Astros Cheating Scandal Exposes Conflicting American Values

It’s been weeks since news of the Houston Astros cheating scandal broke in the news. Since then, few people in baseball have hesitated to express their outrage over what the Astros did. If anything, it seems to be intensifying, with few coming out of it any wiser. In fact, it’s bringing the worst out in people.

According to a Yahoo Sports article, Astros’ outfielder Josh Reddick, a member of theastros cheating scandal 2017 World Series championship team at the center of the sign-stealing controversy, recently received messages from angry baseball fans telling him, “I will kill your family…I will kill your kids.” The same article quotes Reddick as saying, “And it’s really depressing to read because it’s over a game of baseball.”

Reddick is right, but only to a certain degree.

Yes, it is over a game of baseball. American baseball fans are threatening to kill a player’s family all because he was on a team that went to great lengths to steal signs from opposing teams. But baseball’s involvement ends there. Telling someone that they want to kill their kids not only shows a truly revolting side of someone’s personality, but that they think their opinions, no matter how threatening, are justified. Ironically, while this psycho thinks he’s lashing out at the Astros for cheating, it’s the cheating that enables such unstable behavior in the first place.

Threats Against Reddick Expose a Larger American Problem.

If you ask Americans today if we’re a country that embraces hard work, honesty, and integrity, you’ll probably get more people saying no rather than yes. It’s an attitude that’s exemplified in every day life. When people don’t get their way they threaten to sue. They make up a false story about their employer rather than accept responsibility. When a fan’s team doesn’t win, they look for any excuse they can find to criticize the victor. This idea includes threatening a player’s family. They think their anger equates to the offense, and therefore justifies their response. Fans make threats. Cheaters feel emboldened by the lack of accountability. Those who are disgusted with both lose respect for the game and everyone associated with it. Is this a true reflection of the MLB though?

Players Criticizing the Astros Cheating Scandal Aren’t Exactly Innocent.

There’s no shortage of current players criticizing the Astros. But according to a bleacherreport.com article, former Milwaukee Brewers first baseman Logan Morrison stated, “I know from first hand accounts that the Yankees, Dodgers, Astros, and Red Sox all have used film to pick signs.” So why have the Astros become the whipping boy for Major League Baseball if other teams are involved too?

Are these players angry that their efforts to play an honest game were disrespected? Or are they angry that they were outsmarted? It’s understandable that teams like the Yankees would be angry over what the Astros did in 2017. Why didn’t it stop then though? Did teams like the Yankees actually steal signs using the same kind of technology too? If so, would the villain/victim roles be reversed if the Yankees had won and the Astros hadn’t? Would those same Yankee fans call out their own team for cheating? Most definitely not.

It seems like other teams and their fan base aren’t angry about sign stealing. They’re angry that their own tactics didn’t net them a World Series victory. Instead of self-reflecting and saying “Our approach didn’t work that well,” they look to accuse other teams of cheating. It reflects this “I’m the best, and if someone beats me they must have done it by cheating.” I’m not trying to excuse the Astros. If anything, I wonder why they, and other teams, are getting away with it.

Is Everyone Guilty? No.

Players who claim they shouldn’t be held accountable because “other teams do it too,” are in effect committing the additional offense of being complicit and abetting in the acts of other team’s offenses by turning a blind eye and not calling them out. In other words, if everyone is committing an offense like sign stealing, they are all at fault. By joining in, they become guilty too. Furthermore, they encourage horrible people to threaten people like Josh Reddick. When psychos like those who make such threats see teams like the Astros get away with cheating, they think they have a right to fly off the rails themselves. That’s the ripple effect that scandals like this can have on American society. The Astros may not be directly responsible for the unfair things that happen in American society. They are, however, responsible for how people perceive their actions.

Honest Players and Fans Are the Victims Here.

