Reverse the Curse
October 16, 2003 6:00 PM   Subscribe

As the Boston Red Sox are poised to head to the 2003 World Series in a final American League matchup (the first Game 7 featuring opposing Cy Young pitchers) featuring ex-Sox Roger Clemens (the only person to ever win 6 Cy Young Awards) against Pedrom Martinez (3 Cy Young's), I thought I would offer a brief glimpse into every Boston Fan's nightmares: The Curse. [More Horror Inside]
posted by Civil_Disobedient (102 comments total)
The thinking behind the curse goes far beyond merely being poor losers. There is something magical about the way the Red Sox have been able to build the hopes of the fans up to the pinnacle moment, only to "drop the ball" at the last second. Before delving into the history and proof of the curse, let's look at some numbers: Boston has appeared in only four World Series since 1918, losing each one in the final (7th) game. Before 1919, the Red Sox had appeared and won 5 world series titles. The Yankees had none. After 1919, the Red Sox never won another title, while the Yankees have won, to date, 26. The magic behind this year revolves around one man: George Herman Ruth, aka the Bambino, the Sultan of Swat, the Babe.

The Babe started as a pitcher for the Red Sox, and was in line to becoming one of the greatest the game has ever seen. He had 18 wins in 1915, 23 in the next year. On October 9, 1916, he pitched a fourteen inning complete game victory over the Brooklyn Dodgers in game two of the World Series. The next year, he lead the league in shutouts and ERA, but he had started utilizing his hitting power as well -- leading the league in home runs. In 1919, he hit 29 of them -- more than any other team in the major league. But the new Red Sox owner wanted Ruth to be a pitcher, and refused to pay him the salary the other players were getting. To compound this, owner Harry Frazee needed cash to finance a play -- in 1920, Ruth was sold to Colonel Jacob Ruppert's New York Yankees for $100,000, plus a loan collateralized by Fenway Park itself. Boston and the Bronx have never been the same.

The highlights of the "curse":
  • 9/27/19: Babe Ruth plays his last game for the Sox. Future Red Sox shortstop Johnny Pesky is born.
  • 4/16/45: Three African-American players tried out for the Red Sox, but they pass up the opportunity to become the first to integrate baseball. One of those players was Jackie Robinson. Five years later, Boston turns down the chance to sign Willie Mays. The Sox would be the last team to integrate.
  • 10/15/46: Pesky held the ball.
  • 4/8/74: Hank Aaron hits home run #715, beating Babe Ruth's record. The ball sails 385 ft. and over the head of then-Dodgers outfielder Bill Buckner.
  • 10/21/75: Sox win game 6 of world series - possibly the greatest world series game in history. But a bad call by Larry Barnett in game 3 forces a 7th game, which they lose. Red Sox owner Tom Yawkey, who bought the team in 1933, passes away the next summer.
  • 10/2/78: In an AL East tiebreaker against the Yankees, Bucky Dent (who hit a total of only 40 home runs in his entire career), hits a three run homer to give the Yankees the lead. They hold the lead and win the game.
  • 10/25/86: Mookie Wilson of the NY Mets at bat. Boston was one strike away from winning the series. Sox pitcher Stanley throws a bad pitch that gets away from catcher Rich Gedman, allowing the tying run to score. Wilson then hits a slow grounder towards first that rolls under 1st baseman Bill Buckner's glove into short right. The Mets score, and win the game.
  • 10/99: Against the Yankees, several blown umpire calls eliminate the chance for the Sox to get to the world series.

[Oh, and that should be Pedro Martinez]
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:05 PM on October 16, 2003

You couldn't wait to post this until after the game?
posted by PrinceValium at 6:31 PM on October 16, 2003

Been there, done that.

(Nice summary, though.)
posted by languagehat at 6:33 PM on October 16, 2003

Sorry, but at least the Red Sox have managed to win the pennant several times in the past 30 years.....unlike the Cubs, that TWICE in the past 20 years have been one game away from the World Series and lost three games in a row to blow it. Good luck, Sox fans, I feel your pain.
posted by Durwood at 6:42 PM on October 16, 2003

Forget the curse on individual teams, I'd like to propose that no city is more cursed than Houston when it comes to 'dropping the ball' at the very precipice of championship success.

The Oilers in '78 and '79 made it thisclose to the Super Bowl, only to be defeated by Pittsburgh and winter weather in the AFC championship games both time. The fans welcomed the losers back both times by packing the Astrodome and waving columbia blue and white pompoms.

The Astros in '86 were two outs away from tying up the NL Championship Series when the Mets rallied from behind and forced the longest game in major league baseball post-season history, eventually defeat the 'stros in 16 innings, 7-6.

