Sunday, October 17, 2004

One Last Thing: There Is No Curse

Whether it comes tonight or tomorrow or Tuesday, when the Yankees finish off the Sox, there will be much invoking of The Curse. But as the Turnstile of Futility clicks from 85 years to 86, it will not be because of the sale of Babe Ruth in 1920. It will be because the Yankees, often so corporate and dispassionate in their approach to the game, were the more aggressive and emotional team in this series. While it's easy to see Jeter and Bernie and Posada and think this team is the same bunch that won in '96, guys like A-Rod, Matsui, and Mussina have not won a Series yet. They have won two pennants but no Series since 2000. That is not exactly 86 years of emptiness, but in Steinbrenner Years it is eons. They want another ring bad. This is not to discredit the commitment of the Sox, but in a short series it is hard to counterpunch. They gave it two good shots--cutting the 8-run deficit to one in Game 1, and taking a lead after falling behind early in Game 3--but the Yankees answered each time.

The Sox had a great season. They were first in runs and second in wins in the league. They have some important decisions to make about Varitek (keep him!) and Pedro (let him walk!), but compared to the Yanks, they have some wiggle room in the payroll. The minors are not exactly stocked right now, but under Theo Epstein the Sox have become an organization that pays attention to the right things (pitch counts, on base percentage--the Moneyball approach). They will develop the right players, and find guys like Arroyo that less astute teams dump. They have the most passionate fan base in baseball. One of these years, it is all going to come together. I thought it might be this year. Instead, I am just keeping the faith.

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