True Red Sox fans know the pain and hardship of loss. Historically, their team doesn’t simply lose, they invent new
and creative ways of doing so. A recent HBO documentary likened Red Sox rooting to “looking into the sun.” Another fan said that rooting for Boston is “like watching the Wizard of Oz and Dorothy dies at the end.”
For years, Sox fans have maintained that their beloved team is cursed by the ghost of Babe Ruth who placed a hex on his former club for selling him to the Yankees. Since 1918 the Red Sox have been unable to capture the World Series title, blowing leads with only one out to go in some cases.
Now I’m not one for admitting a belief in such voodoo, but there does seem to be some truth to this. Some fans are celebrating the death of Babe Ruth’s curse on their beloved Red Sox today after Boston defeated their nemesis the Yankees in a wild, improbable and historic comeback after being down 3 games to nothing in the American League Championship. But true Red Sox fans know that this could be just be a mirage and that until the Red Sox have a World Series ring on their finger, their American League pennant is meaningless. After all, the Babe’s curse is about winning the World Series and not simply beating the Yankees.
And the Sox have bungled the World Series more times than their fans would care to remember. So while beating the Yankees may feel like the redemption of Easter Sunday, it’s really only Holy Saturday, where we keep a vigil, waiting for the resurrection. The power of evil and death (aka, The Yankees) has been defeated but the stone hasn’t been rolled away from the tomb yet. Four more wins please.
So I offer to Red Sox fans some guidance that
keep the testy Bambino’s spirit slumbering. Ten simple principles–commandments if you insist–for how to conduct themselves during the world series. They are:
They are the Red Sox…your team…do not root for another. If your kid’s PeeWee football team is called the Giants don’t even think about uttering the phrase “Let’s Go Giants.” Yes, your child may be emotionally traumatized by your inability to offer vocal support, but be firm, short-term psychological damage to your kid can’t compare to the long-term effects of THE CURSE.
2) Thou shalt not take the name of Babe Ruth in vain. Boston pitcher Pedro Martinez learned this the hard way when he said “Wake up the Babe and maybe I’ll drill him in the ass.” The result: the Yankees drilled the Sox in the 2003 playoffs. Zip it!
3) Remember to keep holy your lucky cap. I forgot
to wear my Red Sox cap during the first three games of the Yankee series. The cap was glued to my head for the last four Red Sox wins. Believe in the power of the cap.
4) Honor your seats at Fenway, even if they are standing room. Sneaking in from the cheap seats is simply bad karma. Don’t test those waters now.
5) Thou shalt not kill the umpire. His colleagues are not going to give you any good calls if you murder a member of their crew…also bad karma.
6) Thou shalt not
commit television adultery. Take your vow of team monogamy seriously. No channel surfing during the ballgame. The West Wing will eventually get re-run. The Sox need your full attention now.
7) Thou shalt not encourage stealing in the late innings when down by more than 3 runs.
8) Thou shalt not bear false
witness against an opponent. When you’re not playing the Yankees, shouting “Yankees suck” (as Red Sox fans often do) is pretty stupid. Besides no major league baseball player really sucks at baseball. The guy who got clocked in the nose by a line drive in gym class deserves that honor, not a major leaguer.
9) Thou shalt not covet thy opponent’s wife. I don’t care how pretty Astros Second Baseman Jeff Kent’s wife is. She is the enemy. Do not make reference to her obvious beauty.
10) Thou shalt not covet thy opponent’s success. Success happens because a team unites toward a common goal. So stop with the jealousy and just scream your head off for your team.
If you find yourself driven to disobey any of these commandments, seek healing from Paulist Father John Ardis, the pastor at Boston’s Paulist Center. It’s just a short ride to Park Street on the green line.
Hopefully adherence to these simple commandments will finally put that nasty ghost of Babe’s to rest.
I didn’t just call the Babe nasty, did I? Bless me Father…