The Oilers in '92-'93 were the team to be the victims of Buffalo and the greatest comeback in NFL history.

Houston's sports miseries aren't as long-lived or as long-suffering as teams more easterly. I propose that they make up for that in sheer intesity of heartache, for never making it to the last round, but getting so so close. Not that I'm all that objective, mind.
posted by WolfDaddy at 6:44 PM on October 16, 2003

Knowing the curse as you do, how could you write that the Red Sox are "poised to head to the 2003 World Series"?
posted by rcade at 6:56 PM on October 16, 2003

i live in boston, but i kind of hope the sox lose. if i'd known the film series was going against the playoffs...
posted by pxe2000 at 7:07 PM on October 16, 2003

My beloved Red Wings went 42 years without a Stanley Cup. When they won it in '97, it was the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen. So I feel the pain of the Red Sox. There is a wee sliver of hope in my heart for the Sox, but it's being held quite firmly down by my conviction that they are going to blow it.

All that said, my favorite baseball team is the Tigers, who are truly truly awful. And not likely to get much better.
posted by eilatan at 7:09 PM on October 16, 2003

Roger did not last four innings; Pedro has held the Yanks to one run and the Sox lead 4-1 after six.

(just to give a little historical real-time perspective to this thread)
posted by yhbc at 7:23 PM on October 16, 2003

Am I seeing the game on time-delay, or are you guys totally jinxing the Sox?
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 7:37 PM on October 16, 2003

Why, why are they sticking with Martinez? I mean, it's the 8th, and he started to slip last inning. It's no dishonor to be taken out at this point, I don't see the logic in keeping a tired pitcher in. Now they just got a ground rule double, with one run scored, runers on 2nd and 3rd, what the crap is going on? It's not a foregone conclusion, but why are the Sox taking chances? The Yankees are not screwing around with their pitchers, I see know reason whythe Sox shouldn't do the same.

On preview: Now it's tied. Are they trying to lose?
posted by Snyder at 8:08 PM on October 16, 2003

Good job Civil_Disobedient. 5-5 game
posted by gyc at 8:08 PM on October 16, 2003

fucking jinx!
posted by mathowie at 8:50 PM on October 16, 2003

Going to the 11th now. Win or lose, this has been a great baseball game (to cap off a great series), but I agree: why did Pedro have to pitch the 8th?
posted by yhbc at 9:08 PM on October 16, 2003

Yankees win. Fuckers.
posted by mrbula at 9:16 PM on October 16, 2003

posted by machaus at 9:17 PM on October 16, 2003


  • 10/03: With the Sox leading game seven, Civil_Disobedient writes that they are "poised to head to the 2003 World Series" -- they lose 6-5.

Civil_Disobedient has just created the Metafilter curse! Muahaha.
posted by mkn at 9:17 PM on October 16, 2003

Boy, I'm glad I'm not a Red Sox fan. Why did I stay up this late?
*shuffles off to bed*
posted by languagehat at 9:18 PM on October 16, 2003

Congratulations to FOX Sports for securing the lowest possible market share for the 2003 World Series.

Well, at least now I'll start getting my homework done.
posted by PrinceValium at 9:19 PM on October 16, 2003

posted by UKnowForKids at 9:19 PM on October 16, 2003

C_D, what were you thinking? I'm more than happy to see the Sox bite their own asses yet but this just did not seem prudent. Are you Boston's Steve Bartman?
posted by billsaysthis at 9:19 PM on October 16, 2003

Civil_Disobedient's Profile

Name: Steven Bartman
Location: Town of Beans, State of Confusion.
Zip: 02113
Gender: Form-Mail.
posted by mrbula at 9:22 PM on October 16, 2003

Matt? I'd like to retract my last comment please. Thanks.

Oh, all right - congratulations to the Yankees. That was an incredible comeback.
posted by yhbc at 9:23 PM on October 16, 2003

Where does Civil Disobedient work? Does he have a dog or some other pet he cares about?

It's times like these I'm glad my team doesn't even sniff the playoffs.
posted by rcade at 9:23 PM on October 16, 2003

go fish.
posted by Ufez Jones at 9:25 PM on October 16, 2003

M. Disobedient - it's your fault. All your fault.


posted by dchase at 9:26 PM on October 16, 2003

Every fucking time....
posted by SweetJesus at 9:31 PM on October 16, 2003

posted by xmutex at 9:31 PM on October 16, 2003

*weeps* *weeps* *weeps* *weeps* *weeps* *weeps*
posted by madamjujujive at 9:34 PM on October 16, 2003

Universal constants.