Of course, I’m not saying that all MLB players were in on this Astros cheating scandal or knew about it. As I’ve insinuated, it’s tremendously unfair to those who didn’t know about the cheating. Players like L.A. Angels’ Mike Trout, who commands great respect in baseball, said as much. “It’s sad for baseball,” Trout was quoted as saying in a Yahoo Sports article. “It’s tough. They cheated.”

The Astros cheating scandal hurt players like Trout badly. Trout represent those in American society who put in an honest day’s work and have true grievances, but no one takes them seriously because of those who’ve exploited the system; they become indistinguishable. It’s players like Mike Trout that Major League Baseball should promote and make more visible to baseball fans. Right now, people are looking at baseball and thinking that cheating is acceptable in baseball because no one’s really doing anything about it (Commissioner Rob Manfred seems to be working harder to avoid the issue than I’m working to avoid the gym). Mike Trout would do what Babe Ruth did for baseball following the Black Sox scandal of 1919–restore its integrity. Players like Trout are the ones who baseball needs to see more of to show that not everyone in the sport is corruptible.

Despite the Astros Cheating Scandal, Integrity Is Still Salvageable.

I’m a teacher by day, so this issue of cheating is something with which I’m familiar. So I’ll tell Major League Baseball the same thing I tell my students when it comes to cheating. Don’t cheat and you’ll have less to worry about in the long run. You cheat, and you’re guilty. Of course, there’s always the argument that it makes no difference if no one cares and lets it happen. Our current system of government certainly seems to be exemplifying that idea. That doesn’t mean those who strive for honesty should give up though. If anything, it’s a chance for them to step up and become an example of integrity.

Corrupt people hold onto power, but not forever. When they fall, society looks to someone who never gave in to that corruption. It’s in that instance that those who resisted corruption not only find validation, but are called upon to lead.

Book Review of Homegrown: How the Red Sox Built a Champion from the Ground Up

Mookie Betts, Chris Sale, Jackie Bradley Jr. Ask any Red Sox fan who these guys are and they’ll tell you about some of the best ballplayers who ever donned a Red Sox uniform. But where did the Red Sox find these players? How long were they in the Red Sox farm system? The answers to those questions and more are found in Homegrown: How the Red Sox Built a Champion from the Ground Up by Boston Globe sportswriter Alex Speier. Speier’s book tells the story of how the Red Sox rebuilt themselves to win in 2018. It was a task that involved Dave Dombrowski’s guidance, Alex Cora’s managing skills, and Mookie Betts’ talent.

It was only a matter of time until someone wrote a book about the Boston Red Sox’sred sox built historic 2018 season. After amassing 108 regular season victories, the Red Sox went on to defeat the Houston Astros and New York Yankees in the post season. They then vanquished the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series in five games. But how did the Red Sox capture another World Series title just three years after finishing at the bottom of the standings two years in a row (2014-2015)? Careful planning, and thorough scouting, among other reasons.

The Red Sox Built a Championship Despite Individual and Team Setbacks

Speier discusses how the Red Sox front office took it one step at a time to groom who they thought would become future stars. The book discusses how some prospects didn’t work out, like Rusney Castillo. Castillo has lingered in the minors for years despite singing a $72.5 million contract in 2014. Then there were others like Yoan Moncada and Michael Kolpech. Despite promising performances, both were traded to the Chicago White Sox as part of a deal to obtain Chris Sale. There’s Mookie Betts. The 2018 MVP almost quit his baseball career after an initial poor start to his professional season. One of the best parts of the book is how Speier discusses Jackie Bradley Jr.’s progression through the Red Sox organization. Anyone who has paid attention to the centerfielder knows JBJ doesn’t have the strongest bat in the American League. Sometimes he’s on fire at the plate but those times are few and far in between. Speier’s discussion of JBJ’s ups and downs throughout his career answered many questions I, and may other Sox fans, have about why the Red Sox have kept him around for so long. It is these stories that Speier successfully weaves together to tell the story of the 2018 season.

