I’ve never been to Boston. Heck, I’ve never been north of the Mason-Dixon Line.
But My dad, Albert Michael Yanelli III, who died in 2002, was born in Boston — East Boston to be exact — and for that I reason, I’ve always felt connected to the city.
My earliest baseball memory was staying up late in 1975 to watch the World Series games between the Boston Red Sox and the Cincinnati Reds.
That also was about the time I learned about Bostonians’ negative attitudes toward their home teams.
“They’ll never win a World Series,” my dad would say.
And I, being all of 9 years old and still thinking all things were possible if you just hoped hard enough, couldn’t for the life of me figure out why he could be so devoid of hope, so certain that the team he grew up rooting for would ultimately fail.
It was several years later before I learned of “the curse of the Bambino,” a superstition first written about by Dan Shaughnessy of The Boston Globe in his 1990 book, “The Curse of the Bambino,” based on the fact the Red Sox, who had won five of the first 15 World Series, had not won another after then-Red Sox owner Harry Frazee sold the contract of Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees in 1920.
After I became aware of the curse, I thought back to 1986, when the Red Sox were just one out away from a World Series title and a routine ground ball by Mookie Wilson rolled through the legs of Boston first baseman Bill Buckner, allowing the New York Mets to rally and win Game 6. Of course, the Mets went on to win Game 7.
Needless to say, I cried like a little baby when the Red Sox finally broke the curse and won the 2004 World Series against the hated New York Yankees.
I cried because my dad died before he got to see his boyhood team win a title.
My affinity for Boston’s baseball team didn’t always carry over to other sports; for example, I never really cheered on the Celtics in the NBA, and totally can’t stand the New England Patriots of the NFL.
Then, when I was on my way to work April 15, 2013, and heard the news of the bombing at the finish line of The Boston Marathon, I was overcome with a sense of sadness.
It was as if I’d lost a family member.
Like many across our great nation, I followed the manhunt for the perpetrators and cried along with others as I watched television news magazines share survivor stories on those who vowed not to let the terrorists win.
Needless to say, I was ecstatic when Boston won the most recent World Series, seemingly fueled by the ‘Boston Strong” mantra that grew from the ashes of that terrible day just more than one year ago.
And I think I’ll be just as thrilled when this year’s race, which takes place today, is completed without incident.