Cubs lose.

BoSox lose.

Speed of light too slow.
posted by eriko at 9:35 PM on October 16, 2003

posted by mr_crash_davis at 9:36 PM on October 16, 2003

posted by Snyder at 9:37 PM on October 16, 2003

C_D did not Jinx the Sox -- they did it to themselves by apparently decorating the field at Fenway with the World Series logo sometime this afternoon. (I can't find a photo on-line but they showed the still on Fox prior to the game.)

Geez, I would have thought they'd learned their lesson about this sort of thing in '86, when they had to take the Champagne bottle out of Mrs Yawkey's hands.

Anyhow, I lost interest when the Cubs lost. World Series #100 with Cubs vs Sox would have been great. Playing the Marlins would have been .... anti-climactic at best.

What the hell was he thinking leaving Pedro in?????

I loved watching David Wells swear after the Home Run as we all watched on live TV....
posted by anastasiav at 9:37 PM on October 16, 2003

Nice jinx.
posted by Henry Flower at 9:39 PM on October 16, 2003

I loved watching the replay of David Wells swearing.

Perhaps the Cubs and Sox could play a consolation series, or something? They do that in the Olympics to determine who wins the bronze medal. They could play at 4 pm each day before the WS games. Come on. We need something to keep us going here.
posted by PrinceValium at 9:40 PM on October 16, 2003

PV: I suggest a baseball schism! Let them have their Marlins-Yankees... with the power of the Internet we can harness thousands to rent another ballpark, hire the teams, and have our OWN SERIES!

My auntie can sew the costumes, and my unca can play the organ! It'll be a grand time! C'mon gang!!

(friggin' yankees...)
posted by tittergrrl at 9:44 PM on October 16, 2003

There is no God.

What a fucking nightmare.
posted by McBain at 9:48 PM on October 16, 2003

The world will not end - neither Sox nor Cubs advance. I am from mudville, and live in Mudville.
posted by Birichini at 9:50 PM on October 16, 2003

Oh god no.
posted by tingley at 9:51 PM on October 16, 2003

Un. Fucking. Believable.


Just how in the hell do you lose a 5-2 lead in the 8th?


I was too young to really enjoy/cry/care about the '86 series. But now I know. Now I know what it feels like to be a Rex Sox fan. Pedro hasn't got a ring yet and he didn't deserve one this time, either. Letting him stay in the game was a nice gesture by Little, but when the entire series is on the line, personal ego cannot trump letting two runners on after two strikes. They should have taken him out.

I should have waited to post. Well, I guess there's only one more thing to say...

There's always next year.

Oh yeah, and to quote David Wells:

posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:54 PM on October 16, 2003

Crap. I hope the Marlins kick their asses.

It was nice that Bret Boone was there to watch his little brother be the hero, at least.
posted by ukamikanasi at 9:55 PM on October 16, 2003

May I congratulate the Bambino, " The Ghosts " and wish doom to those upstart Marlins.

Long Live the Curse.

posted by RubberHen at 9:56 PM on October 16, 2003

C'mon, C_D, Pedro pitched a great seven innings. It's just too bad they play nine.

* returns to circle, rocks back and forth on heels with other Sox fans, and chants: "we accept you, we accept you, one of us, one of us" *
posted by yhbc at 9:59 PM on October 16, 2003

It was nice that Bret Boone was there to watch his little brother be the hero, at least

Operative word "watch." Did Bret Boone make a single noteworthy comment in any of the games he worked the booth? The least he could've done was conjure up a few man tears when his brother opened up the hellmouth and tossed the Red Sox in.
posted by rcade at 10:03 PM on October 16, 2003

ok. all the teams i care about are out now. i don't care who wins as long as the do it in four games.

does anyone else think FOX has the worst baseball presentation? it's close-up after close-up after close-up. i shouldn't be watching a game and think to myself, what the hell is that dot on the side of Pedro's nose? or, look Zim still has a little spot where he had the band-aid on five days ago. it wasn't even until the last couple games that they finally had a camera so that the audience can see if a player checked their swing or not.

and joe buck is NOT his father, he doesn't even deserve the same name, but i guess anyone would look like a fool sitting next to Tim McCarver. i wish ESPN/ABC had the rights so that we can get Jon Miller and Joe Morgan to do the tv as opposed to being relegated the radio.

the worst of all is that after yesterday's yankees/sox game, FOX went to five minutes of commercials and we missed the first batter of the Cubs/Marlins game, which was a triple. how the hell do you go to commercials and miss a batter in game 7 of the playoffs? that doesn't even include showing Manny Ramirez's homserun on instant replay because they came back from commercial too late (i think that was game 4 or 5). i wish i could put a curse on Rupert Murdoch.
posted by graventy at 10:05 PM on October 16, 2003

graventy, I hear ya on the closeups. I got tired of watching some yankee clip his goddammed nails after the first few seconds, but nope, FOX kept going.
posted by mathowie at 10:08 PM on October 16, 2003

I was too young to really enjoy/cry/care about the '86 series.

