The Curse Is Eclipsed!
Once more, superstition and astrology intersect with the world of baseball. Was it just a coincidence that the Red Sox triumph on Wednesday night took place during a lunar eclipse? Within the span of one full lunar cycle, two unthinkable historic passages in the baseball world have transpired: first, official confirmation of the relocation of the Montreal Expos to Washington ("when the moons and the suns and the stars and the dollars are aligned correctly," as Bob DuPuy said), and now, the Red Sox have become World Champions, and have done so in spectacularly decisive fashion. Both miracles followed decades of maddening frustration suffered by fans in their respective cities, and in both cases a central part of the story was rising above old demons, either internal or external. (Just in time for Halloween!) Just as Washingtonians were momentarily stunned by news that they were about to become a real baseball city once again, Bostonians are temporarily dazed by the new reality of being on top of the proverbial heap, now freed of their past crippling self-doubt and bitter grudges. It was a Cinderella story that only a total grouch could fail to appreciate, though a World Series without pinstripes still seems a little empty to spoiled Yankee fans like me. Four years without a world title?
Johnny Damon's first-inning homer was all the Red Sox needed in Game Four, putting the Cardinals in an effective psychological "pin" position from which they could not escape. Pitching performances by Schilling, Martinez, Lowe, and Foulke far surpassed expectations; apparently not many experts gave the Red Sox as much credit for pitching before the postseason as I did. Many have remarked that Boston not only set a record for consecutive postseason wins, they also sustained a perfect inning-by-inning lead in runs. Another odd facet of this World Series was that both teams' scores in each successive game declined in steady fashion. And what are we to make of the enormous ironies involving the actual or possible trades of Manny Ramirez, Alex Rodriguez, and Nomar Garciaparra this year?
I was amused to find out that Boston's pitching hero Curt Schilling endorsed Bush at the end of his brief appearance on ABC's Good Morning America on Thursday. After Charles Gibson offered congratulations to him and the Red Sox, he replied: "And make sure you tell everybody to vote, and vote Bush next week." (via www.georgewbush.com)
In Washington, the city council held a marathon public hearing on the baseball stadium issue, and more than 300 folks showed up. The opposition seems split between total rejectionists and those who would like to get a better bargain, so Mayor Williams' plan is likely to be approved. (See Washington Post.) There is a remote possibility, however, that all this is part of a negotiating ploy aimed at setting up a more reasonable deal, mobilizing public sentiment in D.C. to demonstrate than the city government can't bend any further and will have to get more private money to fund the construction. In other words, give the extortionary deal demanded by Peter Angelos a fair shot, and then force him to settle for something less. I wonder if the terms Angelos is getting include an upper cap on D.C.-Baltimore revenue sharing, in case the Washington team earns a higher profit than expected?