GLENN: I was 11 years old. It was the summer of 1975. I contend it was the summer that my dad and I won game six of the World Series.
And I remember it like it was yesterday. You know those kind of memories that you can -- you can smell the memory. You can -- you can smell the house. You can smell the grass. Everything is just so vivid, the way grass smells right after it's been cut in the summer. You can see the way the sun would shine. And it would come through the living room window and bounce off the hardwood floor every morning.
You slept with your window open. And you could feel the cool breeze in the morning.
Do you remember what it felt like every day, running and playing, just being a kid? Summertime meant something.
We don't crave the summer just for the sun. We crave it because it was -- it was the most important time in our life. I don't know if it's like this for kids anymore.
But it was in the summer that you became who you are. You became your own person. You developed a life of your own.
It's where you found what you love. And later, who you loved. When I was 11 years old, I found what I loved.
Radio. Radio in a bizarre way. And my love of baseball through the radio. But it -- it was all tangled up in summer. And one summer, it just consumed me. My passion.
Every single day, that summer, 9 o'clock, I would meet with Jim and Freddie and my best friend Mike, along with seven or eight other interchangeable stragglers. And we would make about a two-mile hike into a run downfield. It was right off of Main Street, behind the hardware store. And none of us had a $200 aluminum bat. Or a case of brand-new baseballs. And nobody was watching us.
We had an old wooden bat that had been given to Freddie by his older brother. He had cracked it at practice. So we took some tape, and we bound that bat up, held together by the tape. The grip was so worn, that you were sure to go home with a splinter or two every single day. The ball, we had found in the woods. I grew up in the Pacific northwest. So it was a little waterlogged. It had been there for a few months. So it was more of a shot put than a baseball.
But that didn't stop us. Every day, all day, we would be there. And we wouldn't stop for anything, except for the trek over to the store on the corner, where we would get a Coke or some bazooka bubble gum.
And we would all pretend we were in the major leagues. We would stand there for hours with a stick in your hand. Swinging away, against imagery pitchers. Practice rounding the bases. Winning the game, the last game of the World Series.
Those were remarkable summer days. But then, the real excitement came when I came home. Because we would rush through dinner. And we would clean our rooms so we could sit in front of the TV. And our mom would say, don't sit so close, you're going to get eye cancer.
But we were able to watch the first few innings of the game. But only the first few innings because mom and dad were both sticklers for bedtime, even during the summer. We were like, there's no homework. There's no school.
We begged. We complained. We'd scream. We'd argue. We'd do -- you know, I'm just down for a drink of water. We did all the tricks.
Never got me past the fourth inning. Sometime in the fourth inning, my dad would drag me up to bed. And that would be the end of my baseball adventure for another day.
Or so he thought. It was early that summer, that I discovered what I liked to call the vent.
I think it's where I get my love for radio. We had this old house. And there was this old big old black iron vent at the top of the stairs. And it served as a tunnel, straight to the ballpark. We'd get tucked in. I would wait for mom to go to bed. And then I would slowly open the door. And my head would peek out. And I would creep towards the hallway. I had carefully placed my feet in a pattern that I had diligently created. It took me a long time to find out exactly which boards creaked and which ones didn't.
Then I would slowly get on my hands and knees, and I would place my face, my ear to that cold vent. I can still feel the cold steel up against my face and the sound of the TV. I couldn't see any pictures. I had to make them in my mind.
As that sound would make its way up the metal tube and spill out into a picture painted by words. A picture that was so vivid in my imagination, and I felt like I had front row seats right behind home plate. I had a hot dog in my hand. A soda. A box of crackerjacks. I could smell the grass.
I remember listening to the World Series that year. It was between the Reds and the Red Sox. And while the broadcasters were artists with their words, it was a number that stuck out of my head most of all. And that number was 1918.
1918. The Red Sox hadn't won the World Series since 1918. But this year, they had to win, because I wanted them to, my dad wanted them to. I sat in my hallway night after night. My knees, I swore were bruising. My back would ache.
Just waiting for the moment that the Red Sox would do the impossible and defeat the big red machine.
Five nights of heart-pounding suspense. Red Sox were down three games to two. By this time now, the summer had ended. School had returned. My bedtime was strictly enforced.
It was October 21st, I remember the date. October 21st, 1975. I remember everything.
It was right after the second inning, that I had to go upstairs kicking and screaming. I just need another drink of water. I can still remember my Dad saying to me, don't worry. I'll tell you about it in the morning.
After I gave up and as I was kind of stomping up the stairs, I remember thinking, you're not going to have to tell me. I know I don't have to wait until tomorrow because I have the vent.
And as I hit the top of the stairs, I quickly washed up and climbed into my bed and waited to hear my mom pass by my door, check on it, and see if I was sleeping. I was good at pretending. I waited in my bed for five long World Series minutes. Five minutes.
