Where It All Began

When I was born, I wasn’t swaddled in a red and blue blanket. I wasn’t given any sort of early childhood propaganda. I couldn’t even tell you when I attended my first game. All I know is that I, a member of a big Irish family and a close-knit American town, have been deeply and unabashedly in love with baseball for as long as I can remember.

Poppy in 1966

Poppy in 1966

My family originates from a small town in Upstate New York. My great-grandfather, Timothy Marcellinus Coughlin, was a man who was so small that he made a living shimmying up and down smoke stacks in a power plant. Obviously, this is tough work, but the most tedious part of his job wasn’t the hard labor. Instead, he dreaded the conversation.

Day after day, Poppy entered the doors of the plant to the sound of tired men grumbling about their work, their dreams, and most importantly, the results of the latest ballgame. As I said, this story is taking place in New York, so it was constantly the rants and raves of Yankee fans in the break room. This was the age of DiMaggio, Gehrig, and the Babe.

Baseball was at its peak in America and no one had anything else to talk about. Trash talk, mostly. It didn’t matter what team you rooted for, so long as you knew that you were no better than the village idiot for cheering on a team that wasn’t the Yankees. This was no game in the early 1900’s. Baseball created feuds that no friendship could endure.

Well, it finally got to my great-grandfather, and after weeks of hearing the highfalutin nonsense of the friends of the Bronx Bombers, Poppy made a decision that would change the course of my family history forever. He announced his support of the Boston Red Sox.


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