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NL Roundup 10.29.04

Why I rooted against the Red Sox

A grown man lay on the beer-strewn ground of a crowded pub, his friends knelt beside him, patting the man on his back or simply resting a consoling hand on his shoulder. As the throngs jockeyed for position to overflow onto the streets, he remained in the same place. The man's body convulsed violently with each progressive gasp for air, as he valiantly, but unsuccessfully, attempted to hold back tears.

This was the scene in Boston after Keith Foulke underhanded the ball to Doug Mientkiewicz for the 27th and final out of the deciding game of the World Series.

For the first time in 86 years, Boston had a reason to celebrate the end of October other than Halloween.

However, while those in Boston have waited patiently to celebrate, as I watched the World Series, I found myself silently rooting for the other team in red; the one with a bird for a mascot, not a piece of clothing. Rooting for Boston was certainly the fashionable thing to do. After all, everyone likes to root for the tortured when the torturers finally receive their comeuppance.

It was just about a month ago that every team I felt even the slightest affection toward was eliminated from playoff contention. First the Cubs were swept to the side of the playoff picture, and then the Athletics followed just a few minutes later. By the next day, the Giants too were relegated to the role of playoff observer.

Only Boston remained.

And because I felt something between mild disapprobation and utter hatred for the other septet of teams, it was clear where my loyalties laid. However, after the Red Sox came back to tie their series with the Yankees after losing the first three games, my sentiments violently shifted.

I found myself rooting for the team that I normally possessed unadulterated disdain for. It was unquestionably right that the Curse had to continue. And what better way to perpetuate the curse than to almost complete the greatest turnaround in American sports, only to lose it in heartbreaking fashion to the one that has tormented you for nearly nine decades.

By now though, everyone knows the story. The Red Sox won game seven against the Yankees and then rolled over St. Louis in uneventful fashion. In the process, they became only the fourth team in Major League history to win the World Series without trailing for a single moment of any game.

However, whatever affection I had for the Red Sox, and especially their loyal fan base, has dissipated now that they've shed their lovably losing ways. Young Bostonians won't require the same dedication to cheer on the Red Sox, because they've won. New Boston fans will be no different than fans of any other winning team. They won't have endured the pain of rooting for a guaranteed loser that is necessary to build character in sports fans.

Come next spring, the Red Sox will no longer the team that we all knew.

They'll be the team that expends $100,000,000 without a second thought who won the World Series last year. To me that doesn't sound all that different than a description of a nearby team: the Yankees.

Plus, the Red Sox have unconscionably abandoned their partners in misery, leaving the Cubbies to sit alone as the paragon of baseball ineptitude.

Cross one more team off the list of clubs to root for. The Red Sox are no longer a friend of mine.

Special commendation this week goes to Nomar Garciaparra. Need more be said?

As always, comments are welcome and can be sent to [email protected].