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Proof sun never sets on Red Sox Nation

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"On her dominions the sun never sets; before his evening rays leave the spires of Quebec, his morning beams have shone three hours on Port Jackson, and while sinking from the waters of Lake Superior, his eye opens upon the Mouth of the Ganges."
- The British Empire as described by the Caledonian Mercury, Oct. 15, 1821

"I set my alarm for 4:37 a.m. every morning and would roll over and turn on my TV just in time to see the first pitch. I love baseball and love the Sox . . . and them winning the World Series made dealing with life here just a little bit better." - Red Sox fan and retired U.S. Army Captain Dennis Goulet, currently working in Kabul, Afghanistan.

The sun never sets on Red Sox Nation.

That bold statement was verified during the Improbable Dream season that concluded with Jake Peavy's Duck Boat test drive and #DrunkNapoli's journey into Boston legend a week ago Saturday.

You'll never be alone as a Red Sox fan, even if you find yourself in South Florida, South Korea or South Africa.

Red Sox fans who call Fenway Park home but get their mail in places in Camp Humphreys, South Korea; Kabul, Afghanistan; Fugen, Austria; Armagh in Northern Ireland and Pretoria, South Africa, stayed connected in real time or in person with the Red Sox during this past season and some were happy to share their stories with the OBF Blog. They all followed the Red Sox long before Boston became #WalkOffCity.

Although it wasn't necessary, the Red Sox had air support available if needed. The members of the Massachusetts National Guard's 3rd Battalion, 126th Aviation Regiment A Company weren't shy about their favorite team during the World Series. They proudly displayed their Red Sox colors in the above photo that was posted on the Guard's Facebook page Oct. 23.

The British Empire's power in the 19th century was rooted in the strength and size of its navy. The world-wide reach of Red Sox Nation flourishes thanks to the internet and satellite technology. There are official Red Sox Nation Governors in all 50 states. The major time zones of the Western Hemisphere are covered and daylight on this half of the world is safely under Red Sox sovereignty.

Not surprisingly, many of those who root for the Red Sox around the globe have their roots planted in New England and have ended up overseas after joining the U.S. Armed Forces.

We thank them here every day for their service and sacrifice.

dennis goulet.jpegRetired U.S. Army intelligence officer Dennis Goulet [@GrumpyVeteran] was born in Norwood, raised in Brockton and went to college in Vermont. He left the Army in 2012 after 10 years on active duty which included three one-year tours in Iraq. He now serves as a government contractor advising and mentoring the Afghan National Army, to help them operate independently upon troop withdrawal. [The photo at right was taken in October.]

"It is everything to me [here] that we have the technology to watch the games," Goulet told the OBF Blog. He watched the Red Sox win the 2004 World Series while preparing for deployment in Georgia but viewed the 2007 World Series from Iraq. "The games started around 2:30-3 a.m. in Baghdad and I would go find the closest TV with an AFN box to watch every game. Being able to watch helps [relieve] the stress of everyday life over here, and not being able to be with my family. It just gives that little piece of home and [a] nostalgic feeling. And, when they win it makes it that much more great."

Goulet watched every minutes of the playoffs this year - almost. "[I missed] parts of the clincher against the Tigers because I had to go on a mission. So I had my little brother texting me updates to my cell phone racking up international data charges just to see how my Sox were doing. I set my alarm for 4:37 a.m. every morning and would roll over and turn on my TV just in time to see the first pitch. I love baseball and love the Sox . . . and them winning the World Series made dealing with life here just a little bit better."

The success of Team Chemistry also won over Goulet, who held true to his cynical Bay State genes until this season. "I never really bought into the whole 'chemistry' thing. I always thought if you are a great athlete, it doesn't matter what, and who you are, surrounded by. I couldn't have been any more wrong. It made me think back to some personal experiences working with 'cancerous' coworkers and it kind of starts to affect you. You can be the greatest employee on the staff, but if there are people that don't want to be there, or people that just don't care, eventually you don't feel like going to work and starts to take a toll on you constantly being surrounded by negative energy. That's what happened in 2011 to the Sox, and maybe in part the 2012 team. This year you had 25 ballplayers, 25 guys who just wanted to play baseball and wanted to win. Napoli, Gomes, Victorino, etc. None of them will be Hall of Famers, but they just wanted to win. It was an amazing sight to watch a team that just wanted to win for the first time in a few years."

