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Curses? Hardly... october 17 2003, 03:35 am
submitted by: normal mc

CURSE:
a. An appeal or prayer for evil or misfortune to befall someone or something.
b. The evil or misfortune that comes in or as if in response to such an appeal.


That blast of air you felt blowing through New England at about quarter-past midnight was the wind getting knocked out of Red Sox Nation yet again, thanks to the gut-punch moonshot off the bat of the much-maligned Aaron Boone. Suddenly the hero, Boone made it around the bases, dove into the scrum at home plate and the collective hope of a few million Fenway faithful died another quick death. I quote 'Star Wars': I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. Blame the Bambino, right? Why give credit to the Yankees when you can just as easily give in to superstition and refuse to come to grips with the fact that your Sox went as far as their talent could take them? It's the curse…

The night before last, that huge sucking sound you heard over the Midwest was the karma of the Chicago Cubs being leveled. Kerry Wood didn't have it, Jack McKeon, Josh 'Kid Flash' Beckett, Pudge and the Fish did. Blame the goat, right? Why not blame Dusty Baker, architect of many an October collapse, he who is prone to somehow over and undermanage at the same time? Why not credit the grit and determination, the balls and the hustling atmosphere that the Marlins succeed with? Refuse to come to grips with the fact that your Cubbies went as far as their talent could take them, it's okay. It's the curse…

There are no curses, only bad baseball. And there is no such thing as destiny… only shallow fans. I will explain, trust me.




Boston:

There is no curse. There is only bad baseball.


A curse does not leave Bill Buckner out on the field in extra-innings with a lead - that's bad managing. Somewhere right now Dave Stapleton is smiling. A curse does not give up a Green Monster shot to Bucky Dent of all people - that's bad pitching, Mike Torrez. A curse does not lead a franchise into an elimination Game Six, in the Bronx no less, with John Burkett as your starting pitcher - that is bad general managing. Sure they dodged the bullet, but hey… blame the Yankees for coming out flat on that one. A curse does not sit idly by and add only Jeff Suppan, Scott Sauerbeck and Scott Williamson. That's a lazy front office, especially when names such as Trachsel, Jarvis and Escobar are out there to be had on the cheap.

And as if you needed more proof… a curse does not mismanage your bullpen in the 8th, on the road, with the lead… that's Grady Little's job. Five outs away with a three-run lead, how can you NOT go to Timlin right there? Or Williamson? Or Lowe? We certainly know from the last two weeks that Grady little is not gun-shy about using Lowe out of the pen.

Face it - Pedro Martinez, as dominating as he is from April to August, cannot win the big game. He pitched well into the 8th, but then the wheels started to come off… and then Grady Little starting playing Tony LaRussa. You are one of the most dominating pitchers of all time, Pedro... can you win a big game for me? Can you?

With a roster full of cast-offs, retreads and role-players, one has to give credit where it's due to GM Theo Epstein for patch-working this club to within five outs of a World Series birth. But when it counted, they could not come through. Call them an Evil Empire, but the Yankees are the better team, and when the better team wins in the end, well, that's justice now, isn't it?

And your sense of entitlement is beneath you, Red Sox Nation. It was amazing to see you all crawl out of the woodwork. Now, like roaches in a tenement ghetto, you'll scurry back under the refrigerator, the same fridge that is keeping Ted Williams' head cool, like someone just flicked on the light switch. Hang up the jerseys; mothball the cap, hot stove it like the rest of us and debate on what 'could have been'. Leave the curse talk alone, it's silly and it's avoiding a bigger issue here. That being bad franchise decisions. As if Yankee fans needed another reason to make fun of you, the fact that you don't win is enough.

For the real Sox fans - you are entirely too wrapped up in this bullshit 'us versus them' mentality, this same mentality that is tricking you into thinking that as 'long suffering fans' (and I use that term loosely), somehow that elusive victory that remains perennially out-of-reach will taste that much sweeter when it comes time. Sorry, not going to happen. Live to 85 and the Sox don't win… tough. You'll die empty inside, just like pretty much anyone who has ever died. Ever.

Do me two favors - get another starting pitcher a closer, please. Round two, this time next year. See ya there.

(And before you go and make points about the Yankee fans’ sense of entitlement, guess what: they’re always around this time of year. I can forgive them for getting used to it. From the mouth of a long-standing Mets fan, it pains me to say this: the majority of Yankee fans know the game extremely well. The same cannot be said of Sox fans… or more specifically, the new Sox fans.)





Chicago:

There is no curse. There is only bad baseball.


A curse does not make a grounder skim through a first-baseman's legs (I explained this above), Leon Durham does. A curse does not take a three games to two lead in a series back to their home park, arguably the greatest ballpark in the land, with their twin aces of Prior and Wood staring the fish down… and lose. Bad baseball does that. Terrible bullpen management does that (noticing a trend?).

Want to blame an overzealous fan? Fine. That's no curse, it's a… yep, you guessed it - an overzealous fan! I know plenty of idiot Mets fans. You take the good with the bad when it comes to your rooting compatriots.

