Monday, October 29, 2007

Are the Red Sox the new Yankees?

The last time the Boston Red Sox won the World Series, I'd stayed up with a select group of people - and no, not all of them were Americans - at Ulpan Etzion in Jerusalem, Israel, to watch that history being made. This time around, on the day when it seemed that the so-called "Curse of the Bambino" had not only been lifted in 2004, but transferred to, oh I don't know, the Yankees by 2007, the history-making game I had my eyes and ears on was the Giants-Dolphins NFL game played at the new Wembley Stadium in London, England. To tell you the truth, a Red Sox victory seemed too easily won this time around - the magic of uncertainty had been replaced by a veritable Bostonian Blitzkrieg. To the victors go the spoils - and my congratulations.

Witnessing the incredible ease with which the Red Sox won this Series after very nearly being prevented from attending it by the Cleveland Indians is enough to make one wonder - had they been holding something back in the ALCS on purpose? Let's leave that as a highly unlikely possibility, but a possibility nonetheless, and consider this other notion - with two World Series rings earned by Boston in four consecutive seasons in this decade, and no World Series rings won by the Pinstripes since 2000, before they lost to, ahem, the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2001, has America truly become the Red Sox Nation? Are they the new "America's Team"? Are - perish the thought, God forbid - the Yankees the new Red Sox, and the Red Sox the new Yankees?

Those witty "Do the Math"-type t-shirts sold in many a Times Square and Yankees souvenir shop, the ones that show the dozens of NYYankees championship rings won over the last 90 years or so contrasted with a single, solitary Red Sox ring, are going to have to be replaced with a more updated version. At one time or another, this was bound to happen, but that it should be so soon must be particularly painful for die-hard fans of the Bronx Bombers. Oh, not to worry - those of us more "casual" (i.e., not-living-and-breathing-only-for-a-Yankees win) Yankees fans know that the Red Sox aren't about to catch up with our 26 anytime soon.

But once "the House that Ruth Built" is replaced by the new Yankee Stadium, will the "magic" that kept the Big Apple ahead of Beantown in the MLB be that sort of Lady that Frank Sinatra admonished Luck not to be, i.e., the one that wanders all over the room blowing on some other guy's dice (take that any way you will) this case, the dice being no longer those of the Yankees, but those of the Red Sox? It is, of course, foolish to believe in such "curses", but we can't deny the psychological power they have, that makes them capable of being self-fulfilling whatever can be proven of their veracity. I mean, look what stories of an ousted goat have done to Chicago Cubs fans over the course of many decades.

If it is indeed the case that the Earth's magnetic field has shifted and that Lady Luck has pulled a Benedict Arnold against New York's venerable Continental Army in favor of the Redsox controlling Fenway Pahk (alright, how many got the Revolutionary War references on the first read?), I don't think it is the case that anything supernatural - aside from Divine Providence - is ultimately to blame. Arrogance and caution at the top of the Yankees organization are the culprits, and with all due respect to Messrs. Steinbrenner and Cashman, they more than Joe Torre are who should be held accountable not only for the Yankees failing again to achieve the Fall Classic, but also for God's having possibly decided to trade in His well-worn Yankees cap for a Red Sox one at the Lids branch in Heaven.

Am I saying anything new, here? I don't think so. Rationally-minded or "aristocratic" Yankees fans know for whom their anger should be primarily reserved; as for the plebs, they may be just enough satisfied with Joe Torre's absence from the dugout in 2008 to let the others off the hook for now.

Wondering about those NYY fans whose cold anger still simmers against the upper management? Bear in mind that it is usually from cold anger that grudges are born and that the memories of some species of fans are as long as the memories of the Jews - they'll tell their grandkids (and, God-willing, great-grandkids) just who it was that enfeebled the Yankees in the first years of the 21st century to such a degree that it enabled the Red Sox to win one World Series too many. And you have to remember, for some Pinstripes fans, even just one World Championship ring won and worn by a Boston Red Sox player in the post-Babe Ruth era was one too many.

But two such rings for the Red Sox, in four seasons, in the first decade of the 2000s?

Well, if that's not a nakba, what is?

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