Like any officer, Goulet appreciates the value of good leadership. "Who can forget John Farrell? That trade, in my opinion, might be as good as or better than the Heathcliff Slocumb trade as far as best trades in Sox history go. I chastised Ben Cherington for a lot of his offseason moves and, again, I couldn't have been any more wrong."

farrell.jpgU.S. Army SSG Mick Farrell, 36, was born a Red Sox fan in Providence, R.I., and joined the Army in 1998 before he "got my stuff together."

As an Army corrections officer, he's completed two combat deployments to Afghanistan, one to Iraq, one tour at Guantanamo Bay and is currently serving his second tour of duty in Korea.

"I watched most of it on Armed Forces Network but had to watch some on [MLB.COM GameDay] because the games are on at 9 a.m. here in Korea," Farrell said.

Farrell's family is stateside and he's deployed out of Fort Lewis, Washington, where he and his wife [a Mariner's fan] attend Red Sox games at Safeco field. "The city really needed it this year. I can't believe they did it, but it's awesome."

He did offer proof via Twitter that the comforts of home in South Korea extend beyond baseball:

image.jpegThe Red Sox are never out of season, as well. For Angelo Zachariades of Pretoria, South Africa [pictured at right with his wife, Lynn], baseball is primarily a winter sport.

Zachariades got his first taste of the game by watching movies like "Bull Durham" and "Eight Men Out." His baseball education continued after learning about curses surrounding Babe Ruth and Billy Goats. It "culminated with an immediate connection to this underdog, beloved team that couldn't win the World Series - the Red Sox."

"Being a cricket fan, it was easy to develop an affinity for baseball in general - the rhythm, the ebb and flow of an at-bat / an inning / a series, the contrast between team work and individual performance," he said. "But the Red Sox's pursuit of a World Series absolutely captivated me."

He got hooked on baseball and the Red Sox by following their games on the internet and when ESPN began airing in South Africa [it has since ceased broadcasting there].

"For the first time I saw live games - usually at 2 a.m. - which in turn made me more interested in everything from the difference between a slider and a cutter, to what Terry Francona was chewing in the dugout."

By 2007, he was watching the games on-line via MLBTV, Now the country's main satellite provider DStv is airing live coverage of MLB, the NHL, NBA and NHL, all in high-def.

Baseball is rare in South Africa, but there is "a very rudimentary amateur league" in South Africa but "there is no culture for the game" since cricket, which was introduced by the British during South Africa's colonial past, dominates the sport scene.

"South Africa is soccer, rugby and cricket mad, and hence, I am considered a bit of an oddity with this additional passion for baseball and the Red Sox," Zachariades said. "My whole family are hooked."

He adds, "my son has a great arm. He'd be a pitcher if we lived in the United States."

While they've never lived in Boston, Massachusetts or New England, Zachariades and his family can happily claim citizenship in Red Sox Nation.

Even from South Africa.

Plenty of fans wore their Red Sox colors on the Emerald Isle. The World Series games began around 12:30 a.m. in Dublin.Stephen Bassett traveled more than 20,000 miles following the World Series champions this season from his home in Northern Ireland.

His Red Sox roots sprung while he worked in Boston as a bartender during the last decade. This season, he followed the Red Sox to California in July and saw them play the Los Angeles Los Santos Southern California Angels of Anahiem and Orange County, and the Oakland A's.

He was in Boston for Game 6 of the World Series against St. Louis.

"Loved this trip - but following the Sox this year has cost me over $30,000," he said.

And worth every penny.

Don't forget to visit our Obnoxious Boston Fan blog. As always, let us know what you think. Post your thoughts here, on our Obnoxious Boston Fan Facebook page, on Twitter @realOBF or e-mail me at obnoxiousbostonfan@hotmail.com.

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