The Red Sox Built a Team By Meeting the Challenges of Picking Promising Prospects

Readers will notice how Homegrown: How the Red Sox Built a Champion from the Ground Up doesn’t flow the way books written by more established baseball writers do. That detail, however, doesn’t mean it’s not good. Speier takes a direct and clear approach to his writing where the reader is provided with complex information. This information involves how baseball drafts work, what goes into offering a big league contract, and how and why that prospect doesn’t always work out. Speier succeeds in clarifying these details in a readable way. He also discusses why teams like the Red Sox make risky moves when offering big money to teenage prospects with the hope they’ll pay off. At face value, those moves may seem reckless and impulsive. Speier, however, explains the thought process behind such moves with concise information that makes it easy for anyone to understand and appreciate the challenges that come with trying to build a winning team.

Homegrown is One of the Better Baseball Books of the Year

Homegrown: How the Red Sox Built a Champion from the Ground Up has received strong reviews from baseball writers and reviewers alike. In fact, it was recently listed as a Top Ten Finalist for the 2020 Casey Award. This award is ranked among the highest for the best baseball book of the year. While making the list is quite the honor, it’s unfortunate that the list also didn’t include a book about the 1969 New York Mets, whose own victory in the World Series was nothing short of a miracle. I mention this because listing Homegrown alongside a book about the 1969 Mets would have only enhanced the Red Sox’s story. Readers familiar with Mets history would appreciate the efforts that the Red Sox undertook. The 1969 Mets and 2018 Red Sox were quite different teams. They also share many similarities though that would make readers and baseball fans better appreciate the lengths to which the Red Sox went to for a World Championship. I suggest reading After the Miracle by Art Shamsky and Erik Sherman if you want a comparable book to read about successful baseball seasons that involve long term grooming of promising talent.

Shoeless Joe Jackson vs. Hugh Fullerton

One hundred years have passed since sportswriter Hugh Fullerton wrote about eight members of the Chicago White Sox who took money from organized gambler Arnold Rothstein to throw the 1919 World Series. It was a scandal that almost destroyed the game of baseball. Older White Sox fans, many of them still weary from the devastating effects of World War I and the Spanish Flu epidemic that wiped out 30 million people world wide, could hardly process what the eight Black Sox players had done. Young White Sox fans took it even harder as they felt betrayed by their heroes. While the swift punishment handed down by newly minted baseball commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis a year later helped ensure that the game did not meet its demise, the scandal still devastated baseball, and the country. The effect was so tremendous that F. Scott Fitzgerald referenced it in the American classic The Great Gatsby. “It never occurred to me that one man could start to play with the faith of fifty million people–with the single-mindedness of a burglar blowing a safe.”

Born out of that scandal was folk hero “Shoeless” Joe Jackson, one of the eight playersfullerton3 who accepted money from gamblers to throw the series. He had a .375 batting average, 12 RBIs, and hit the series’ only home run in the World Series. These stats, along with making no errors, makes scholars and fans alike question whether he tried to throw the series. Regardless of how well he played, the fact remains that he did take the gamblers money. In fact,  during the 1919 World Series, he inquired on a daily basis about whether he’d get his entire share of the payoff. Despite these details, W.P. Kinsella romanticized Jackson in the novel Shoeless Joe, as well as the subsequent film, Field of Dreams. These forms of media appeal to the emotion of baseball fans who believe in Jackson’s innocence. “He continues to be Shoeless Joe,” says Charles Fountain, a professor of journalism and baseball writer who wrote The Betrayal: The 1919 World Series and the Birth of Modern Baseball in 2015, “…the guy in the cornstalks.”

Why Do We Give Shoeless Joe Jackson a Pass?

