Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
November 24, 2003
BASEBALL: Making a Schilling
Well, so much for the slow news week . . . one of the problems of writing for a long-running television show, or a series of books or films -- this problem is particularly acute for soap operas -- is what you might call "drama fatigue": the difficulty of getting the audience to emotionally invest itself once again in some crisis of the characters, after the viewers/readers have been through the wringer so many times with the same characters and/or similar plotlines. The TV show ER has had to work incredibly hard to sustain this kind of tension; JK Rowling has excelled at recreating it anew in each of the Harry Potter books, at each stage escalating both Harry's social humiliations and his peril.
After a while, you start to run out of room to stretch out the tension. Madonna, for example, has reached a similar point with regard to being shocking; she's running out of new tricks. Every saga that depends on new and more stunning revelations eventually comes to and end.
Except the Red Sox. Just when Sox fans thought they couldn't come any closer to victory, couldn't taste any bitterer defeat, wouldn't again fall into the trap of hoping and believing, along comes a 3-run lead against the Yankees in a 7-game series, with Pedro in command . . .
And after that, the cries went up anew: we will never believe again. We won't have our hearts broken again. How, you might ask, does one tug at those heartstrings again? How do you shock, again?
Trade for Curt Schilling. There's nothing but good in this move. It's raising the ante, calling Steinbrenner's bluff, and attacking the Sox' perennial weak spot, depth in the starting rotation. (And the early ESPN report on this deal, assuming it pans out, also explains why Peter Gammons gets the big bucks).
And somewhere in this favored land, the Mudville fans are dreaming once again . . .