October 27, 2004

sweet spot

10/27/04

soxpaper.jpg

Today's teens will have trouble appreciating the kind of history that was made in baseball last night; the year "1918" is a lot like the number "trillions" - it's nearly impossible to wrap your head around it. Maybe three or four Red Sox fans still alive remember anything about their last World Series. Tessa's dad, who was eight when the Sox won the series in 1918, might have remembered, but he died, alas, the week after 9/11.

Everyone thinks they love the underdog, but Americans rarely stick with them. Most U.S. sports fans love the Yankees and the Lakers, which, to me, is like cheering for the sun to rise. I always prefer teams with character and pluck, like the Denver Nuggets, the Baltimore Orioles and the New Orleans Saints. I'm guaranteeing myself a future with no world championships, but I can live with that. Thank God for the Tar Heels, or else I'd never know what it'd be like to win. Our 1993 Championship seems like an odd dream.

The Curse of the Bambino is weirdly apt for my family, being a combination of sports failure and musical theater. The owner of the Red Sox traded away Babe Ruth to get some money to put "No, No Nanette" (containing the song "Tea for Two") on Broadway. Mixed with the execrable "Damn Yankees," it is a cautionary tale about mixing baseball with prissy musicals.

The Curse holds a lot of sway throughout the history of literature, but The Lifting of the Curse is an even more satisfying narrative. Found in the Bible, hundreds of children's stories and even in the quiet redemption of every fat person meeting their target weight, a curse lifted is, like rain and babies, one of the lasting gifts from the Gods.

And so we lived long enough to see it for the Red Sox. Honestly, my heart has always been with the Orioles and the Mets, but I appreciate how excruciating it has been for the Bosox. It's been said that George Will is such a nasty conservative because of the Chicago Cubs losing streak; perhaps they'll be next.

In this age of The Unthinkable Happens, it's nice to know that some unthinkable things are actually positive. In the midst of the Unthinkable Presidency, still charred from the Unthinkable Terrorist Attack, in an era when records fall, old friendships die, cruelty has no abatement, and we all live under the threat of a kind of digital mercilessness, it was humbling to experience this game. Under a lunar eclipse, it was truly once in a red moon.

note: the "Nanette" story is wrong; click here for a fascinating story about the Curse - thanks, Isaac!

Posted by irw at October 27, 2004 11:25 PM
Comments
Posted by: Isaac Grant at October 28, 2004 6:33 AM

On the curse of the bambino front - read this article - covers some good ground on demystifying the whole thing as a somewhat modern idea.

Oh, and the Orioles have an upswing in their near future (okay - this is blind optimism - but one can hope right?)

Posted by: Isaac Grant at October 28, 2004 6:34 AM

I guess your comments don't accept html - here's the URL of the article I mentioned.

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/playoffs2004/news/story?page=Curse041005

Posted by: bud wiser at October 28, 2004 7:04 AM

The World Series sucked; I'd have heart and soul rooted for the Red Sox in a gripping, extra-inning 7th game with Billy Buckner in attendance. As it is, I'm pissed I bought a 12pack of Bud to futilely rally the North Carolina state birdturds. Hell, the Clydesdale ponies might have fared batter than the hapless, hitless, suitless Cards, so now I'm playing solitaire until the Heels start up.

Baseball blows.

Posted by: Bud at October 28, 2004 9:25 AM

I feel compelled to point out that the above comment is NOT mine.

Although I've felt affection for the Cardinals since my Midwest sojourn, I had to cheer for the Red Sox.

Not only am I thrilled at the shaking off of a great curse, but I draw hope from it that another "team" with New England roots--and Carolinian--can help our country shake off a greater (if shorter-lived) curse next Tuesday.

(And of course, I'm no 'wiser' now than I was all those years ago in Chapel Hill.)

Posted by: cullen at October 28, 2004 10:57 AM

I was not looking to steal the real Bud's thunder (or my gone fishin' good ole "uncle Bud" either); this sportsfan was just bemoaning the fact that the king of beers tastes a little less regal with an anticlimactic series.

Likewise, I'm all aboard the metaphorical bandwagon which is looking for the tasty 'Samuel Adams' Red Sox (Kerry)' to continue its winning ways over the 'Piss-Swill BUScH-League Tex-ass Rangers (GWB).

Posted by: Greg at October 28, 2004 12:25 PM

I grew up in Texas, occasionally attending Ranger games. The rangers sucked the entire time I lived there and the games were far more about seeing the great players from the other teams. I'm guessing that'll be good practice for watching the new team coming to DC. Here's hoping they serve Sam Adams at the new stadium!

Posted by: block at October 30, 2004 10:58 AM

George Will has a truly great baseball book called "bunts" - a collection of his baseball essays. One quote sticks in my mind, "Rooting for the NY Yankees is like rooting for IBM in the 1970's" Well said George!!! Go METS.....

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