vows right where I had set them down and made it back to the ceremony where I was being openly mocked by one and all.

The rest of the ceremony and reception was great but the game sucked. Watching on-line in a drunken haze at 3am was just as miserable. Although the Sox caused me to forget their vows the way I see it, nobody should get married on the first Saturday in October in Italy! The Sox have made me (and most of us) do an infinite number of absurd things. I can now put "forgetting the vows" on top of that list.

- Jeremy Little, San Rafael, CA



The March T-shirt Freebie Winner

My family and I were touring the Coastal town of Malaga, Spain this winter, when we spotted an older gentleman wearing a Red Sox cap. Thrilled to find a fellow fan so far from home, my wife smiled at him and hollored "Go Sox!" and we waited for a return cheer. But alas, he looked at her as though she had two heads.

We decided he wasn't able to translate her sentiments and continued on our stroll through the downtown area. Less than a block later, we stumbled upon a "Cheers" bar selling Red Sox gear.

The passerby most likely bought the hat to protect his eyes from the sun, not to root for our Fenway friends. We figure it is only a matter of time before the people of Malaga embrace another Boston icon--Red Sox nation.

- Adam, Cambridge, MA



The February T-shirt Freebie Winner

I was born a Sox fan. In 1959, the Sox stunk, and I went to my first game, against the White Sox. Earl Wilson pitched, Ted Williams hit a homer, and (mark this down) the Red Sox LOST. This is the last time I've ever gone to Fenway and seen them lose, in almost half a century.

My greatest memory was a doubleheader on June 16th, in 1964, when my father took me to my only doubleheader. Felix Mantilla hit three homers, and the Sox took both games, as a special birthday gift, just for me.

I've gone to games as recently as 1986, after a long drive from Minnesota (playing the Rangers in horrible heat, they came from behind to win, and set the AL record for most home victories in a row). My girlfriend (now my wife) Marge was amazed at how much you could smell Fenway from a block away when it's that hot, and that our seats up the first baseline were none-the-less so close that we could hear conversations in the bullpen. The field is still the impossible green that words somehow fails to describe.

My greatest heartbreak was watching game 7 in 1967 from the top of the Pru, listening to game ob everyone else's radios, and watching the game via binoculars that cost a dime every minute or so. The special joy of winning had to wait 37 years - 3 years after my dad died.

I've gone to Sox games in Minneapolis, and sorry to say, the same curse that started with seeing Lonberg pitch from a mile away extends to the Metrodome, were I've seen a series of Twins pitchers knock off the Sox over the years. Even seeing Dougie Baseball playing for the Sox instead of the Twins for first time was not enough for them to beat the locals.

I work for a big company in the suburbs, and I content myself talking to the several other exiles who life out here, and are citizens of The Nation and who somehow don't talk like the scandahovians around here. I spend hours a month going to The Red Seat and Dirt Dogs web sites to keep up with events from 1400 miles away. I miss New England, and I miss the Sox.

- David



The January T-shirt Freebie Winner

So I think on the night of October 27, 2004 I know where you were. You, like me, were watching game 4 of the World Series. But unlike me, you probably retained a modicum of sanity. After watching D-Lowe pitch a pretty good game, my mind started to melt. "This can't really be playing out like this," I thought reflecting on our ALCS comeback and 3-0 status in the Series. As innings progressed I got more and more nervous. I was convinced something bad, something really bad, was going to happen. Without having a single drink all night (I was way too nervous to contemplate booze) my mind had conjured up scenarios of alien abduction, a massive sinkhole opening under the pitcher's mound or snipers to explain how the Sox would lose (as a long-time fan, this seemed like a fine line of reasoning).

When Keith Foulke took the mound, I actually left the TV room and hid in the dining room, only poking my head around the corner briefly and then ducking back behind the wall so I wouldn't actually see Foulke surrounded in a beam of light and then transported into a UFO for probing and whatnot. I promised myself that if the Sox won, I'd make sure that my kids (at the time my son was only a twinkle in my eye) wouldn't be allowed to achieve this level of unreasonable insanity (regular, reasonable insanity is just fine). Of course, my 4 week old son doesn't know much, but he lives a world where the Sox won the Series just before he was born, instead of a millennium before. As I wear my "Battling Evil" t-shirt with him over my shoulder, I'm eagerly anticipating the 2006 team and telling him stories of what was, rather than what could have been. And of course, getting ready to tell him "wait 'til this year!"

- Chris Gervais, Westwood, MA





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