Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
October 17, 2003

Well, I feel a little better this morning (but plenty tired; it's a two-coffee morning for sure). If you haven't figured out from the post below or some of the others on this site, I'm not entirely rational where the Hated Yankees are concerned (the Mets, yes, as much as I've suffered with them over the years, but not the Yankees) . . .

You've probably seen sci-fi or horror movies where there's one character who's hyper-rational (usually a scientist) and keeps insisting that there's no such thing as (insert the film's particular horror here) until something happens (usually a face-to-face encounter) that makes it sand-poundingly obvious that this is precisely what's at work. This year's LCS had to have that effect on people who argued that curses, hexes, jinxes and just plain bad mojo surrounding the Red Sox and Cubs were just a myth of some sort (if you could buy stock in Dan Shaughenssy, he'd be up 50% at the opening bell this morning). Adding insult to injury was the Sox losing twice with San Pedro de Fenway and the Cubs losing back to back with Prior and Wood.

I'm not even sure I have the heart to soak up much of the commentary; I haven't seen Lupica's inevitable "Yankees have more class than loser Red Sox, their pathetic fans and their little dog too" victory lap column, although I guess I'll make time to read Bill Simmons' next attempt to place this in the Levels of Losing (pretty high, I'd guess, what with the involvement of Clemens).

UPDATE: Simmons weighs in:

Twenty minutes after the Yankees eliminated the Sox, I called my father to make sure he was still alive.

And that's not even a joke. I wanted to make sure Dad wasn't dead. That's what it feels like to be a Red Sox fan. You make phone calls thinking to yourself, "Hopefully, my Dad picks up, because there's at least a 5-percent chance that the Red Sox just killed him."

Bill also explains why he had that "now I believe in the Curse" moment. Read the whole thing.

Also: The New York Post prematurely buries the Yankees (maybe they were counting on this); David Adesnik goes straight to Lamentations; and Art Martone's wrapup includes the quote of the day:

"(Jeter) told me, 'The ghosts will show up eventually,' " a breathless Boone said after the game.

Finally, for those ripping Grady Little for leaving Pedro out there a few batters too long, it could be worse: in 1925, Bucky Harris left a 37-year-old Walter Johnson in to lose Game 7 of the World Series 9-7 after leading 6-4 entering the bottom of the seventh inning; Johnson went the distance in the game (in a torrential downpour, no less), allowing 9 runs on 15 hits, including 8 doubles and two triples (the 25 total bases surrendered by Johnson in one day is a World Series record unlikely to be broken), including the game-winner, a 2-run ground rule double by Kiki Cuyler into the darkness in right field with two outs in the bottom of the eighth.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 6:15 AM | Baseball 2002-03 | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0)

It's been about 36 hours since I vowed aloud that I was finished with baseball, the Red Sox, fantasy leagues, all of it. My overwhelming reaction was, "What a fucking waste of my time."

I've been angry at the Red Sox and certain players countless times, I think The Curse is bullshit and nobody, NOBODY hates the Yankees more than I do.

I shut the television off the other night filled with nothing but resentment and utter contempt, but for the first time, not solely directed at the Yankees. I actually hated MY team. Sure, I hate the Yankees more than ever, but I fear something else changed for me that night. I just couldn't escape the feeling of having been screwed. I wanted my night back. I didn't care about the World Series anymore. I wanted a replay, not so I could change the outcome. I just wanted to change the fact that it had been important to me.

I can't put my finger on it exactly, plenty of things change as you grow older, priorities shift... I watched less baseball this season than ever before, having a baby will do those things to you. Time passes so quickly now, you don't even have time to miss baseball.

But I was aware, following, anticipating. I got sucked right back in.

I abandoned my wife and daughter night after night for hours at a time for two straight weeks. Spent three nights of a family vacation watching baseball. STAYED AN EXTRA NIGHT SO I WOULDNT MISS GAME SEVEN DESPERATELY SCANNING FOR THE NEXT ESPN RADIO AFFILIATE ON THE DRIVE HOME!!! My wife offered that option without me even asking, knowing how important it would be. I used to be proud of that kind of devotion to my team. No more. Guilt-ridden? Perhaps. But I can't have that time back. My daughter is on the verge of walking. I might have missed that moment this week for the pleasure of the Red Sox delivering yet again such profound disappointment.

I know my "baseball boycott" resolve is weakening, my first day home and I'm already on the internet reading everything I can find about the game. I know I'll watch, I'll be excited again this spring. It's in my blood, there's no resisting. But make the conscious decision to put baseball first again? That would be an even worse decision than Grady Little's.

Posted by: A2 Matt at October 18, 2003 11:05 PM

Dude, in all seriousness, I feel your pain. I've never really quite gone back to the Giants after the 1997 fiasco against the Vikings, and I started pulling back from the Knicks after the whole disaster with all the suspensions. Having kids and having to pick between sports had a lot to do with that, too.

Posted by: The Crank at October 18, 2003 11:12 PM

Sheehan at Baseball Prospectus has a GREAT breakdown of Grady's breakdown. Who'da thought there'd be such clear statistical evidence to backup the hindsight?


Posted by: A2 Matt at October 18, 2003 11:33 PM

You should come over to the dark side and be a Yankee is really cool. Try it and see how it feels to pull for a winner.

Posted by: Mad Dog 7 at October 22, 2003 12:03 AM

the curse has finally been broken. congrats to all of you idiot red soxs fans out there, but me and the yankees are going to let you enjoy this untill next year. my boys are going to pick the bosoxs apart piece by piece. those damn soxs are going to cry every night. the curse may be lifted, but you redsoxs fans can always and will always look forward to the yankees beateen the hell out of you.

Posted by: mike furer at November 8, 2004 7:42 PM

well theres 1 thing ot it: Red Sox kicked some serious ass this year against the Yanks and Cards in the playoffs. WHat a great way to end the season, a 8 game win streak. Looks like the damn bambinos curse os over. GO GET BO-SOX.

Posted by: billy Baseball at December 8, 2004 3:50 PM

What happens when one curse meets another? Easy - one disappears! That's what happened in the 2004 World Series. The Curse of the Bambino was put to rest by the Curse of Butch Yatkeman.

Butch Yatkeman was the Equipment Manger for the Cardinals. He joined them in 1924 and retired after the 1982 season. He was known as "The Key to the World Championships". The Cardinals won their first 2 years after he joined them and won their last in 1982 - as he retired.

The Cardinals have done nothing to publically honor Mr. Yatkeman and publically recognize his devotion to his beloved Cardinals. Until they do, it is said that the baseball gods will show their displeasure by keeping the World Championship away from St. Louis.

Remember baseball is a game of tradition, respect and superstition.

The Cardinals need to show some respect, honor the tradition of publically showing appreciation to baseball's servants and break the curse.

Posted by: St. Louis Card at July 13, 2005 11:31 AM
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