October 30th, 2007

The worm turns: NY mourns

I watched all four games of the World Series, and it was somewhat of a bore even to me. Winning in four may be satisfying for the team, but the almost total lack of suspense doesn’t make for great baseball theater. To the best of my recollection, at no point were the Rockies even in the lead.

In 2004, when the Red Sox won the Series for the first time in eighty-six years, even though that win occurred in a four-game blowout as well, there was the built-in suspense of thinking the team would choke as in olden days. The only real question was in what new and creative manner they would manage to do so. So it was an astounding surprise, almost umimaginable, when they won at last.

But this time that spell had evaporated, and winning seemed a foregone conclusion.

There’s something about being an underdog that lends a special intensity to rooting for a team. I wonder if I’d ever have become a member of Red Sox nation if they hadn’t had that long history of memorable, heartbreaking losses. I doubt it. I never liked the Yankees, even when I was growing up in New York and should have been a natural fan, for the opposite reason: they were always the favorites. Boring.

Yankee fans have grown used to being top dog, and it rankles them in particular that Boston is on top, as a reporter who went to the Big Apple dressed in Red Sox gear discovered:

From the relentless glitz of Times Square to the lonely grit of Yankee Stadium, drivers leaned on their horns, pedestrians tossed the occasional elbow, and a man passing out pamphlets in the Garment District for a men’s clothing store sale withdrew the sheet of paper when he saw what the reporter was wearing. The venom cut across race, gender, and socioeconomic lines.

It used to be that it was Boston fans who were the angry ones. After all, they had a lot to be angry about. The fabled rivalry between the two teams was long and bitter, and most of the hardship was on the Boston side. Yankee fans looked on Boston as rivals almost unworthy of the name, so why make a fuss?

Now they understand, only too well. At least, they may think they understand. But they’ve got a long way to go before they have anything like the soul-searing experience of those eight-plus decades for Sox fans.

However, there’s a consolation. New Yorkers may not be riding high in sports, but they probably will experience what I believe would be the first double New Yorker (if you count Hillary as a true New Yorker) Presidential race in history. It’s a win-win situation.

5 Responses to “The worm turns: NY mourns”

  1. Cappy Says:

    Man, the press bias against conservatives is nothing compared to that against small market baseball. This coming from Cleveland.

    Let’s just get it done with, I told my brother in law, a rabid Cubs fan. Cancel the Series and pay the Cubs to play the Yankees or Red Sox or White Sox or all three and call it the World Series. No discomforting reporters in flyover country. He’ll pay to see it an pay plenty and knows it too!

    Or just offshore all the dinktown teams overseas.

    Get ‘em off the tube, I say, to make more room for College Football.

  2. Barb Says:

    I don’t count Hillary as a “true” American, much a “true” New Yorker.

  3. Karl the Krud Says:

    What truly pleased me most about this World Series win for the Red Sox is that it made certain the team would avoid another 80 year drought. I’ve been a Bosox fan long enough (several decades) to still be jonesing for big wins, even after two titles in three years. It’s a thirst that can’t yet be quenched.

  4. Tim P Says:

    There’s something about being an underdog that lends a special intensity to rooting for a team.

    Heard that, loud and clear. Try being an Indians fan. They demolished the Yankees and led Boston 3-1 in the ALCS. I was sitting midway between third base & home for game 4 where they made it a 3-1 series. The stadium was going crazy! The whole town was ecstatic! Imagine the crushing disappointment watching Boston snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
    Try being a Browns fan. To this day I still hate Elway for ‘the drive.’ While I don’t fault Ernest Byner for his last 5 seconds of the game fumble while crossing the Denver goal line for the game winning touchdown a year later, I can’t forget it either.
    Boston never did have a monopoly on blowing the big one. Cleveland wrote the book. (But they’re still my teams)

  5. Justin Kardel Says:

    “It used to be that it was Boston fans who were the angry ones.”

    They still are. I’m an A’s fan, and when the Sox come to Oakland, they bring with them the angriest, most impolite, vitriolic, drunk and combative fan base in baseball. You never see so many fights break out at the ballpark as when the Red Sox are in town. They may do a good job supporting their team, but they are the worst fans in baseball in my opinion.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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