Storybook ending actually comes true
By Jim ďDocĒ Sabin
Itís finally over.
Eighty-six years after the most superstitious sport in America dropped its most potent curse, the Boston Red Sox finally seem to have broken free, and exorcised a few demons in the process.
Four score and six years
ago, this club kicked off the first professional sports fire sale, and has been
paying for it ever since. But not today.
Today, the Boston Red
Sox are kings of the American League. No, they havenít won the World Series;
they may yet fail to conquer that portion. But today, at 12:01 a.m., the Fenway
Faithful got the gift theyíve been waiting for all these years; the team that
could, and did, overcome near-impossible odds, against the dreaded Evil Empire,
the New York Yankees, on their turf, in their forum.
It almost didnít
happen. Twice, the Yankees were a few outs away from ending this thing, with
Mariano Rivera, the most effective closer in postseason history, ready to slam
the door. Didnít work.
And even in Game 7, with
the Sox out to an 8-1 lead, they almost found a way to blow it. The Yankees were
despondent; Yankee Stadium was silent. Until Terry Francona did the
inexplicable, bringing in Pedro Martinez on short rest. Nothing could have fired
up that crowd, that stadium, more, and the Yanks immediately put up a pair of
runs before Pedro managed to escape. But it didnít matter.
Somehow, images of
George Steinbrenner falling down a shaft, lightning flashing from his fingers,
comes to mind, with an un-masked George Herman "Babe" Ruth standing
above, having finally cast down the curse and let the good guys win for a
change. The dark side has fallen.
Oh, there are still
challenges. The Houston Astros are no small concern. Neither are the St. Louis
Cardinals. It doesnít matter which team squares off against the Sox; both are
formidable opponents. Will it be the Pujols/Rolen/Edmonds triumvirate that made
even the Yankees show grudging respect? Or will it be the Killer Bís, led by
Captain K himself, the Red Sox castoff, Roger Clemens?
Doesnít matter. Today,
the Red Sox humiliated the Yankees. Today, the Red Sox conquered the only foe
that truly mattered.
They say to break a
curse, it takes a remarkable effort. Just a year ago, the faithful of the Red
Sox and the equally-frustrated Cubs performed all sorts of rituals as the two
entered the postseason.
This ritual had to take
place on the field. Down three games to none, the Red Sox faced a mountain no
team in baseball history has climbed. This wasnít just a mountain; this was
Mount Everest, Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount St. Helens on a bad day, all rolled
into one. Twenty-five teams faced this mountain. No team got even halfway to the
And no team, perhaps,
faced a bigger rival, a bigger foe. David faced Goliath without so much as a
stone to throw, let alone a sling to throw it with. And yet, they packed a few
punches nobody knew about.
Oh, they knew Curt
Schilling was there. They thought him too gimpy to climb the dugout stairs, let
alone shut down the powerful Yanks. And they knew Pedro was there; they thought
they had his number. And maybe they were right.
They knew about Manny
Ramirez. They didnít know Boston could win without him.
They knew about David
Ortiz. Or so they thought. Nobody in America knew this guy had THAT much nerve,
that much steel in his backbone. Or that heíd look like, well, Manny Ramirez.
They didnít know about
Derek Lowe. Not much of anyone outside of Derek Lowe knew about Derek Lowe, at
least not any more.
They knew this was a
good team. They knew this was a great team. But they didnít have any idea that
this would be the most resilient team ever.
They know now, and so
does the rest of America. This team, for the first time since World War I was
freshly over, is not cursed. They did what no team has done before; they did it
against their archrivals, their oppressors.
Thereís no better way to break a curse.