A couple days ago, presidential hopeful John Kerry accused archrival Howard Dean of an unpardonable sin. Was the former Vermont governor a little too cozy with the French? Had he lighted a blunt and forgotten not to inhale? No, Kerry accused Dean of doing something far worse: rooting for the Yankees.
Dean, a native of New York, of course denied any connection to the Bronx Bombers. After all, who would want to root for the Microsoft of the American League? They’re big, they’re rich and most of the developed world hates them. Indeed, the anti-Bush agitator, showing remarkable taste (or, alternatively, fearing for his skin while campaigning in New Hampshire—Red Sox territory), insisted that he was a Sox fan and that he always supported the “under-dog.”
But after this year’s World Series, the Red Sox will be under-dogs no more. This year will mark the end of the curse; the Bambino, who has haunted Boston since the Sox traded him to the Yankees in 1920, will no longer haunt Fenway Park. This year, the Sox will go all the way.
The Red Sox outstripped the Yankees in almost every category during the regular season. In their first post-season series, they faced a two-game deficit and smacked down their Bay-area competitors on California turf to win the decisive fifth game. Then, in the first game of the American League Championship Series, they clobbered three home runs past the Yankees’ impotent attempt at defense, issuing a painful body slam to inflated Yankee egos everywhere. The Yankees did manage to fight back last night at home, in their palatial Bronx nest. But, with troopers such as Johnny Damon, who will continue to play despite taking a devastating blow to the head while running after a fly ball in Oakland, and Nomar Garciaparra, who still got the out after Damon and Damian Jackson hit the ground, the Sox will undoubtedly destroy their long-time foes, those brats from the Bronx.
Besides, even the most arrogant of Yankees has to admit that Boston fans are the best in professional baseball. They pack Fenway Park for nearly every home game and enliven the stadium with heavy drinking and waves that circle the park at least dozen times a game. Years of deserving to win but having victory snatched away again and again have united the city behind its home team. When the Yankees win, their fans can sit back, their innumerable insecurities temporarily squelched by the sheer athletic power their millions of dollars can muster. But when the Sox win, Boston fans run jubilantly in the streets—a Boston World Series victory would be more than just another ticker-tape parade, it would be another Tea Party. Plain and simply, Boston victories have soul. Even usually cynical Harvard undergraduates have put their books down, donned the ever-more ubiquitous Sox hats and gathered in dining halls and common rooms to watch the Red Sox decimate their opponents. And in a true sign of Boston pride, they have taken the after-parties proudly to the streets.
But we really do feel sorry for the hapless Yankees. They’re nothing but money and hype, and while money can buy 26 World Championships—it cannot buy heart. And heart will be the deciding factor this year, as the Sox show the Yankees what it means to play baseball and what it means to Cowboy Up.