Friday, October 17, 2008

VPR Connecting the (Red Sox) Community

A mere few hours after the Boston Red Sox made the biggest postseason comeback in 79 years, overcoming a 7-0 deficit to win 8-7, forcing a Game 6 in the American League Championship Series, Morning Edition host Mitch Wertlieb lamented on the air about how he had given up and gone to bed. It wasn't until I popped my head into the studio at 8 a.m. that Mitch found someone who had stayed up to see the incredible rally. He was so impressed that he reported this on the air.

An hour later, Mitch sends me this email:

"I just got a phone call from Stu Curry, a 57-year old listener from Chester. He heard me mention that I had "finally found a Red Sox fan who stayed up to watch the entire historic Red Sox comeback victory over the Rays last night...VPR's own Michelle Jeffery watched the whole game...and never gave up hope." Stu wanted me to know that he too kept believing and also stayed tuned to the entire game, and was witness to the 8-run, come-from-behind victory that occurred after the Sox were down 7-0 in the 7th inning, facing elimination from the playoffs.

Stu was delighted that VPR covered the story so enthusiastically and related many of his own Red Sox memories, including live attendance at notorious Sox losses like the Buck Dent home run in the 1-game playoff against the Yankees in 1978, and the Aaron Boone home run off Tim Wakefield in the 2003 ALCS that also had the Yankees breaking Red Sox' fans hearts.

But Stu wanted me to know he was also at Fenway Park for game 4 of the ALCS against the Yankees in 2004 when Dave Roberts stole second against Mariano Rivera in the bottom of the 9th and was brought home by Bill Mueller's single...all of which led to Big Papi's 12th-inning game winning HR and the eventual first-time-in-baseball history that a team overcame a 3-0 series deficit to win a playoff in 7 games.

What a great example of a VPR listener reacting to and fostering a moment of connection, wanting to relate his own story to one he heard on VPR, and appreciating the enthusiasm in reporting a story he also cares about passionately. It's really what public radio does best."

During membership drives we're always looking for ways to describe how public radio connects us to one another. Thanks, Stu and Mitch, for demonstrating this so beautifully.

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