Saturday, October 30, 2004

The end of an era

My Cardinals lost. The Red Sox won. Two crushing developments, and I'm not just talking about changing a Farrelly brothers movie ending. One of the most interesting stories in baseball is over, and everyone is celebrating. Well, I for one am not.

Alas, poor Red Sox Nation, I knew them well Horatio. A group of infinite hope, they bore their team upon their back a thousand times.

Now, they are winners. There is no tragedy. Hamlet has survived and fought off Fortinbras' legions to save Denmark. And they all live happily ever after. Yeah, a regular Spielbergian adventure. E.T. gets to go home!

Give me Kubrick or Scorsese anytime.

The Red Sox were the losing team that never deserved to lose. The success of the Yankees was initially created by a loser owner who needed cash. Not the fault of the players or the fans, but they were the ones who suffered. And it's not like they had bad players. They had arguably the best hitter of all time, Ted Williams. They had Doerr, Tiant, Yaz, Clemens, Boggs, Oil Can, Lynn, Rice, Dewey, Pedro and many more, those are just the few that come to mind for me as I sit here in my coffeshop listening to Miles Davis. I'm not even a Red Sox fan. (Probably obvious since I am still listing Clemens as a Red Sox player.)

No offense to my esteemed colleague, but who cares about the White Sox? This is a team more known for its promotions than its products on the field. Plus, they brought it on themselves - by having the players betray them in the notorious Black Sox scandal of 1919. You gamble, you deserve to lose, and that seems like a worthy argument, though not necessarily fair.

Sissyphus has finally rolled the boulder to the top of the hill. He is free! He is normal! He is pedestrian. The Red Sox are no longer that fun, unique team. They are now enshrined in the recent winners of the World Series club. Since 1980, this group includes the Phillies, the Dodgers, the Cardinals, the Orioles, the Tigers, the Royals, the Twins, the Mets, the Reds, the Athletics, the Braves, the Marlins, the Blue Jays, the Diamondbacks and the Angels. Now the Red Sox. Once they were a team without peer - now they are the same as 50% of major league baseball teams. Once they were one of the storied teams elevated by the mystery of a 'curse' and incredible bad luck, now they are like the Reds, Tigers or Pirates. Teams with great players and great histories that have won championships. Yippee! Be like the Reds!

But, I am sure the fans are happy with their trade of a championship for their unique status. They are happy and satisfied for the first time in many fans lifetimes. But, now in your moment of euphoria, please, don't get rid of Fenway now that you have a winner. Please. I know the owners will try to convince you, but I haven't been yet. I want to be able to see a game there and witness the most unique ball park in baseball. I will try to make it in the next year, because I doubt that Red Sox Nation will be able to hold out for very long.

Well, congratulations to the Red Sox. Now the teams to root against has shrunk as the tragedy of the world of baseball finally has a happy ending. Well, at least I can still follow the comedy of baseball - the Cubs. Believe me, I hope that bit of comedy lasts longer than the careers of Bob Hope, Jerry Lewis and Redd Foxx combined.


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