I'm not, and now I've had to live through this twice. Thanks to you c_d. Thanks to you....

i know, i know, it's only a game and this is only a website and c_d is probably a very nice person and all, but still, blowing a 5-2 lead... there's got to be someone to blame. and often. it's the bahston way.
posted by dchase at 10:09 PM on October 16, 2003

My condolences to the Boston Red Sox, who must now suffer yet again the indignity of being only the second-best group of people who are given hundreds of millions of dollars in cash to play baseball.

Damn their cursed lives. Damn it all to hell. (Rolls eyes)
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 10:13 PM on October 16, 2003

And I just explained what the hell the Curse was to three people today! *cries* oh the pain. Why oh why did my father have to be a Sox AND Mariners fan, and imprint me with his loyalties?! And I won't even get sypmathy tomorrow, all the neighbors are watching hockey. I suppose I can at least get back to studying for midterms now. Ugh.
posted by nelleish at 10:13 PM on October 16, 2003

It's really fucking hard to watch both teams I rooted for blow 3-run 8th-inning Game 7 leads because their dipshit managers are too fucking stupid to yank their starting pitchers. Meanwhile, Torre pulled Clemens in what could have been his last game, put in Mussina, put in Wells, and did what he had to to win the game.
posted by kirkaracha at 10:29 PM on October 16, 2003

Pedro pitched a great seven innings

Yes, and that should have been it. He's a 7-inning pitcher. Sure, he'd only pitched something like 69 throws in the first 6, but in the 7th he got into trouble. They should have followed procedure, not placated the guy just because he's... [sniff]... the greatest pitcher in baseball. Timlin and Williamson are incredible relievers, they should have relied on them. Should have... should have...

As for FOX, they can suck my right and left nut. Tim's pro-Yankees banter was so obvious you could practically see him dialing the Sprint "You're-the-Manager" number to wish the Yanks meet the Marlins. And Boone the Baffoon? He said, what, five things during the entire 7-game series? Asshat.

In my (meager) defense, I only said they were "poised" to go to the series. As were the Yankees. And given Pedro's stats versus Clemens, particularly at away games, and given that Clemens was taken out of the 4th, it certainly seemed like a done deal. Now we've got the single most boring World Series in history to look forward to. Yay. To the fans holding up the "believe" posters at the games... I now believe -- in the curse.

(On preview: what kirkaracha said.)
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 10:32 PM on October 16, 2003

Alas! the curse strikes again!

I never thought I would be rooting for a team with a fish as a mascot.
posted by amauck at 10:44 PM on October 16, 2003

Theeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee Yankees win!
posted by LouReedsSon at 10:45 PM on October 16, 2003

I hate the Yankees and Yankee fans as much as any other reasonable person, but I also value my own sanity. In times like these (and there are and will be many of them, as long as there is baseball and the Yankees are around) I try to remember that the Javanese are crazy about badminton. Somewhere a Javanese fan is staying up nights in agony because, I don't know, Irawan Agustus beat Judi Santoro again, and therefore there is no justice in this world.
posted by argybarg at 11:49 PM on October 16, 2003

The only 'curse' on this team was Grady Little leaving Pedro in in the eighth when he was clearly struggling. (He'd already given up three hits in a row when Little came out... and left him in. Then a double to Matsui, and Little did nothing. Then a fluke double to Posada. Then Little pulled him, but by then it was 5-5. Too late.)

Also the curse of leaving five men stranded in the first four innings.

Like the Sports Guy says, the curse is just an excuse for Dan Shaugnessy to have something to write about.
posted by nath at 12:30 AM on October 17, 2003

Yes, I noticed I totally left the second 'h' out of 'Shaughnessy'. My bad.
posted by nath at 12:33 AM on October 17, 2003

The $157 million payroll of the Yankees makes it utterly impossible for me to appreciate their victory tonight. Oh, and also the fact that I live in Boston.
posted by dougb at 12:59 AM on October 17, 2003

"Dewey poised to defeat Truman"
posted by rudyfink at 2:54 AM on October 17, 2003


Why is it that everyone who follows American baseball knew that Pedro was done in the 7th inning except for Grady Little?
posted by Joey Michaels at 3:13 AM on October 17, 2003

As a Mariners fan you would think I would be used to this. AUGH.

