Derek Catsam ’93 has kindly volunteered to join us as an author at EphBlog, the better to post his diary of a Red Sox fan. It may take a little while to get the technical details worked out. In the meantime, here is the first entry of the season.

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Sunday, February 22, 2004: Spring training has begun. Pitchers and catchers have reported. The sour taste of Aaron Boone’s late night home run to end the ALCS will linger forever, like Bucky Fucking Dent’s home run off Mike Torrez and that cursed ground ball through Buckner’s legs in 1986, but spring training represents a bit of a purging, anyway, and as always, even in cynical Red Sox Nation, hope springs eternal.

In what has to be an unprecedented phenomenon in the history of athletic competition, the rivalry between the Red Sox and the Yankees (let it be known that I used the term “Evil Empire” in an essay on the Sox a good two years before Larry Lucchino uttered it in 2002), already the most intense in all of sport, has become even more intense in the off-season. The Red Sox signing of Curt Schilling and Keith Foulke made theirs an incredibly productive Hot Stove Season as it was. But then in November rumors began to circulate that we might be about to trade for Alex Rodriguez, A-Rod, the consensus best player in baseball, for Manny Ramirez, our idiot savant hitter extraordinaire who comes with more emotional baggage than US Airways. For the record, I was never very keen on the trade. I thought that giving up Manny and Nomar (who we would have traded for Magglio Ordonez of the White Sox if the knights of the keyboards are to be believed) and taking on A-Rod’s salary would not be worthwhile. Talks finally fell apart after several revivals, Tom Hicks, the Rangers’ loose-lipped General Manager, declared A-Rod to be the Rangers captain in mid-January, promising Texas fans that he would be their starting shortstop indefinitely, and then promptly and stealthily he traded Rodriguez to the Yankees for Alfonso Soriano. Immediately the media whipped out the dual canards about the Curse of the Bambino (enough! Enough! A thousand times ENOUGH!) and about the tortured Red Sox fan, forgetting that many of us diehards are more than willing to go into the season against the Yankees with Pedro, Schilling, Lowe, Wakefield, and Foulke on the mound and Nomar, ‘Tek, Manny and the rest of the Dirt Dogs who Cowboyed Up last year in the lineup.

Yup, spring training has begun. I couldn’t be more excited. And in this memoir, we’ll follow the Boston Red Sox, and in so doing, hopefully we’ll explore the psyche and life of a Red Sox fan, an otherwise well-adjusted and successful individual who nonetheless has devoted way too much of his heart and soul to the Olde Towne Team.

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