When Losers Win

Red SoxTo be sure, the Red Sox absolutely, a hundred and ten percent, for sure deserved to win their first World Series in forever last night — it was probably the most well-earned championship we’ll see this decade, if you forget the inconvenient fact that they got into the post-season by virtue of the wild card. Personally, as a fan of the Yankees, it was a weird experience to see them do so well, being so accustomed to wishing ever more bad luck on them. I’ve never bought the image of the team as a gang of ‘lovable losers,’ something they’ve been cultivating with almost obsessive care. This year’s team, in fact, has struck me as having more than its fair share of assholes. Still, I was rooting for them all the way.

I’m Your Fan

At first, this was because I had guessed that a Red Sox win would have been a nice psychological boost for the Kerry campaign — in a corny way, it shows that amazing comebacks are possible, and that there’s a winning mindset in New England. It may sound desperate, but I’m take any little bit of upside in this ridiculously tight race for the White House.

Then, after the Sox took the first three games, I set aside that mercenary motivation and found myself really, honesty hoping they’d finish off the Cardinals with a sweep. They’d come so far and worked so hard that their story became irresistible. And when they did clinch it — when they made it plain that they deserved the victory by unexpectedly dominating the St. Louis Cardinals — I was surprisingly happy for them.

Bad with the Good

Alas, I don’t expect that good will to last. For one thing, by ‘reversing the curse,’ they have effectively converted the image of their team from one of a rag-tag bunch of losers afflicted by an eighty-six year old hex to that of a rag-tag bunch of losers, period. The 2004 Red Sox are probably the most special Red Sox team ever, but everything that was special about the franchise itself disappeared with the third out of the ninth inning last night.

To make matters worse, Curt Schilling, the Sox’ putative ace and, in my mind, Asshole Number One, has used this almost magical moment of notoriety in an exceedingly distasteful manner by, first, coming out as a Bush supporter on Good Morning, America today. Tomorrow he’ll follow up that gesture with appearances in New Hampshire, stumping for the worst president in American history. I don’t want to speak out of turn, but I would wager that, for generations of liberal-leaning fans in New England, Schilling has poisoned what should have been a uniformly sweet victory.



  1. To your last paragraph: I’ll take that wager. Easy money.

    Boston fans owe a debt of gratitude to Schilling – especially Shilling because of his courage and dedication in the face of enormous pain.

    But then, Schilling didn’t come to Boston for the benefit of the fans. He came to beat the Yankees – and he did. Perhaps that is why you have a bad taste in your mouth.

  2. Just browsing the web and happened to stumble upon this post (beautiful site by the way).

    As a life long Red Sox fan now a couple months removed from seeing the impossible happen, I can honestly say that the sweet taste of success has not yet been diluted – and I expect that it will remain for years to come.

    There isn’t a Red Sox fan I know that would trade last October for the title “Lovable Losers with 86 Year Old Curse”. If the national media and others around the country think we’ve lost our identity, so be it. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about Boston’s World Series victory – what it means to me, my family, and 1000’s of others across New England.

    When my grand-father died this past summer (1918-2004) before seeing the Red Sox win it all my dad had the “they’ve killed my father and now they’re coming after me” mentality. To see how much joy this team brought him makes all the waiting and the suffering worth it. We, just like so many others, have reserved a space in our heart for the Red Sox and while they may never win again in our lifetimes it was worth it to say that I watched 86 years of misery come to an end.

    I just wanted to say thank you for your support. There were quite a few Yankees fans I know that when all was said and done were rooting for the Red Sox to sweep the Cardinals – it means a lot.

    As far as Schilling’s comments go I’d be lying if I were to say that I wasn’t disappointed – but at least he publically came out a few days later and said it was wrong of him to use the World Series victory as an avenue to promote politics. I’ve always respected that about him.

  3. Scott: thanks for your kind thoughts. That was a really well-written summary of your experience as a Red Sox fan, it definitely made me appreciate the long World Series drought with more sympathy. As I said, I’m glad Boston took the series, but of course I’m rooting for the Yankees to take it back in 2005! As for Schilling, it’s always easier to forgive a player’s off-field behavior when he’s the ace on your favorite team; for me, I still think his Bush boosterism was incredibly distasteful, apology or no.

  4. RE: Schilling

    Khoi – I can’t say I disagree with you and definitely understand where you are coming from. It surely is easier to forgive and forget given Schilling’s performace in the playoffs and what that meant to me. Perhaps I do see his apology through rose colored glasses, still I believe every person is entitled to his/her opinion, even if they are mislead and completely wrong ;o)

    In any event, here’s wishing both teams health and success in 2005 – hopefully they’ll meet again in October!

  5. Okay, I’ll lay off of Schilling. In a way his (overly) lauded performance will make 2005 even sweeter when Randy Johnson flat out beats him in one of at least several pitchers’ duels that both managers will no doubt schedule. I can’t wait for those match-ups, and I bet you can’t either. It’s true: Yankees fans and Red Sox fans, we need each other.

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