Blogs > Liberty and Power > The Fall Classic

Oct 22, 2004 9:37 am

The Fall Classic

As a follow-up to yesterday's post on the Yankees' devastating loss to the Boston Red Sox in the American League Championship Series, I recommend to readers a few essays in the New York papers—2 articles in the NY Times and 1 in the NY Daily News (even perpetual Yankee critics like Mike Lupica have a couple of valuable things to say).

In Michiko Kakutani's essay,"In a Fan's Eyes, the World Turns Upside Down," the author tells us of"a breakdown in the cosmic order Wednesday night," which destroyed the"old myths, the old beliefs in curses and destiny," as"the scruffy, hopelessly jinxed Boston Red Sox, pulled off the unimaginable: toppling the once-proud Yankees in the most shaming and mind-boggling fashion ..." The"mythic sense" of the Yankees (dubbed the"Evil Empire") was shattered, says Kakutani, on a night when Bucky Dent threw out the first pitch, a date on which fans celebrated Mickey Mantle's birthday."Karma had left the Bronx and fled north up the Eastern corridor," Kakutani tells us.

Still, this is as much about Boston's success as it is about New York's failure. And it is only success that will bury the"Curse of the Bambino" for all time. The" curse" was never about beating the New York Yankees ... though I will admit that there is nothing quite like the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry. Last year's Yankees' World Series loss to the Florida Marlins, for example, didn't hold a candle to the 7-game epic that ended with Aaron Boone's walk-off homerun in extra innings, giving the Yanks the AL crown.

But the Bosox have beaten the Yanks plenty of times. Even after their last World Series win in 1918, the Bosox have represented the American League in the Fall classic and have done so in dramatic fashion. They lost in 7 games in both 1946 and 1967, falling both times to this year's NL champions, the St. Louis Cardinals, whom they will meet again when the Series gets under way on Saturday night. They lost in 7 games in 1975 in a titanic Series with the Cincinatti Reds. And they lost in 7 games in 1986 to the New York Mets. (Just utter two words to Bosox fans, and their memories will be jarred: Bill Buckner.)

So, onward to another Red Sox-Cardinals series. It should be fun.

As for the aforementioned articles providing us with the expected Yankee postmortem, I don't agree with every point made, but I do think there is essential truth in the observation that the Yankees' boss George Steinbrenner has chased away home-grown talent, devastating the great Yankee farm system (something Buster Olney covers well in his article,"Down on the Farm"), while assembling an All-Star group that lacks the cohesiveness of the integrated teams that the Yankees fielded to 4 world championships in the 5 years between 1996 and 2000. But as I suggested in yesterday's essay, I think it is the very young generation that has been"horribly spoiled" by recent Yankee victories. Coming from this fan, who has lived through more Yankee losses than victories, I know the agony of defeat. Maybe not like a Boston fan or a Cubs fan. But s*&% happens.

So, let's enjoy this fall classic, before having to deal with another one on November 2nd.

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More Comments:

Keith Halderman - 10/23/2004

I agree with you guys the curse is not lifted until the Redsox win the series. So my advice to you is to sell all of your property and borrow as much as you can then bet it all on the Cardinals I do not think the Great Bambino is satisfied yet. As for me I am looking forward to the Eagles winning the Super Bowl and even if they do not make it the ride will still be great.

Chris Matthew Sciabarra - 10/22/2004

Amen, Aeon. Amen.

But I have now added a new word to my repertoire. "Suckitude." THAT about covers it, big time.

Aeon J. Skoble - 10/22/2004

I agree with every word Chris has ever written about Baseball, but I want to explore this business about Yankee fans being "spoiled" and not knowing what it's like to be heartbroken, disappointed, etc.
1, of course we do -- the 26 world championships spans several generations, but it's not like most extant Yankee fans were at all those Ruth/Gehrig games. If you're, say, in your mid-30s to mid-40s, the Yankees were good when you were in HS, then lame for 15 years (!), then got good again. How is that "being spoiled"? And we do know what disappointment and heartbreak are: via the cruel irony that the great Don Matttingly's tenure with the Yanks entirely spanned the long period of suckitude. He retired just short of the Torre era. 2, the "Yankee fans are spoiled" meme seems to presuppose that we only like baseball. Some of us know loss and heartbreak from other sports. To take a personal example: in irritation that NYC's football teams don't play in NY, sometime in the mid-80s I threw my loyalty behind the only remaining NY football team: the Buffalo Bills. This coincided, however, with the brilliant and exciting Levy/Kelly era, so it was fun and satisfying as well as NY-centric. But of course, the Bills LOST 4 consecutive Super Bowls! Norwood's last-second missed field goal was as devastating to any Bills fan as Boone/Bucky/Buckner was to the BoSox fans. So yes, I do know what heartbreak is, thanks for asking.