I heard her come up the stairs. I heard her close her door. Her night was over. And mine had just begun.
I remember getting up, carefully, oh, so carefully. Stepping out of my room. Creeping across the floor, putting my feet in exactly the right spots. Make sure there wasn't a sound or a creek from the floorboard. And I slowly, carefully, made my way to the vent. Down on my hands and knees. My face pressed up against the cold steel.
That's when everything changed. I wasn't there for very long when I heard a sound. I heard the sound. It was a unique sound. There was nothing else in the house that sounded like this, especially if you're listening for this sound. If this sound is trouble, when you hear this sound, you don't miss it. It was the sound that only my father could make when he pulled the squeaky lever on his tattered, you know, vinyl recliner.
I instantly broke into a cold sweat. He's getting out of his chair. Now, some things in life are certain. There's death. There's taxes. And there's dad, sitting in his favorite chair watching America's pastime.
Okay. Okay. Okay. Don't panic. Don't panic. Don't panic. He's just going to the fridge. He's getting another beer. Don't panic. He's going to go to the bathroom. I'm sure that's what it is. He's not going upstairs. I haven't made a sound.
But I could hear the squeak of the floors downstairs. And they were not headed towards the kitchen or the bathroom. They were headed towards the stairs.
I sat there, paralyzed, seemingly unable to move. I don't know what happened to me. I could not move.
I don't know when it dawned on me that it was too late, there's no way I could get out of here and go back to bed. Because I would have to run across the floor. I would give myself away. This is the first moment, as a kid -- I mean, when you're a little kid, maybe. But this was -- I was -- I was becoming an adult. And yet, this was the first moment that I -- I really willed myself to be invisible.
I am invisible. He will not see me.
Yeah, that didn't work. Maybe it occurred to me when I -- I heard the creek of the first stair, that he wasn't walking up the stairs, but he was sneaking up the stairs. My dad seemed to have the same kinds of abilities that I was developing. We had something in common. I heard the creek of the first stair and then the second and then the third. And my mind began to scramble for an excuse. I had to go to the bathroom, and I just fell. I dropped something down the vent, Dad.
I didn't have a good excuse.
He was almost at the top of the stairs, and I could see the top of my dad's bald head. I just sat there like a deer in headlights. My only defense -- I was just -- I was just hoping that I wasn't going to get run over in this accident like that deer. I stared at my father. He stopped at the top of the stairs, his back still not -- his back still facing me. He still hadn't seen me. He paused. I was frozen.
And then he turned, but the way he turned, he turned and looked straight, directly at me. He knew I was there with the vent.
I wondered if he had known I had been there every night before. I sat there, and I waited a very loud and unbearable punishment. And my dad looked at me and I looked up at me, guilty eyes begging for lien answer, and I just said, hi.
He looked at me and he smiled and he shook his head and he said, come downstairs.
I thought I was going to get the punishment of my life. And then he said, and don't wake your mother.
The two of us both tiptoed back down the stairs. And we sat down trying to contain our excitement, as the game went into extra innings. I had never seen a smile on my dad's face like this. I knew if just the two of us had rooted hard enough, that the Red Sox would win. They couldn't lose because my dad and I were now in it together. It was the bottom of the 12th inning. Up steps Carlton Fisk, Red Sox catcher, first pitch up, and in. Ball one.
Palms were sweating in anticipation. Pat Darcy, Cincinnati pitcher began his windup. And my dad said, this is it. This is it.
He was right. Darcy released a sinker down and in, first just belted it down the line. My dad stood up and yelled, stay fair! Stay fair! It was as if any thought of my mom sleeping was completely gone and disappeared with the crack of the bat. Stay fair! He kept screaming.
Even Fisk was standing on the plate with both hands waving, trying to will the ball fair. My dad and I were both now standing, screaming, stay fair!
Some people would say that my dad and I had nothing to do with the World Series that year. Some would say that a father and a son can't make a ball stay fair.
But I know in my heart, I know that's not true. The ball banged off the metal mesh of the poll, and it was fair. It was a home run. It won the game.
My dad and I were just screaming. We were jumping so much. I think we woke up entire neighborhood in the process. Well, everybody except my mother.
But we didn't care. And once everything calmed down, it was just me and my dad standing there, staring at the TV, and then at each other. Our shoulders were scared back. Fisk had hit the ball. But we were the ones that kept it fair.
The Red Sox would go on to lose game seven, but it didn't matter. I had spent a night with my dad that neither of us would ever forget.
My dad and I won game six of the World Series. And we won it together.
As I look back on that night in October, I can't help, but think that the only way that this could have been better, would be if -- if just one word of this story had actually been true.