While it’s easy to fall prey to these appeals for compassion, it’s just as easy to forget that Jackson was one of eight players who tainted the integrity of the game. So why do we give Shoeless Joe Jackson a pass? This question is as relevant today as it was in 1919. In fact, those who suspected that the World Series was fixed, like writer Hugh Fullerton, tried to tell people like White Sox owner Charles Comiskey, as well as other writers, only to be all but shunned from the game for the rest of his career. So why do fans today raise Cain about injustices against Jackson and ignore Fullerton? Why is Jackson seen as a hero and Fullerton seen as a villain?

Hugh Fullerton Blows the Whistle

Let’s rehash the details first. Eight members of the Chicago White Sox, Shoeless Joe Jackson included, accepted payment to throw the 1919 World Series to the Cincinnati Reds. Hugh Fullerton heard rumors of the fix and sat with New York Giants pitching legend Christy Mathewson in the press box during the World Series to discuss. Together they noted certain suspicious plays for which a White Sox player was charged with an error. They later scrutinized these plays and came to the conclusion that they weren’t honest errors. The White Sox lost the series and the season ended. In December of 1919, Fullerton’s writing blows the scandal wide open. In a story published in the New York World entitled “IS BIG LEAGUE BASEBALL BEING RUN FOR GAMBLERS, WITH BALLPLAYERS IN THE DEAL?” Fullerton demanded that baseball investigate its gambling problem. Jackson, along with the other seven players, stood trial for their crimes and all are acquitted despite their confessions. Landis, now commissioner of baseball, banned the eight players for life anyway. “Regardless of the verdict of juries,” Landis declared, “no player that throws a ballgame; no player that undertakes or promises to throw a ballgame; no player that sits in a conference with a bunch of crooked players and gamblers where the ways and means of throwing games are planned and discussed and does not promptly tell his club about it, will ever play professional baseball.” Jackson dies in 1951, having never played professional baseball again (unless you count Field of Dreams).

Myths and Legends Born Out of Falsities

Three years ago I sat down with Charles Fountain to discuss Jackson and the 1919 Black Sox legacy. Fountain’s book, The Betrayal, a nominee for the 2015 Casey Award, challenges many of the assumptions that baseball fans have about the 1919 World Series, most of which derive from Eliot Asinof’s Eight Men Out that for many years fans took for gospel. For example, Comiskey allegedly promised Eddie Cicotte, one of the eight players involved in the scandal, a $10,000 bonus if he won 30 games during the 1919 season. When Cicotte won his twenty-eighth game, Comiskey ordered Cicotte benched so he wouldn’t have to give him the bonus. Fountain alleges that this isn’t a true story. Not only did Cicotte consistently pitch throughout the season, but there is no evidence in his contract showing that he was ever going to receive a bonus. Then there’s the story that gamblers threatened Lefty Williams when he tried to renege on the deal. The problem with this story is that Williams wasn’t in Chicago at the time that this alleged threat happened. “Asimov was such a beautiful writer,” Fountain said about the famed author during our 2015 talk, “but was not concerned with fact but instead with story.”

Many Fans Don’t Know the Real Details of the 1919 World Series

Most baseball fans aren’t aware of these new insights unless they’ve read Fountain’s book. It is difficult to say how much it would matter though if baseball fans better knew that information. We live in a time where people more readily accept perception over fact, a behavior fueled by impulsive reactions instead of tempered insight. For many baseball fans, Shoeless Joe Jackson represents an idea that one’s sins shouldn’t be held against them indefinitely, especially if their actions defy the very sins they’re accused of committing. For other baseball fans, Jackson is a cause they can rally around to feel good about themselves. Jackson is “sort of wrong victim,” Fountain explains “…and if you take that away you end the story, while it’s a happy resolution for the Jackson people, we then stop talking about it.” So if baseball fans feel that Jackson was slighted, then why don’t they feel the same way about Fullerton, who tried in vain to call attention to the fix? “…if Fullerton had grown disillusioned with the game,” Fountain wrote in The Betrayal, “the game had grown disillusioned with him too, as he was made to feel unwelcome by many who believed he had broken some sort of unspoken code by writing his December 1919 stories, that his fealty to the image of the game should have trumped his fealty to his readers and the truth.”

