Friday, October 29, 2004

No Curse on the Red Sox?

Fred Barnes on the “Myth” of the Curse of the Bambino:

There was no curse. But you'd never know it from following the Red Sox on TV and in the papers. After they had swept the Cardinals in four, ESPN was repeating the alleged
origin of the curse. That, as everyone knows, was the sale of Babe Ruth to the Yankees in 1919 for $100,000 so the Red Sox owner could finance the musical No, No, Nanette on Broadway, which flopped. This is a myth. The play didn't arrive on Broadway until 1925 and it was a spectacular hit.

Why did the Red Sox lose all those years? They faced better teams, that's the reason. The Yankees were the powerhouse in the American League for most of the 20th century. They had more good players than anyone else. Yes, the Red Sox got to the World Series in 1946, 1967, 1975, and 1986, losing all four. The Cardinals in 1946 were at least as good as the Red Sox and the Cardinals with pitcher Bob Gibson in 1967 and the Big Red Machine in 1975 were way better. The Mets in 1986 were luckier.

Anyone who's followed the Red Sox for any length of time is aware of the real problem they had: not a curse, but lack of pitching. The Red Sox could always match any team hitter for hitter. And Fenway Park was conducive to a lineup of right-handed sluggers. If it wasn't Manny Ramirez, it was Jim Rice or Jackie Jensen. But the pitching was never as strong.

So, that explains it. I have watched the Red Sox for years, and they have always had sluggers. The pitching has always been a problem. Theo Epstein should be the Red Sox MVP for bringing in Curt Schilling, Kevin Foulke, and getting rid of Nomar to bring in better fielding. All led to the first Red Sox World Series win in 86 years.

Now Theo just has to keep the team together for next season, which might prove to be the biggest challenge of all.