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One remarkable aspect of the fact that the Boston Red Sox are now the champions of baseball...and it's still such fun to say that, isn't it? champions of baseball, as in world series champions...champions of baseball...is that numbers of the current cast of self-anointed idiotic characters - as well as their keepers and attendants — have acknowledged the past.
For at least several decades, players from Carl Yastrzemski to Bill Buckner to Nomar Garciaparra and managers from Don Zimmer to John McNamara and Grady Little have denied — sometimes quietly, sometimes stridently — that history has been a burden to the Red Sox as they've tried against fate and better teams to do what this team did.
The writers never believed what the managers and players said. If they had, they'd have stopped writing about curses and ghosts and other such matters. The fans never believed the denials, either, or they wouldn't have spent so much hard time bemoaning the fate of their hag-ridden club and taking so personally the simple fact of loss.
Now, triumphant, lots of the members of the current hairy crew — this team so thoroughly uncursed that it could kick the ball around the infield and the outfield to the tune of eight errors in two games while the whole world watched and shrug the misadventure off as inconsequential rather than fated, fateful, and fatal — this apparently genuinely happy band of mercenaries temporarily held together by a common purpose fleeting as one summer's good work — these guys could smile through their own exhaustion and say, "it's for pesky, and for Yastrzemski, for Buckner, Torrez, Stanley, all those guys."
By so saying, the players and their manager and their general manager were asserting against the indisputable logic of the counting house the fragile possibility that the victory of a baseball team could mean something more than numbers of wins and numbers of dollars. It could mean a freeing of the imagination for new, unencumbered flight into previously impossible realms within the context of this game we cherish so...and maybe even beyond it...
Go Sox, we said. And go they did, somehow, past the Yankees. And they got there, and if believing helped, which they are gracious enough to contend it did, then we got there, too. And so it's our turn, too, and ain't it grand?
This program aired on October 29, 2004. The audio for this program is not available.
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