Fullerton’s Role and Contributions to the Story

Journalist Steven M. Klein wrote his master’s thesis on Hugh Fullerton at Michigan Statefullerton University focusing on a complex man of high morals. Klein details how Fullerton upbringing in Ohio and how McGuffey’s Readers guided his education. William H. McGuffey’s books reflected Protestant ideals that focused on morality, integrity, and education. These books profoundly impacted scientists and doctors because they encouraged critical thinking over rote memorization. Fullerton used these books as a basis for his own moral beliefs throughout his career. One of the ideas that the McGuffey books conveyed to its readers included components of integrity and honesty. Fullerton held these ideas in such high regard that one could argue that they influenced Fullerton to speak out about the 1919 Black Sox scandal. He believed that staying quiet about what he noticed about the 1919 World Series contradicted the beliefs he valued.

Gambling in America’s Victorian Era

Fullerton grew up towards the tale end of the Victorian Era in America and was working full time at the dawn of the 20th century. During this time gambling was becoming more and more rampant in baseball, as well as in general society, which challenged a Victorian-based belief system that valued integrity and honesty. Fullerton was a descendent of that era, and was likely one of the few still clinging to these ideas. So many others sports writers had become accustomed to American disillusionment in post-World War I America that it makes sense that they didn’t want to hear Fullerton’s ramblings about the disintegration of morality and honesty in baseball. As Klein writes, “The game needed to mirror America’ perception of itself as a foursquare land of equal opportunity and limitless possibilities.” Hugh Fullerton’s exposure of the 1919 Black Sox scandal exposed this idea as a falsity.

Hugh Fullerton Received No Recognition for his Role, Only Admonishment

Fullerton was later blackballed from the sports writing world because he had refused to look the other way with the 1919 Black Sox scandal. As a scientist and stats guy, he knew that what the eight White Sox players did was not only wrong, but a major insult to what we know recognize as sabermetrics. “The Black Sox scandal provided sports writers of the time with a unique challenge…but only one was up to it,” Klein writes, “What separated Fullerton, however, was his willingness to write about it while others remained silent.”

Why Doesn’t Anyone Remember or Recognize Hugh Fullerton?

So why don’t baseball fans recognize Fullerton’s contributions to the game, particularly his involvement in the Black Sox scandal? One possible explanation is that he kept people from relying on their willful ignorance; Hugh Fullerton ruined the “ignorance is bliss” excuse for fans, writers, and owners who didn’t want to hear anymore bad news in the wake of the decade’s devastating events. While some might find it hard to blame them, it brings unavoidable attention to the contradiction showing unwavering devotion to a self-admitted crook like Jackson. It also shows an intense resentment towards a man of integrity like Fullerton. Why though? Is it because Jackson’s story is one that gives baseball fans a modicum of hope that he wasn’t a crook rather than a great baseball player? An illiterate man exploited by gamblers? Do fans hope that their own sins may find forgiveness too? Or is it because films like Field of Dreams, a film that symbolizes a bond between father and son so strong that fans confuse its emotional bond with truth? Do fans point to Field of Dreams and say “How can you condemn Shoeless Joe Jackson when he was such an amazing character in the movie?” Regardless of how great of a baseball movie it is (I’ll admit that I love it too), it’s ridiculous to cite it as anything more than a fictitious feel-good movie. It’s not a basis of fact. Jackson willingly accepted Rothstein’s money. It doesn’t matter how well he played in the 1919 World Series.

Does Shoeless Joe Jackson Deserve Induction into the Hall of Fame?