Baseball breaks my heart year after year but this is right up there with the worst times.

I'm a Red Sox fan too. And a Cubs fan. Not a Marlins fan... but since they are Not The Yankees I guess I will be a Marlins fan for the next week. I won't go out of my way to watch the games, though.
posted by litlnemo at 3:46 AM on October 17, 2003

Well, now I know what the fuck jinxed us. Thanks for that. Anyone know if it's true that new movie Radio is based on Grady Little's life story?
posted by yerfatma at 5:04 AM on October 17, 2003

Now we've got the single most boring World Series in history to look forward to. Yay.

Why? Because your team choked and didn't make it? It's gonna be pretty damn exciting for me. Go Marlins!
posted by JaxJaggywires at 5:36 AM on October 17, 2003

In regard to FOX:

What gets me is the INCESSANT replays, which along with the sounds, fooling you into perhaps running to the TV to see that the crack of the bat you heard was really the same one you witnessed a few innings ago.

I listen to the Yankees on the radio mostly. I stood through the broadcast of the Series meltdown in Phoenix, listening intently, while behind the counter of a convenience store at a goofjob, crushed but yet entertained, hanging on to the radio.

I detest Tim McCarver and was especially ecstatic when, after his last comment " The Yankees don't seem to have time on their side...." that Boone would hit that wonderful homer. McCarver seems to favor slightly, I feel, either team that is doing well at the moment.

I yelled and said, " Take that you mush-mouthed dope!"
posted by RubberHen at 5:39 AM on October 17, 2003

Hey look, the two money teams win.
posted by the fire you left me at 5:56 AM on October 17, 2003

Hey look, the two money teams win.

Got numbers to back that up? Maybe if you average together what the Yanks and Marlins spend, you'd get a high number. That can happen when you have a team that spends $172 mil on players. The Marlins have one of the lowest payrolls in I guess I just don't get your statement.
posted by JaxJaggywires at 6:05 AM on October 17, 2003

The Marlins have a $49 million, which ranks 25th in the majors and is $103.7 million less than the Yankees. They haven't been a big-money team since Wayne Huzienga's fire sale after they won the series six years ago.
posted by rcade at 6:12 AM on October 17, 2003

Which, of course, suggests that perhaps the Yankees don't win because of their payroll either ...
posted by Songdog at 6:14 AM on October 17, 2003

gooooooo fish!
posted by slhack3r at 6:16 AM on October 17, 2003

the worst of all is that after yesterday's yankees/sox game, FOX went to five minutes of commercials and we missed the first batter of the Cubs/Marlins game, which was a triple.

By me (I live in Maryland), they cut over to the Cubs/Marlins Game 7 as the first pitch was on its way to the plate. So it might have been your local channel squeezing in a few extra commercials. (FOX's coverage was very annoying, though...)
posted by stifford at 6:43 AM on October 17, 2003

Grady Fucking Little now joins the lexicon.
posted by trox at 6:46 AM on October 17, 2003

The best part of being a Yankees fan is that you get to gloat so frequently.

posted by rocketman at 6:49 AM on October 17, 2003

I detest Tim McCarver

Of course. Yankees fans can only appreciate pathetic homer announcers like Phil "Where's My Mortadella?" Rizzuto, openly rooting for the pinstripes. An announcer who actually analyzes the game in a reasonably objective way is anathema. Having McCarver as an announcer was one of the best things about being a Mets fan for years, and I was crushed when they let him go.

Irawan Agustus beat Judi Santoro again

I'd rather watch an Agustus-Santoro rematch than this stupid Yanks-Marlins Series.
*searches listings for Javanese Badminton Channel*
posted by languagehat at 7:02 AM on October 17, 2003

SORE LOSERS. Too bad !!!

Its going to be a great world series. Marlins vs. Yanks. Can't wait. This is true David vs. Goliath stuff.
posted by adnanbwp at 7:12 AM on October 17, 2003

Which, of course, suggests that perhaps the Yankees don't win because of their payroll either ...

Of course not. Their ability to sign the best free agents year after year and always fill needs at mid-season when other teams dump payroll has nothing to do with their perennial success.
posted by rcade at 7:32 AM on October 17, 2003

Well, at least I didn't help inflate FOX's ratings. I listened to the mess on BoSox radio... Sad, sad.
posted by Zurishaddai at 8:09 AM on October 17, 2003

OK, Sox fans, here's your chance for a bit of morbid what-might-have-been fun/self-flagellation. Run down to the nearest newsstand and buy a copy of the New York Post while the Late City Final is still available, turn to p. 36, and check out the last editorial:
A Curse of Their Own?

