I have no doubt that my Red Sox childhood (which really began in 1976, when I was 7) was enhanced by the existence – and personality – of George Steinbrenner. (And Billy Martin and Reggie Jackson, for that matter.) Red Sox Universe is an epic, and every epic needs a legitimate villain. I have to admit, I didn’t even notice that Red Sox Universe was starting to get slightly bland until George’s son decided to speak his mind. I agree with Dan Shaughnessy, who writes in today’s Boston Globe, “Hank is definitely going to be good for the rivalry,” and “Having Hank on board is certainly a beautiful thing.”
What would Oz be without the Wicked Witch of the West? What would Neverland be without Captain Hook? What would the Galactic Republic be without Jabba the Hutt and Darth Vader? What would Buzz Lightyear’s Intergalactic Alliance be without Emperor Zurg? What would Dora the Explorer be without Swiper the Fox or the Troll? (Those last couple of metaphors are targeted to Red Sox Kid Nation, five of whom I spend all my time with every weekend, at home.)
I’m so happy for my kids that there’s another Steinbrenner running the Yanks. Every kid in Red Sox Universe deserves a full-blown, emotionally charged rivalry, and Hank promises to inject that element we didn’t even know we craved.
Does Hank have kids that will take over in 20 years? Is there a chance this epic drama could extend to my grandchildren’s Red Sox childhoods? I certainly hope so.