I usually “watch” the Red Sox in my mind’s eye. We don’t get TV reception at home — and we’ve never bought cable. So when I catch a baseball game, it’s on the radio.

I’m no sports junkie — far from it. But I grew up on the Red Sox, and like the sport. I will catch an occasional game on a spring Saturday when working in the barn or a summer evening at camp.

There is something about baseball that fits radio. The pace fits. In a baseball game, there is time for the broadcasters to set the stage for each batter — to help a fan see what’s happening. And I really like listening to games because it allows me to also do something else — whether it be puttering around the house or simply sitting on the porch at camp watching darkness overtake the lake.

But with the Sox bound for the World Series, I needed more. I needed to see the action, at least in one game. So for Game 1, we visited a friend with a TV. Three of us, Susan, my son John and I, headed over just before the first pitch, bringing popcorn, a few bottles of ginger ale and few bottles of beer.

Larry (not his real name) is an 80-year-old man who lives 3 miles down the road. Our visit was clearly a thrill for him — he now had people to share the game with. But the bigger thrill was for us. We got to actually see the play! And on a wide screen TV!

It seems that practically everyone now has a big television; but for us, this was a big deal. We watched much of both the 2004 and 2007 series at my mother’s house in Belfast, on one of those now old-fashioned TVs that was as deep as it was wide. But even that was not an option anymore, as my mom has since given up cable.

Now I guess we could have watched the game at some sports bar. We had gone to Rollies once two summers ago, when we felt the urge to see a bit of the 2012 Olympics. That proved to be a lot of fun. But Belfast is 30 minutes from home — too long for a game that might extend to almost midnight. Besides, I felt a little awkward about sharing my Red Sox experience with a larger community. Baseball for me was more personal than communal.

But at Larry’s place, we felt like family. In fact, sitting with him reminded me of sitting with my grandfather, who was already in his eighties when I was a boy. If the Sox were playing, Grampa was always watching the game. (Unlike us, Grampa had a television.)

John and I moved Larry’s sofa to get a better view. The three Piottis sat on it while Larry sat near us in what is clearly “his chair.” We chatted during commercials, often about seasons past. (Bill Buckner came up, as did Carlton Fisk and Yaz and even Jim Lonborg.) But during the game, we all focused on the screen, intensely taking in the action.

What a great game! How can a Red Sox fan not feel great about being ahead 5-0 by the bottom of the second. Or about how good Lester was pitching. Or about the Cardinal’s errors. Or Ortiz’s bat. How could I not revel in all that, especially after reflecting on past seasons, after having remembered all those times the Sox choked.

But as someone who lived through 1967 and 1975 and 1986, I could not believe it would last. Even if the Sox won this one, they will blow others. In fact, the Sox will not lose a series in four or even five games; they will lose in six or seven — after making fans think they can go all the way. Winning Game 1 is just a step toward the kind of collapse I could see happening.

This was the defeatist attitude I learned as a youth, when key Red Sox games became fiascos. The Sox being in the World Series distressed me as much as it thrilled me.

I compare this to my son’s experience. He first got into baseball at age 6 — same as me. But where I at that age watched the Sox lose the ’67 series, John at age 7 in 2004 watched the Sox win it all in four games. Lucky dog! Then his positive experience was repeated in 2007. Not fair! I ask you, how are boys like John to learn the lessons of life, how are they to develop any depth of character, if they all have it this easy?

A week later we returned to Larry’s for Game 6. During the interval, we had listened on the radio. Fortunately, we could go to the Internet (after the fact) to see those sights that needed to be seen — such as the errant throw in Game 2 and the obstruction call in Game 3.

I expected the Sox to win Game 4, if only to keep hope alive. (That fit with my script.) But Game 5 surprised me. The Red Sox didn’t collapse — not then. They excelled behind Lester’s strong pitching. Another world title seemed within reach. Or was it?

I approached Game 6 with the pessimism I forged over many years of disappointment: I thought it likely the Sox would choke. But once seated in front of Larry’s marvelously wide TV, once looking not only at the bigger-than-life players, but at how Larry and John and Susan were all deeply engaged in the game, something in me changed. I realized that I was the one lacking in character. I was the only one who brought this unfounded pessimism to the game.

Larry may remember the Sox’s fumbling past, but has long gotten over it: he is clearly hopeful and optimistic. John, of course, only knows of the dark days from my laments — which he fortunately ignores, allowing him to focus on the artful game before him. And Susan is living completely in the moment — evidenced by her spirited enthusiasm as well as the fake beard she proudly wears. (This was yet another reason why I’m glad we didn’t go to Rollies.)

I’m thankful that Game 6 was not a nail-biter. Leading 6-0 by the bottom of fourth, the Sox made it possible for fans like me to breathe, and to reflect.

I know it sounds a mite melodramatic, but that game changed me. I’m embarrassed to report that for so long I allowed those Red Sox games from my youth to darken my view of what an inspired team could do, and dampen my enjoyment of this wonderful sport. I suspect that any Sox fan with a touch of this same ailment was cured back in 2004. (Or in 2007, if the case was more severe.)

But not me. It took me until this year to get over it. But then again, I am often behind the times. Someday, I may even own a television.

John Piotti of Unity runs Maine Farmland Trust. His column “Cedar and Pearl” appears every other week.