Reporter's Notebook

The Navajo Nation's baseball hero

By Sunnie Clahchischiligi
Navajo Times

FRUITLAND, N.M., Oct. 24, 2013

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Shortly after the Boston Red Sox won the American League Championship Series last Saturday, I imagined a sea of red and midnight navy shirts flooding the Navajo Nation.

I imagined Red Sox fans sporting their favorite Boston shirt in trading posts everywhere.

I imagined Navajo kids hopping off the bus and running down the dirt roads to their home flashing the name "Ellsbury" on the back of their Red Sox players T-shirt.

I imagined Jacoby fans throughout the Navajo Nation glued to their television sets over the next couple of weeks, including me.

Though I do not claim to be a Red Sox fan, I too look forward to catching a glimpse of the Navajo people's baseball hero.

Ellsbury and the Boston Red Sox returned to the World Series after a six-year absence from major league baseball's biggest stage.

And Ellsbury fans couldn't be me more elated.

The Red Sox hosted Game 1 of the World Series against the St.

Louis Cardinals at Fenway Park in Boston yesterday.

Results were not available by deadline.

Boston defeated the Detroit Tigers 5-2 in the final American League Championship Series on Oct. 19, to return to the World Series.

They won the series 4-2.

I caught the tail end of Game 6 with Detroit, just in time to watch our Navajo stud help the Red Sox get their first run on the board in the bottom of the fifth.

As I continued to watch the game I started thinking about what a Red Sox return to the World Series would mean for the Navajo people and the Ellsbury fans.

Out of all the Jacoby fans who ran through my mind the only one who stuck out was my father.

A man of composure, I imagined him having a difficult time staying seated during the final game, especially since Jacoby was getting some good television time.

He has followed the 30-year-old center fielder from his days fresh out of the minors as he was called up from the Pawtucket Red Sox, to now.

So have many other Ellsbury fans.

Which is why when I thought of Boston heading to the World Series again, I thought of the Navajo people.

I thought of young Navajo boys wanting to someday make it big like Jacoby.

I thought about how young Navajo men wore one sleeve on their left arm, just like Jacoby.

I thought of young Navajo girls and how they hoped to one day meet their favorite Navajo baseball player.

I thought about how Jacoby returning to the World Series meant progress for the Navajo people.

About how it gives us hope to see more of our young Navajo athletes make it big.

As the next couple of weeks unfold, and Jacoby and the Red Sox make history, the Navajo Nation will watch.

Boston caps will be worn with pride as we imagine what it's like to be Jacoby Ellsbury-the Navajo Nation's baseball hero.

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