Lifelong Red Sox fan finds a new favorite


Red Sox fans were part of the crowd two years ago when Boston played the Nationals in Washington. (Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)

At the beginning of every baseball season I ask myself: What team do I want to win the World Series?

For most of my life there has been a simple answer: the Boston Red Sox!

I grew up in Massachusetts. I rooted for the Red Sox when they were terrible and suffered through their many heartbreaking World Series and playoff losses. Of course, I really celebrated when they came back from three games down to beat their arch rivals, the New York Yankees, to win the American League pennant in 2004. And I rejoiced when the Sox won their first World Series in 86 years that season.

My daughter, Kerry, even made me a collage of the Red Sox World Series triumph. It hangs in my home office.

So I have been a proud member of the Red Sox Nation for a long time. But this season feels different.

I usually think that people, and especially kids, should stick with their favorite team through good times and bad. I don’t have a lot of time for folks who dump their favorite team just because it’s losing.

Most of the time, having a favorite team means rooting for the teams that play where you grow up, although these days there are lots of other ways kids choose a favorite team.

Some kids pick a team because they like a particular player. The National Basketball Association provides an example: My guess is that most Miami Heat fans who live outside Miami like that team because of LeBron James.

Others might like a team’s uniform. I see kids everywhere wearing the cool-looking team jerseys of international soccer powers Real Madrid and FC Barcelona.

Well, no one can accuse me of switching teams because my favorite is losing. The Red Sox won the World Series last year. In fact, Boston has won three World Series championships (2004, 2007 and 2013) in the past 10 seasons.

That’s part of the problem. It seems selfish to root for your favorite team to win every year. If you do that, it’s like you’re a Yankees fan. They have 27 world championships, and they always want more.

So this year, I’m officially switching to the Washington Nationals. After all, I have lived around Washington, D.C., longer than I lived in Massachusetts. My children were born here. I follow the Nats in the newspaper and on television. I have tickets to some of the games. I even bought a Nats hat.

And the Washington baseball team has not won a World Series since 1924. That’s 90 years.

Oh, I’ll root for the Red Sox to beat the Yankees and win the American League pennant. But if they face off against the Nationals in the World Series this season, I’m rooting for my Nats!

Fred Bowen writes the sports opinion column for KidsPost. He is the author of 19 sports books for kids, including nine baseball books.

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