Bottom line: giving up eight (8!) runs in the 8th, six outs away from your first World Series since 1945… that is inexcusable. And it's bad baseball, not a curse.

Curses don't stick with power pitchers too long when they obviously don't have it that night, especially in a do-or-die game seven. Dusty Baker does that. Often, actually. I've watched Dusty manage his teams out of un-losable situations in three of the last four years; against the Mets in 2000, in the Series last year and now this year. Say what you want about Baker being a remarkable regular season skipper, getting the most out of his charges, blah blah blah - Dusty blew it. Kerry Wood blew it. That fan didn't blow it. The curse didn't blow it.




Curses in sports, which in reality do not exist, are constructs of fans' own hyper-self-aware, manic depressive psyches. Their own inadequacies drew them to root for franchises utterly devoid of hope, and to switch alliegeance now is selling out.

I wore a Yankee hat last night to support my buddy Jason, a true baseball fan, who had taken some grief from the local Sox contingent. I wouldn't usually stick up for a Yankee fan, but this was more an act to piss of the Sox fans. I was supporting him and all true fans who live and die with their clubs, not the ones who latch on at the tail end and then talk big. Those are the people who continue to bemoan the curses, the ones who contribute to the losing atmosphere of such unsuccessful clubs like the Cubs, Sox, etc.

I will be burning that Yankee cap today though. I fucking hate the Yankees.

I was happy when Boone parked it, if only to take joy in the grief of others. The Evil Empire that is the big-budget Yankees had won again. It wasn't the curse's fault. Two historic franchises, two monumental collapses. Soul crushing defeats, sure. That's baseball... and the curse nonsense only ruins it for the Yankees and Marlins, two fantastic ballclubs who - like it or not - deserve to be where they are right now. Give them kudos, enjoy what I think will be a much closer Series than some may predict. (My prediction - Yanks in 6.)

When I watched the Knicks lose the 1994 NBA Finals, I was so upset, so depressed, I knew I was too emotionally attached to that team. And to be emotionally attached to a rarified group of millionares who play kids games for a living... well that's not safe. Sure, I root hard for the Knicks, the Mets, the Giants... but I accept defeat like a man. When the Mets lost to the Yankees in 2000, I had no high hopes. I was ready for defeat. I held out some faint hope, but the better team won. There was no injustice, we were not cursed. We lost. Deal with it.

Th point is this, fans, now pay attention now: you are not entitled to your championships. God doesn't hate you, your pain is not unique, and there are worse fates out there than being a fan of a losing club.

No one has cursed you, it is not bad luck, the law of averages does not really apply here. The Cubs have waited since 1908… the Sox since 1918. Think of this way: true believers have waited more than two thousand years for Christ to come back. I think you can wait one more for your World Series t-shirts...





comments...   add a comment...


chuck d
chuck d 425 posts
10.17.2003
comment no. 1

The Yankees proved last night the better team wins. What a great series though. I don't EVER want to hear Pedro "The Dominican Diva" Martinez's name mentioned with the likes of Koufax, Gibson or Carlton when it comes to being a "money" pitcher. Pedro couldn't carry their jocks. This can't be considered a curse anymore. Babe Ruth has nothing to with it. All of the Red Sox misery can be attributed to the failure of one player or manager to make the proper play or the right decision. A botched routine ground ball. Mike Torez leaving one over the plate for Bucky Fucking Dent. Roger Clemens getting himself ejected in the 4th inning during the 1990 ALCS. John McNamara bringing in a medicated looking Bob Stanley in the botom of the 10th in 1986. Sorry Sox fans, like Norm said, get a #3 starter and a closer you can keep on your postseason roster and you have a better shot at whooping it up at a ballyard next October. I was rooting for a great game last night and I had no favorite. We got a classic contest. I would like to conclude by saying:
LET'S GO MARLINS!!!!!!!!!!!!


dave stapleton
dave stapleton lurker
10.17.2003
comment no. 2

shit, i could have made that play in '86.


dj tanner
dj tanner 4789 posts
10.20.2003
comment no. 3

Best article ever! I should be reading this in a newspaper!


Meesh23
Meesh23 lurker
10.21.2003
comment no. 4

Awesome job, well writen and all valid points. Would you mind explaining all this to my entire T/R 9:15 class (filled with sox fans) who even today were still bitching and moaning.
One kid said while walking into class "The Sox are the best team in baseball with the worst manager" (I'm thinking dude, you lost 5 days ago...shut up) but I said "No, the 2 best teams this year are playing tonight" I didn't say that just because I am a NYY fan, I said it because it's true. These people have over 6 months to prove themselves and Boston just didn't cut the mustard. They were a wildcard to begin with anyway! I wish they'd all just shut-up and quit the "poor me, and screw the Yankees" act. If we lost to the I'd feel utter humiliation and sorrow, but my life would go on, BUT YOU KNOW they'd brag for years. I'm not bragging, just being a fan and rooting for my team.
I freaking cried when we lost the series to Arizona but my life went on the next day. I loved the Yanks when we sucked in the 80's, I love them now, and I'll love them when they suck again, but I won't make everyone around me suffer for it...
Go Yanks!





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