Currently there is a funny little youtube clip doing the rounds in what Dan Shaughnessy calls 'the breathless fan boys of Red Sox Nation' (I am so calling my 2008 fantasy baseball team exactly that!)blogs and even in Eric Wilbur's latest piece in the Globe.
In it Matt Damon appears on the David Letterman show wearing a Red Sox jersey and making (Yankee fan) Letterman burst out laughing by opening with, 'So, how is your summer going?'. Don't worry, I'll include the clip below, what I want to do though, is refute what I am reading in some areas, that this is just another case of a celebrity 'fan' attaching themselves to a team in bandwagon fashion.
Not that Damon's loyalties to the Sox really need to be defended, however, his support for the Red Stockings is actually kind of interesting.
In the wikipedia entry for Matt Damon there is a sentence that reads, simply;
''Matt Damon and his best friend Ben Affleck are die-hard Boston Red Sox fans.''
Short, accurate and to the point. However, what seperates Damon from the average celebrity fan? What makes him different to say, Jimmy Fallon, who basically 'courted' the Red Sox before and after the release of 'The Perfect Catch'. What are, in effect, his Red Sox Nation credentials?
What, apart from being born in Cambridge, Massachusetts?
One of the first times I put one and one together and got that Damon was a Red Sox fan was while watching the All-Star Celebrity Hitting Challenge in the summer of '99. It was a goofy little game with various all stars like Kevin Costner hitting batting practice pitching with where the ball landing deciding how many points they were rewarded, for each hit.
Interviewed shortly after the event, Damon was simply ecstatic. He was clearly overjoyed to be even allowed walk on the Fenway grass, let alone take his cuts in the batter box. I have had the honour, the luck, heck the sheer good fortune to have played at Fenway park (with the Irish team in 2001) and I can relate that it plays with your mind. It turns you into a wobbling-mess of mental goo, something like a hyperactive kid being let loose late at night in a locked up toy store. You wander around trying deperately to remember every single second with a constant, childish, goofy grin plastered to your face.
I suppose I didn't fully appreciate it until two years later but after his stint at Fenway that's the exact grin Damon was wearing on his mug.
Taking a step back, Affleck and Damon's intense love for the Red Sox comes to the fore in their co-written, Oscar winning movie, 'Goodwill Hunting'. There is a wonderful scene where Robin Williams character tells Damon's character how he gave up his ticket to see the Red Sox in the 1975 World Series (thus missing Carlton Fisk's famous home run in Game 6) to meet and spend time with a stranger in a bar who would later become his wife. It is a fun, touching moment of film history, and is obviously written (and preformed) by someone who not only knows plenty about the Red Sox, but someone who cares.
How's your summer goin'?
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