Column: A win over New York was sweet but there is still a long way to go

When a lone Yankee fan sporting an Alex Rodriguez jersey slumped through the H Street crowd Wednesday night, I smiled.

“Now he knows how it feels,” I chuckled to myself as this newly masochistic New Yorker paced back and forth, audibly questioning the collective sexuality of the crowd. The transplanted Bostonians paid no attention to the bruised ego of their detractor. They screamed, jumped up and down, gave each other hugs and began anti-Yankees chants. (Face it boys and girls, the Yankees don’t suck. Except this year. Zing! I’ve waited years to use that one).

But compared to the rest of the nearly 1,000 people swarming the center of campus to celebrate the Red Sox first World Series berth since 1986, I remained relatively subdued. After all, this is the same person who counted Boston out when the Yankees took a 3-0 series lead.

Wednesday was content, happy, but most of all drained. For the past few weeks, my sleeping habits have gotten worse, my schoolwork has suffered and I’ve neglected non-baseball duties in my life. And due to my obvious diligence and allegiance, the Red Sox finally toppled the fascist Yankee regime. At least that’s what I told myself – and my friends, editors and professors, who watched my quick transformation into a nervous bumbling wreck.

Even after captain caveman popped a grand slam and a two-run homer into right field in game seven, I was not completely satisfied. When Terry Francona simultaneously brought the Bronx crowd and Pedro Martinez into game seven, I started to sweat. To his credit, the pitcher, who controls his manager like Dick Cheney controls George W. Bush – shut the Bombers down after giving up two runs. Then, the Sox added a few more runs and the bullpen did the rest.

I admit, when they actually won, I was just a tad bit satisfied. But I kept my emotions in check for one simple reason: the Red Sox have not officially achieved anything yet.

If Red Sox Nation wants hostile Yankee Stadium crowds to stop chanting “1918!” then the Sox (gasp) have to actually win the World Series. Beating the Yankees was a pretty tasty appetizer, but I want a full meal.

The Cardinals, however, will not be easy to shut down. They were the best team in baseball this season in arguably the game’s toughest division. And remember, the Red Sox are still the Red Sox. Nothing is ever easy.

This is not to say the Bo Sox need to change anything right now. Throughout the postseason, they’ve hit in clutch spots and pitched their bloody ankles off. There is no reason to think this World Series will be much different. If they’re down, maybe they’ll get back up. But not by luck, or destiny, or any notion of divine intervention.

Stop saying catch phrases like “Why not us?” and stop talking about breaking the curse, because it doesn’t exist. Emotional ploys are unnecessary. A Jason Varitek mitt to the face won’t do much for us now.

So be cynical if you must. But remember, Bostonians have it pretty good right now. The Patriots are on track to win their third Super Bowl in four years, Steinbrenner and the Yankees are gone and seething, the Red Sox are playing for a championship and native son John Kerry will ascend to the White House in a few months.

Well, we’ll see about that last one.

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