Fans that advocate for Jackson’s removal from baseball’s lifetime ban list should askfullerton2 themselves whether they want him removed for the right reasons. Do they want him removed because of his ban, or so they can feel better about themselves? If it’s the former, then they must also recognize Hugh Fullerton, for he was the writer who tried to preserve the integrity that Jackson’s supporters argue Landis took from him. Does Jackson deserve induction into the Hall of Fame? Probably. But that can’t happen without simultaneously recognizing Fullerton too. For some fans though, that might not be a compromise they want, as it would mean recognizing the sins they’re trying to excuse.

UK Red Sox Fans Bask in Glory of London Series

The Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees kicked off the inaugural London Series on June 29th in London, England. In what the MLB plans to be an annual event, the Red Sox and Yankees enthralled almost 60,000 fans at Queen Elizabeth Stadium in London that saw the Yankees win both games. Many American baseball fans made the epic trek across the pond for the series while a large number of UK Red Sox fans came to root for their favorite baseball team.

Little did I know that in the United Kingdom (UK) exists a large UK Red Sox fanbase. They haveUK Red Sox their own Facebook page, and their fans’ love for the Red Sox know no bounds. I spoke with Adam Perry, the moderator of the Boston Red Sox Fans of the UK Facebook page, to learn more about his, and other UK fans’, love for the Red Sox.

“I was a Red Sox fan rather than a baseball fan,” Perry told me in a July 8th Skype interview. “And because of that you kind of get to know the game, the intricacies, the players, the history. So that was the start of it for me. I mean everybody has different reasons for doing it. And when [UK fan club] did start gathering, which was about 20 years ago before the advent of social media, we used to just gather together in a sports bar in London and used to watch the games. We were one of the first sort of supporters or fans of any US sports team that were doing this, which is quite unique.”

Perry wasn’t the only fan that I got to speak with about their love for the Red Sox. After posting a message to their Facebook group asking other fans to talk about how they became fans, I was inundated with dozens of messages, notes, and postings from UK Red Sox fans detailing their love for baseball.

UK Red Sox Fans Love the Game As Much As Americans Do

Janine Pipe stated, “I became a fan after honeymooning in Boston during the famous ALCS in 2004.”

Philip Harris’ love for the Red Sox started with a teacher. “[It was] 1965. I had an American exchange teacher (I was 7-8 years old) who came from Boston and taught me about the Celtics, Bruins, and Sox. Been a fan ever since.”

Sam “Mulldog” Mullan’s love for the Red Sox came from a G.I. his aunt married. “My aunt married a US G.I. after WW2 and moved to Boston. Every time they visited they’d bring something Sox related. One of my baby photos was me in a Red Sox baby grow. Played baseball on the UK for Plymouth Mariners and loved the game! Saw my first game in 2004 and every season I have seen a game at Fenway they have won the World Series.”

Ceri Lewis said, “I’m Welsh. A Celt. So took an interest in the Celtics. Then came the Patriots in 1984. Seemed logical. I was 12 years old. The Red Sox sort of followed but it was baseball I truly fell for. My 25th birthday surprise from my wife was a trip to Fenway. I shook at the sight of the Green Monster. From the outside! I cried. It was wonderful. That was 1997. My fascination became a full blown love affair.”

Christopher Pease’s love began with a baseball movie. “My journey into becoming Sox fan began after seeing The Natural in 1984. It was my first experience of anything baseball and I fell in love with the game at that moment. Following the game was very difficult back then. Two week old copies of USA Today from stores near the American Embassy in London and late night radio broadcasts on Armed Forces Network had to satisfy my growing interest. Luckily British Television broadcast the 1986 [World Series] and I found my team.”

So how did these fans feel about the London Series?

“My Red Sox came to my home town,” Lewis added. “I am still buzzing now. I just wished they brought a feckin bullpen too.”

UK Red Sox Fans A Little Miffed With Team Snub

While most UK Fans were more than thrilled to see the Red Sox come to London, some were disappointed that the Red Sox organization didn’t do more to reach out to its UK Red Sox fans.

