Legends of the Fall: Tales from a Beleaguered Sox Fan

In a mercy-killing that would have made Jack Kevorkian proud, the Oakland A's finally pulled the plug on the Boston Red Sox' season last night, beating the Anaheim Angels 9-7 to maintain their lead in the AL wild card race. The win officially kills Boston's playoff hopes, which had been languishing on life support for the past week.

With the Sox eliminated, we last holdouts among the citizenry of Red Sox Nation can at last be at peace with our misery.

But as the throngs of Sox loyalists line up along the guardrails of the Tobin Bridge to take the ultimate plunge, one cannot help but think that it should not have come down to this. Common sense and historical wisdom should have prevented Sox fans from once again playing the role of fool in this perennial tragic drama.


For far too long, we loyal, baseball-loving denizens of the Hub have foolishly suspended our disbelief, ignored our better senses, and laid out our ever-wishful souls, all for the sake of our bumbling Olde Towne Team. This year, more than any other, we showed up in droves to support our team, making thin our wallets as we set a Red Sox franchise record for season attendance. More fans passed through the turnstiles of Fenway Park in 2000 than in any previous season; the last 57 home games of the year were all sellouts.

What was the reward for such undying commitment and unwavering support? Nothing more than another year of maddening mediocrity: by season's end this Sunday, the Sox could very possibly find themselves no higher than third place in the AL East and fourth in the wild card.

One could say we fans should have known better. History has proven

nothing if not that the Red Sox were never meant to prevail on baseball's grandest stage. Even our most admired hero and thought-to-be savior, ace Pedro Martinez, admitted as much when, following the Sox' devastating 2-1 loss to the Indians last Wednesday, he acknowledged, "We were not meant to win that game."

In defense of us fans, though, our passions were not stirred without cause. Who among us was not enthralled by the events of last season, when the Beantowne Nine captured the wild card (not to mention the hearts and minds of all native New Englanders) and advanced all the way to the league championship series? Surely there was enough reason for optimism this season that even the editors of Sports Illustrated made the most brazen of predictions, picking the Red Sox to win the 2000 World Series.

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