The Physics of the World Series Trophy
I work at a school for kids ages 4 to 14, so when Jerry Remy selected me to be Vice President of Red Sox Nation (after I placed second in the presidential election), I immediately began brainstorming ways to bring "Red Sox love" to the students, teachers, and staff at my school. I like to think big, so I asked the Sox if I could have the World Series trophy for a morning. Miraculously, they responded that the trophy would be between other engagements and in my school’s area on one particular day, making it available to me and my school for perhaps 45 minutes. Unbelievable.
I arranged for the trophy to be a surprise. And what a surprise! I unveiled it at a school assembly at the conclusion of a brief speech to the community on the lesson that there are many ways to "win" in any contest besides getting the most points, getting the highest grade, or winning the gold medal. "For example," I said, "I didn’t get the most votes in the race for president, but as the runner-up, today I have the chance to present to you THE RED SOX 2007 WORLD SERIES TROPHY!"
Within five seconds of the unveiling, the trophy and I were in a sea of kids (with a sprinkling of adults who had suddenly become kids again). Over the next hour, hundreds of students and teachers posed with the trophy, as did several of the construction workers out back and a few parents who were lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time.
Posing for one particular photo, I put my arm around a member of our school’s maintenance staff who was holding the trophy, and his whole body was shaking and trembling uncontrollably. Other adults at the school were moved to tears when they finally cradled the trophy, and the smiles in their "trophy photos" express a wild combination of bewilderment and joy.
The first, second, and third graders lined up against the wall of a long hallway, and I paraded it down the hall slowly so they all could touch it. I wish you could’ve seen the expressions on their faces. (see above photo) Many of them hugged it, several of them kissed it, and their elation was every bit as real as the adults’.
I know physicists say that an object’s gravitational force is proportional to its mass, but then how do we account for the pronounced gravitational pull of the 33-lb World Series trophy? The way in which people at my school were drawn to it – the euphoric look in their eyes, their animal need to touch it and to hold it and to embrace it – well, I’ve never seen anything quite like it. But I’ve got my own amateur physicist’s theory:
The World Series trophy’s mass consists of all the emotions of the season, as experienced by every member of Red Sox Nation. It includes the "mass" of the emotional roller coaster every fan experienced during the Mother’s Day Miracle" on May 13, when the Sox scored six in the last inning to defeat Baltimore, 6-5. It includes the "mass" of the stress every fan experienced as the Yankees inched closer and closer to us in the A.L. East in August and September. It includes the "mass" of the emotions every fan experienced when Manny connected off of K-Rod for his walk-off homer in game 2 of the Division Series. And it includes the "mass" of every fan’s emotions at the moment Bobby Kielty hit his pinch-hit homer in game 4 of the World Series (pictured here). All these emotions from the 2007 season – and every emotion that occurred between these games, from every fan around the world – are contained within that 2007 World Series trophy. That’s a lot of "emotional mass," and it helps account for the fact that the trophy has the gravitational force of a moon.
And the 2004 World Series trophy? Well it has the "emotional mass" of 86 years of Red Sox fan experiences crammed inside it. Only a Cubs trophy will ever come close to matching the "mass" of that baby…..
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