Looks like the Cure of the Bambino boomeranged this year.

Despite holding a 3-2 lead in games over the Boston Red Sox, the Yankees couldn't get the job done at home; their season ended last night in the seventh game of the American League Championship Series.

Or maybe the Yanks have acquired a curse of their own: After all, the Bombers haven't won the seventh game of a championship series since the 1962 World Series.
There follow ten more paragraphs of gloomy post-mortem, ending up "Wait'll next year!" It's not like actually being in the Series, but you might enjoy having it.

I found out about this by visiting the Romenesko letters page thanks to a soyjoy comment in the Mahathir antisemitism thread; the Romenesko post says:
10/17/2003 10:53:41 AM
Posted By: Jim Romenesko

From BOB LIFF: You must look at the New York Post editorial page today. They ran an editorial about the Red Sox beating the Yankees. It is hysterical and the talk of the town. I have no doubt what happened is that they wrote Yankees win and Yankees lose editorials. The game ended at 12:15 a.m. or so and someone pushed the wrong button. There but for the grace of Bill Gates go we all.
posted by languagehat at 8:33 AM on October 17, 2003

(Dammit, that should have been Curse of the Bambino. The Curse strikes even here!)
posted by languagehat at 8:34 AM on October 17, 2003

Those of us in Cub Nation feel the pain of the Red Sox Nation.

And I was telling my friends last night that we should have the consolation series. I bet that would get higher ratings than the actual series!
posted by SisterHavana at 8:56 AM on October 17, 2003

No one wants to watch a consolation series. That would be lame.

About the payroll issue, The Cubs and Sox have plenty of money to field a championship team, they didn't lose because of payroll issues, they lost because they didn't perform well enough. Should George Steinbrenner cut payroll to be in the middle of the pack of MLB? No, because then he would just get richer. Perhaps he could cut payroll and then reduce ticket prices? I don't see any other owners making efforts to have going to a baseball game be an affordable family experience. I like that the Yankees put together the best possible team they can each year. And I like it even more that those guys like Jeter and Williams, and Rivera (the yankee cutting his nails) cry and go nuts every time they win a playoff series, as if it was their first time. In the end, it is a game put forth to entertain people and make money. The Yankees do that best.
posted by Mushkelley at 9:42 AM on October 17, 2003

SORE LOSERS. Too bad !!!

Riiiiiight. And just like every other Yankee "fan" who started watching in the middle of the ALDS after another summer of Sweet Valley High re-runs, you're rooting right up until they lose a few. The mass exodus during Game 6 really taught the Red Sox Nation about true fans.

Name calling is worthless. Being a fan of a given sports team is usually the result of a (un)happy accident of geography. You root for your team (we won't even discuss front-runners who follow out-of-market dynasties) because you're there and they're there. Being a Red Sox fan (for me) has very little to do with the Final Result*. The point is not the destination. Even if you get "there," the journey starts over in six months anyway.

I guess it's just different. I'm not on my couch for a hundred or so games a year because I want to walk down the street with my chest puffed out for a week or two after the World Series. I'm there because I'm part of a mass delusion that if we keep watching, if our hearts are pure enough and we care enough and we avoid negative thoughts and don't sit with our foot in a dopey position maybe . . . just f'in maybe . . . . our hopes and dreams can make the impossible happen. I labor under no illusions of a "curse". You can file last night in with '86 in the "Bad Management" folder. It's done with and it's over. But for all the evil in Pandora's Box, there was still a little Hope cowering in the corner. We'll keep it alive over the horrible winter and then pitchers and catchers will report and we'll start all over.

I have no idea what a twenty-seventh World Series title for your local nine will do for you personally. Hopefully it'll be fun. The lack of one for us will do us no harm. If it makes us a little more sensitive to the disappointments of others each time we get shit on, we'll be better people for it.

* You can laugh to yourself about how that's "making excuses". I don't think it is.
posted by yerfatma at 9:58 AM on October 17, 2003

I like that the Yankees put together the best possible team they can each year.

Sheesh. Is there anything worse than a Yankees fan who is completely blind to one of the biggest reasons for their $ucce$$? New York is filled with baseball fans who were born on third base and think they hit a triple.

News flash: Almost every team in the majors puts together the best team they can. But when the difference in payrolls is higher than $100 million between some teams, the playing field is as unbalanced as it has ever been. The Yankees would never be winning this string of titles without their deep pockets.
posted by rcade at 10:46 AM on October 17, 2003

Nicely said, yerfatma.

Oh, and to this: Why [will it be a boring series]? Because your team choked and didn't make it?

