I wish I could be the bigger man about this whole Red Sox thing. But readers, it is not that easy.
The same spirit that gave New Englanders the nerve to dump tea into Boston Harbor, the same gumption that made our northern friends put up their dukes at Lexington and Concord has given way to a bunch of pouty, embittered, annoying Red Sox fans who can’t accept the gospel truth that is their perpetual failure on the diamond.
The Sox did not get off to a great start. The team was first called the Boston Somersets. Doesn’t really strike fear in my heart. Well, apparently, the locals weren’t happy with the name either, and the owner renamed them . the Pilgrims. I don’t care if it’s 1906, 1606 or 2006, Pilgrims are never cool. Please, New England, I implore you, let the Colonial Williamsburg references die. Everyone knows that New England was the birthplace of America; we don’t need a guy in a tri-corner hat on Drew Bledsoe’s helmet to remind us.
Alas, from the Pilgrims, the Red Sox were spawned and were affectionately called the `Red Stockings,’ by the locals. OK, it was 1907; we can let that one slide. However, this appellation is still in sharp contrast to the New York Highlanders, the Yankees’ previous team’s name. Has anyone out there seen the movie Highlander? That was a bad-ass movie and a fitting name for the Bad Boys of the Bronx.
Truth be told, the Highlanders were pretty bad. But the Highlanders did not grumble about being a third rate team. They would tell anyone who would listen they were gonna win it all one day. They did not complain about bad breaks. They just played ball. The team got so good that the Giants kicked them out of Polo Grounds and forced them to build a stadium in the wasteland known as the Bronx. Let’s flip to the sports section of the Boston daily:
NEWS ABOUT TOWNE: BASEBALL TRADES – Red Stockings owner Harry Frazee trades G.H. Babe Ruth to New York for cash saying he needs Ruth’s salary to finance a musical with singing, dancing and prancing the likes of which Boston may never forget.
You bet your baseballs Boston never forgot. G.H. Ruth was the Babe, and the Babe brought championships to his Yankees. New York would never be the same; the house he built still stands as a home to Champions. By the way, No, No Nanette – the ill-fated musical – did not do so hot.
In 2000 the Yankees and their cousins the Metropolitans are doing their part to ensure New York’s supremacy in the sport, as they did in 1986 with the help of fate, a slow rolling single and a Boston first-baseman named Bill through the legs Buckner.
Don’t blame Bill for his poor fielding. He was a pawn in a game waged by the baseball gods. It would have happened to Ted Williams had he been standing there. Besides, all of Boston was counting on losing this World Series.
That’s right, I said it. Losing. New England could not possibly survive a championship team. With the Big Dig, a bunch of drunk Sox fans would fall into the half-open tunnel swallowing downtown. More immediately though, that grim you can’t get there from here New England attitude wouldn’t work if suddenly all those crotchety old folks could gloat about being the best in baseball. Boston has enough self-worth to live without a World Series title. Please spare us.
You will do your grumpiest to try to come out on top when Opening Day rolls around. But not this year, Boston. Not this year.
This article appeared in the October 16, 2000 issue of the Hatchet.