Boston Red Sox

I think the Sox are going to win tonight…Hate to say it.

I hate to admit it, but I think that the Boston Red Sox are the team on which the smart money should be wagered for a World Series Winner.

Certainly, it’s disappointing to admit that they will be ones celebrating with champagne and beer, perhaps in the clubhouse of a National League ball club, but after all, it’s just baseball, right?

The Curse of the Bambino was lifted in 2004 and perhaps second to only the Chicago Cubs nearly century-long hex, the Yankees could be suffering the misfortunes of an owner who seemed to forget to reward some of his front office staff with their finger jewelry after the club vanquished my favorite team, the New York Mets, in 2000.

Yes, the Curse of the Rings could be true. I believe that their was if not a curse, some bad vibe that Sox fans brought on their team throughout the better part of the last 100 years, due to their persistent negativity, perhaps. Who knows. Or maybe it was just how the cookie crumbled each time that way, when the Sox blew a huge divisional lead in 1978, long before the days of the Divisional Series, Bob Stanley threw gasoline on their seemingly inevitable defeat of the New York Mets in 1986, or when Roger Clemens ran his mouth in the 1990 ALCS or Aaron Boone sent a ball sailing half way to the stars under a Bronx sky in 2003 (perhaps the most exciting game I’ve ever seen).

I just think now that the Yankees torch dimming. Like the Atlanta Braves who failed not only failed win their division last year, but also didn’t make it to the post season, it could be the Yankees who will be for years wanting for a divisional title.

Baseball is a strange game. From where they stand now, the Yankees are seven games out of first place and more than two behind Seattle for the wild card. Certainly if they are to overtake the Red Sox they’d better make it quick because with the first day of September closing in, time is running out.

I not only have to hold my nose and predict the Sox will win the division, but I have to believe that they are the most likely of all teams to win the World Series. They have great pitching with Beckett, Schilling and Matsusaka and a bullpen that is ridiculous (Eric Gagne could be its weakest link). If I was an honest bettor and had to put my team from Flushing up against the Sox, logic would tell me Boston would have the advantage. Last season, a much similar squad trounced the Mets in three straight at Fenway (Bastards! How dare they beat the team I like!)

If I have to take some good out of the Sox winning it all it’s that some good players and a solid manager will get their rings. Certainly, if there was one Red Sox that I didn’t want to see be trounced by Boone it was Tim Wakefield.

I hate to say it, but if I had to put my money on a team, it would be the Sox. It would be nice though if my Mets could meet them in the series and beat them in seven games on the Fenway greens! I guess you gotta believe, but first the Mets have to get there!

I know what they say, if you’re a New York Mets fan you’re supposed to loathe and despise the New York Yankees. It’s expected that if the crosstown Bronx Bombers are playing out in Los Angeles against the Angels, you root, root, root your ass off so that they suffer some type of on-field meltdown or catastrophe: Jason Giambi getting a golden sombrero, Derek Jeter jamming his shoulder sliding into third, A-Rod being emotionally too fragile to drive in the man from third, Mariano Rivera blowing a four-run lead with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. All these things can be kind of amusing when one is surrounded by obnoxiously over confident Yankees fans, but if it helps out the Boston Red Sox I want no part of it.

I’m going to say in the blogosphere what I’ve been saying to my insipid Yankee-hating, Red Sox fan roommate about his beloved boys from Boston: I will never, never, never root for the Sox over the Bombers so long as I live. That’s a promise.

All grudges are based on something personal, and I will be the first to admit that my hatred of the Boston Red Sox may have some personal foundations. For a while before I moved to Brooklyn (I live in Albany now), I was a college student in Boston and had to endure the constant whining, crying, self-important insistence that by virtue of the fact that the Red Sox hadn’t won the World Series since before radio broadcasts existed I was somehow an ass for not routing for them.

Going to Emerson College for two semesters, a school known for it’s not so manly guys, I was was familiar with the fact that many guys who move to the city to go to school adopt the Sox as their favorite team. They do it for several reasons: A) Their fathers never threw the ball around with them as a kid and it was their first time to really connect to a sports franchise, B) Being in the “Hub” they believe that they must root for the team that is most associated with Boston and C) That by routing for the Red Sox they are pulling for a team that is somehow more genuine, real, and less corrupted than the other profit-driven teams in Major League Baseball, particularly the “Evil Empire” in the Bronx, the New York Yankees.

Certainly, I will never admit to being a New York Yankees fan. For four years I dated a girl who lived on the Grand Concourse in the Bronx and we would have to agree to disagree about which team was more likable in New York. But never during our relationship and subsequent friendship have she and I differed over who we would support should the Yankees make the trip up the Mass Pike to Beantown or the Sox head down the Taconic Parkway to play one another. We were always on the same page: Go Yanks!!!

It disturbs me a bit when I hear fellow Mets fans say that they were happy when the Yankees imploded in the 2004 American League Championship Series against the Sox. Having watched every pitch of the 2003 series in my Bay Ridge apartment and nearly every pitch of the 2004 rematch, I’ll admit that I had a little too much invested in the Sox losing, but I must say that liking the Mets in no way should require one to root against the Yankees arch nemesis on Yawkey Way.

So where does this impervious and peculiar bedfellowship with the Yankees come from, particularly when in recent years the crop of Yankees players with their arrogance and cowardice (Giambi, Kevin Brown, Gary Sheffield, Tom Gordon, Carl Pavano) have driven me nuts with a mixture of anger and glee? It comes not from a hatred of Red Sox players or fans, for to take sports that seriously is a little bit frightening. Rather, my dislike of the Boston Red Sox comes from an attitude imbued by Fenway fanatics that theirs is somehow a benevolent team cast unfairly against a heartless, soulless divisional foe that is resembles more of a comic book crime syndicate than a professional sports franchise.

The attitude that New England’s favorite sports team was worthy of a World Championship in a sport that embodies the spirit of capitalism and competition as well as baseball without earning it really bothered me. That spirit was conversely what caused the the Sox to win the Series to fairly and squarely beat the Yankees in the 2004 ALCS. Still, doesn’t mean I should ever have rooted for them. And so I didn’t. I never will. Ever. Did I say that already.

I think that a lot of the bitterness that exists from Red Sox towards the Yankees fans has less to do with baseball than it has to do with an alienation over the fact that New York City is a far bigger and influential town than the city of 500,000 on the banks of the Charles River. I’ll never forget being told over and over again by New Englanders at Emerson that New York City sucked, that New Yorkers were rude and arrogant and entitled, just like I’ll never forget during the 2000 World Series against the Yankees walking on Massachusetts Avenue wearing my Mets cap and being approached by guy with a Sox shirt who stopped me to say, “Fuck New York”, before walking away into the bittahness of his life.