“The Yankees came and they did some community stuff,” Perry added. “They brought [some] legends over. But the Red Sox didn’t do anything. We tried to engage and the numbers that we had, I asked if they could send somebody over…to come to our meets on a Saturday.”

It was Major League Baseball, not the Red Sox or Yankees, that oversaw all the operations for the London Series. That fact may explain why the Red Sox did not take on a larger role in reaching out to its UK fanbase; the MLB planned everything. Regardless, Perry thinks the Red Sox could have shown a little more attention to UK Red Sox fans.

“They missed a big opportunity…that’s the one real disappointing thing I think of the whole weekend and beforehand. And I don’t know why that is. I think the Yankees, believe it or not, we’re better at it. They don’t have many fans that they invited some of their fans to meet some of the players on the flight.”

While Pease loved the series, he echoed Perry’s views. “My only gripe was the lack of Red Sox interaction with fans here. Alex Cora did not seem happy to be here either. The Yankees, however, brought over several alumni including Nick Swisher who really had fun meeting fans and young players during the weekend.”

That doesn’t mean, however, that he didn’t have fun.

“We spent several years looking forward to the London Series and it was so amazing, almost dream like,” Pease added. “Next year just isn’t going to be the same even though I will be rooting for Theo’s boys!”

Red Sox Swept in Inaugural London Series Against Yankees

The New York Yankees swept the Boston Red Sox in the inaugural London Series opener on June 29-30th at Queen Elizabeth Stadium in London, England. While the Red Sox took the lead in both games, the team’s lackluster bullpen saw to it that the New York Yankees swept the Boston Red Sox in the inaugural London Series. Seeing the Red Sox swept in another country not only adds to Red Sox Nation’s disappointment, but also makes one wonder if the team will make it to the playoffs in the fall.

Red Sox Swept Before Crowd Made Up of Sox Fans

As one would expect, the series itself did not shy away from pomp and circumstance.red sox swept Each game’s pre-game ceremonies included fireworks, live music, and ostentatious starting lineup announcements (with fire-breathing machines “announcing” the entrance of each player running onto the field). Both games started with the American National Anthem, as well as the British National Anthem complete with oversized flags of each country rolled out by Her Majesty’s royal military. What followed the opening ceremonies though was nothing short of American.

Organizers of the event pulled out all the stops for the series. Ushers had copies of the lyrics to “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” to ensure they knew how to sing along, and teach other non-Americans how as well. Multiple announcements were made instructing the crowd that they could keep foul balls (In cricket matches the fans supposedly have to throw the ball back, as rules dictate that the same ball must be used for the entire game). It didn’t seem necessary though, as many of the fans that I met had come from the United States for the games; most were Red Sox fans.

As someone who attended the games, I loved that the stadium organist played tunes such as “Charge!” as well as a flawless rendition of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” Major League Baseball clearly worked very hard to ensure that the English got a healthy dose of American baseball and the ones I talked to seemed to enjoy it!

Vendors offered a wide range of different food options, including hot dogs, sausages, popcorn, and  ice cream. There were so many different types of beer that I lost count. In true modern ballpark fashion, prices for a t-shirt, pins, and hats were astronomical once you figured the exchange rate from pounds to dollars.

Fans could have almost anything they wanted. If they were a Red Sox fan though, victory was the one thing they couldn’t buy.

Red Sox Swept By a More Dominant Team

I’ll spare you the details, as explaining the play-by-play of how the Red Sox blew leads in both games would take more words than the 900 allotted. Their performance, however, proved that no matter where they are, or what city/country they travel to, their bullpen headaches will follow. Seeing the Red Sox swept in another country adds to Red Sox Nation’s disappointment. It also makes one wonder if the team will make it to the playoffs in the fall. Additionally, while it’s hard to admit, the Yankees were the better team. They were more focused, they knew how to handle the Sox’s pitching, and they exploited weaknesses.

Will the Red Sox come from behind and overcome the Yankees by fall? I don’t think so. But then again, I’ve been wrong before.