No. It will be a boring series because the Yankees are always in it, and I find it difficult to root for a Goliath. And the Marlins are simply too new to baseball to garner any respect from me. Most baseball fans are of the opinion that the first series was bought for them, and ooh, isn't that exciting. I was cringing every time FOX said something like "Boy, these Marlins haven't won a pennant in a loooong time!" SIX years. Six friggin' years. That's not a long time. There are teams that have been around ten times as long as the Marlins that haven't won a pennant in decades.

And I'm sorry, but have you ever watched a regular season Marlins game? See all those empty seats? At least the Yankees, Sox and Cubs fill the seats up every time. Most of New England will be in a drunken funk and too pissed to watch the series while the Midwest will have moved on to football by now. The Cubs were the only reason I could even mention baseball out here (middle of nowhere) and get a response.

I don't even know where the Marlins play, and I used to live in Florida. They aren't associated with a city, but with a state. That's completely wrong. It's the Atlanta Braves (or Boston before); the Boston Red Sox. How stupid would the Washington Mariners sound? Or the California Giants? And don't think the word "city" isn't understood when you hear New York Yankees. The worst teams aren't linked to cities because they're just too new to see the historical importance in baseball: California Angels. Texas Rangers. Arizona Diamondbacks. Florida Marlins.

Add a couple of decades, and perhaps a few hundred thousand Marlins fans (that actually go to the regular games), and make me a believer. I just have an awful feeling that this year's series in Florida is going to have the seats filled with New York "snowbirds" (as we used to call them) -- transplants from the northeast that own homes in warmer climates for the winter. I hope Florida wins only because I want the Yankees to lose -- I think you'll find that sentiment across the country. But that's not exactly what I'd call a "fan base".
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 11:22 AM on October 17, 2003

rcade - How do you explain the Marlins doing so well with their comparatively small payroll against a wealthy team like Chicago?
posted by Songdog at 11:24 AM on October 17, 2003

I should also note that, in both my heart and geography, I'm a Brewers fan.

But shit, I need to root for *someone* in the playoffs, since the Brewcrew never makes it.

I do think people make too much of the Yankees and their payroll. For all the talk of how much money they spend, it didn't get championship results for the past two years. And they're looking downright beatable after the last series - especially if you figure that they'll underestimate Florida.

Both teams will play hard, and I think it's going to be a fun World Series (though maybe not more exciting than either the ALCS or NLCS).
posted by rocketman at 11:52 AM on October 17, 2003

Songdog, of course there will be exceptions - witness the perennial genius of Billy Beane and the A's - but it cannot be denied that more money equals better players.

The catch is that they're not infallible; if they were, the Yankees would beat everyone, the Mets would beat everyone but the Yankees (HA!) and the Sox would beat everyone but the Yankees and Mets. That's just ludicrous.

Do you really think that rcade believes that a higher-payroll team will always defeat a lower payroll team? Of course they won't, but they'll have a hell of a better chance with $180mil than $40mil simply because of the talent they can attract.
posted by The Michael The at 11:53 AM on October 17, 2003

I was hoping he didn't believe that, TMT, but I've heard some unlikely arguments on both sides of Red Sox / Yankee fan debates. Of course the payroll helps, because it allows a club willing to spend the money on players to accumulate a team of people whose past performance "demands" more pay. But far more important, I think, are the determination, heart, and effort of the individual players over the season and on a given day, the wise and skillful decisions of good coaches and managers, and the constant long hours spent in training.

I just think it's foolish for people to say a team lost because it has less money (or because it was cursed; an awful lot people curse the Yankees on a daily basis and it doesn't seem to have hurt them). The Red Sox can beat the Yankees, they've done it quite a few times this season. The Cubs can beat the Marlins. Why didn't Boston or Chicago win? In my opinion they didn't win because in those seven games the other teams outplayed them. Barely.
posted by Songdog at 12:08 PM on October 17, 2003

The Marlins are a bad example of how money doesn't matter. Their payroll is low today, but most of their best young players were acquired by dumping proven players from their big-money years.

Big-money isn't a guarantee (look at my Rangers), but it gives a small number of teams a significant competitive advantage. The Yankees dynasty is built today as much on the disparity in payroll as it is on a great manager, good GM, and a core of gamers like Jeter. Lop $50 million off the payroll and in three years Torre is fired, there's no pitchers to replace Clemens and Mussina, and the Yanks are struggling to fill holes like everyone else.

The worst teams aren't linked to cities because they're just too new to see the historical importance in baseball: California Angels. Texas Rangers. Arizona Diamondbacks. Florida Marlins.

