DUBLIN – If you’re a Boston sports fan, there’s a lot to be thankful for today.
Unless, of course, you have to follow your boyhood teams from a foreign shore 3,000 miles away where Gaelic football, hurling, soccer, and rugby reign supreme.
Not that I’m complaining. Thanks to the leaps and bounds in digital technology over the past decade, I can now keep track of the Sox, Pats, Bruins, and Celtics — not to mention Thanksgiving Day games involving my hometown Medford Mustangs — as closely as any fan with a local area code. (Last year I was able to tune in on my laptop to the 125th installment of the Medford–Malden high school gridiron classic, a one-sided affair in brilliant holiday sunshine that featured a steady procession of Orange Line trains on tracks above Macdonald Stadium in Malden.)
But even with these advances, there’s still one obstacle preventing my full enjoyment of the Hub’s outrageously successful major league franchises.
Until some Silicon Valley whiz kid develops an app that can alter the rotation of the earth, I’ll need to stay up well past midnight — summer and winter — if I want to catch any live action. So the next time a Red Sox game runs late and you’re rushing for that last train out of Kenmore, or the Bruins go into OT, then a shoot-out and you’re stuck in late-night North Station traffic, remember there are fans on this side of the water who are only a couple of hours away from their morning commute.
As for the recent World Series victory recorded at Fenway Park in the very wee hours (Irish time), I’m convinced that William Wordsworth was foreshadowing my situation when he penned this line (ostensibly about emerging Enlightenment values) in the early 19th-century: “Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive.”
(Apologies for the literary digression. But as a UMass-Boston grad who majored in English, I feel compelled at times to get some commercial value out of my degree.)
Of course, the five-hour time difference between Dublin and Boston isn’t the only thing that makes being a transatlantic fan difficult.
Despite the obvious scheduling conflict — and leaving my cable sports package behind — I accompanied my wife and son on a school vacation visit to her family in Cork on the very day the Red Sox were preparing to capture their third World Series title in a decade. (That phrase will always sound preposterous to anyone who lived through the ’67, ’75, and ’86 seasons.)
Anyway, I had to depend on my high-tech savvy, woefully deficient in the best of times, to ensure that I got to see Game 6. Luckily, the marketing gurus at MLB saved me. For $3.99 I got access to a high-definition broadcast on my laptop. The only question was whether my mother-in-law’s Internet connection could handle the feed. I’m happy to report that the transmission was for the most part uninterrupted, with only a handful of inconsequential stops.
The one drawback was that my cable package back in Dublin offered MLB’s international broadcast team of Gary Thorne and Rick Sutcliffe, whose low-key insights and instruction on baseball in general, intended for a worldwide audience, were vastly superior to the glitzy Fox Sports presentation I received through the MLB website.
Also, I got none of the postgame Fenway Park festivities. As soon as Fox took its first commercial break from the on-field celebrations that followed the final out, my screen went blank and I was informed that the broadcast of this particular event had concluded.
Not to worry. I’d seen enough. I smiled to myself, powered down my laptop, shut off the living room lights, and went to bed.
As I settled in beside my wife, she turned and asked sleepily: “Is it over?”
“Yeah,” I said. “They won.”
I figured this was hardly the time to mention that our upgraded cable package back in Dublin now includes channels that will feature the Bruins, Celtics, and Patriots over the coming weeks.
There’s only so much information a person can take in at 4 in the morning.