Watching Boston’s Keith Foulke underhand the final out of the World Series to first base, I could only think one tortured thought …
Damn. Now we can’t chant “1918” anymore.
I hate to admit it, but the bitter Yankee fan in me prevailed over the baseball enthusiast in one of the most historic seasons baseball has seen in a while.
But now that the sting from the “biggest comeback in the history of baseball” has been reduced to a dull ache, I can look back at what the Red Sox accomplished instead of what the Yankees did not.
With their last breath of life, those Boston cowboys defeated the polished Yankees to take the American League pennant after being just two outs away from a sweep. They then overcame nearly a century of internalized hardship to sweep the lifeless Cardinals in the World Series for their sixth World Championship, and first since 1918.
These Red Sox, with their dreadlocks, full-grown beards and helmets caked with pine tar will never be forgotten. And it’s not their championship that allows them a place in baseball history, it’s the ghosts that were put to rest during this postseason.
The 2004 Boston Red Sox were better than the 2004 New York Yankees. It’s not hard to admit because it’s a fact. The Yankees starting rotation combined could not equal the talent of Boston’s Curt Schilling and Pedro Martinez. And Boston’s consistent offensive power from every player on that lineup isn’t even touched by the streaky contributions of Derek Jeter, Gary Sheffield and Hideki Matsui.
Yet, it was Boston who had quietly fallen to New York in the first three games of the American League Championship Series (ALCS) and was two outs from doing the same thing a fourth and final time. It appeared that the curse had its heavy shroud over the Red Sox again and that’s what makes this team special.
If the Sox had taken down the Yankees in four, five or even six games and then went on to win the World Series, they still would have broken the curse. But this team was literally in Babe Ruth’s clutches until David “Papi” Ortiz wriggled out, with his team on the brink of another elimination, and sent the curse flying over the wall in Fenway.
The curse could be felt in the first three games and most of the fourth, and when the Red Sox came back to win Game 4, everyone could feel it being lifted.
Boston baseball will never be the same. But now that the mystique that has surrounded this team for as long as most people can remember has been lifted, what happens now? With the loss of some big names to free agency in this upcoming off-season, could they be just joining the gigantic pool of mediocre teams who have won only a handful of World Championships in their history?
Or is it the beginning of a new era; an era where the Yankees give up their American League supremacy to those champions of Beantown? Only time and money will tell.