I agree that state names are a bad idea in sports, but two nits: the Anaheim Angels haven't been named for California in several years, and the Rangers have been around since 1972 (1961 if you count their years in Washington). That's not new.
posted by rcade at 12:11 PM on October 17, 2003

The only thing funnier than watching the Sox choke repeatedly is listening to the sniveling afterwards.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 12:13 PM on October 17, 2003

mr_crash_davis, why do you hate the Red Sox so much?

You godless communist.
posted by yhbc at 12:32 PM on October 17, 2003

>...started watching in the middle of the ALDS after another summer of Sweet Valley High re-runs

As does any decent person I hate the Yankees about as much as I hate the Braves but please don't dis Sweet Valley High - it's a quality program!
posted by birdsong at 12:57 PM on October 17, 2003

posted by mr_crash_davis at 1:44 PM on October 17, 2003

Who's dissing SVH? I'm just saying they don't have their priorities straight.
posted by yerfatma at 2:07 PM on October 17, 2003

I'm sorry if I sound a little too harsh, but I'm getting pretty friggin' pissed at all the sentimental fools who say that my Marlins don't deserve to be in the WS, simply because they haven't been around but 10 seasons. Are they just supposed to bow to teams with long histories and suffering fans, bend over and say "thank you sir, may I have another?"

Give me a break, the best teams win. The Cubs and Sox didn't earn it. Maybe they will next year, but not this year.
posted by JaxJaggywires at 3:16 PM on October 17, 2003

Gimme a break about the money shit already. Or curses. Or no city name. What happened in 2001 when the Yankees lost to the youngest expansion team ever to win a World Series title, the Arizona Diamondbacks? It's a f'in' game and it's fun to watch. Sure, I love the Yankees and I love to whtch them win. And I'm sad when they lose. And I'm glad they make alot of money. They give me a break from reality much like a great film can, but I don't ever hear anyone complain someone like say Sean Connery makes too much money and that's the only reason he gets the good scripts. Grow up, yous!:)

Oh yeah, why do we still call it the World Series when it's usually played in the Bronx?
Hadda gloat a little! :)
posted by LouReedsSon at 3:53 PM on October 17, 2003

The Diamondbacks had one of the biggest payrolls in the league when they beat the Yankee devils, Lou. A level of payroll which they couldn't sustain, causing them to subsequently fall back to the pack, as the Yankees would quickly without their ludicrous TV millions.

Are they just supposed to bow to teams with long histories and suffering fans, bend over and say "thank you sir, may I have another?"

The fact you have to ask that question shows why the baseball gods should've forced the team to pay its dues.
posted by rcade at 4:05 PM on October 17, 2003

[applause for yerfatma]

I grew up in DC. I wasn't a fan of any sports teams until I moved to Boston ten years ago. I found Fenway Park by getting stuck in Kenmore Square on a home game day and watching thousands of people walking up the hill. I went into stores and found employees listening to games and customers hanging out until the end of the inning. I listened to cabbies explain the difference between a knuckleball and a curve ball.

The Sox are something everyone here has in common. As I fell in love with the city, I fell in love with the Sox. So, once again -- next year.
posted by swerve at 5:12 PM on October 17, 2003

Tim McCarver with the Mets was a good thing...I just don't like him over Yanks games...but perhaps it was just that awful Joe Buck that ticked me off too.

I just think of Midnight Cowboy - that scene where Joe Buck said screw the job and that kitchen guy, swamped with dishes is saying " Wher's that Joe Buck!"
posted by RubberHen at 5:19 PM on October 17, 2003

Hmmm... So "underpaid" athletes don't play as well as rich ones? OK, if you say so. :)

posted by LouReedsSon at 6:01 PM on October 17, 2003

I'm with you, swerve. Some people get baseball, some people don't. Those who don't tend to be the ones who equate baseball with any other sport, or think baseball parks should be called stadiums with 75,000 seats located hours away from any city center.

I think it was Steven Jay Gould who said, "In a few thousand years time, when this country is long gone from the planet, historians will look back on America for its three greatest accomplishments: The Declaration of Independance, Jazz Music, and Baseball."
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:42 PM on October 17, 2003


God, I love that. The fact someone produces hats with it on it makes me happy. It's as silly as the "Yankees Suck" gear. My suggestion to Sox fans is to start yelling the Yankees last series win year back at them (maybe it'll be 2003 which will make the absurdity even better).

Hopefully Lou, you'll get shock treatment just like dad.
posted by yerfatma at 5:52 AM on October 18, 2003

On hindsight, I believe SJ Gould said the Bill of Rights, not the Declaration of Independence. Just FYI.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 8:37 AM on October 18, 2003

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