Saturday, May 15, 2004

Why Care About The Red Sox?

You know, every year all we hear is about the "Curse Of The Bambino" and how sad the history of the Red Sox is.  HBO even had a documentary about their "long suffering fans". 

To be frank, to hell with the Red Sox.  For a team that hasn't won anything in 86 years...they sure do get a lot of TV pub.  I mean, you can't watch Baseball Tonight without a Pete Gammons take about Pedro and the Bunch.  And they get almost as many games as the Yankees on national TV.

But why should I, a non-Red Sox fan, give a damn about that? 

What about the Chicago White Sox?  Those Pale Hose have won TWO World Series in their history [Boston has won 5] with their last title the year BEFORE the Red Sox last title.  So, they've suffered a year longer.  And those White Sox have been in ONE World Series since 1919.....the year they THREW the World Series to the Reds.  No one talks about that curse.  Their last World Series appearance was back in 1959.  That means a 44 year old man has never seen the ChiSox in the World Series.  Granted, you don't see memorable ChiSox hearbreaks like Bucky, Buckner and Boone....but they did have Disco Night.

Oh, and we know about the Cubs.  They haven't won a World Series since 1908.  They haven't even BEEN to the WS since 1945.  But, ask Steve Bartman if those fans are bitter.  This team, though, hasn't had consecutive winning seasons since the early 70s.

What about some teams you don't normally think about when it comes to heartbreak and misery?

How about the Atlanta Braves?  Unlike the Red Sox, these Braves have won 13 straight division titles.  THIRTEEN straight playoff appearances.....and 1 World Series title to show for it.  In fact, THREE times have they seen the team that finished behind them get to the Series ahead of them [Marlins '97 and '03, Mets '00].  Hell, the Florida Marlins....who played their first game in franchise history the season the Braves won their 3rd straight division title....have won TWO World Series rings.  Then, they watch the Arizona Diamondbacks in their 4th season win a title. 

How about the Cleveland Indians?  They haven't won a World Series since 1948, and since then were the punchline of theMLB.  And, you want about blowing a 9th inning lead in GAME 7 OF THE WORLD SERIES!!!!!!  That happened in 1997. 

How about the Philadelphia Phillies?  In 120 years of Phillie baseball...they have one World Series ring.  One.  And, just like the Red Sox, they blew a Game 6 that they had won.  RememberJoe Carter? 

How about the Houston Astros?  They've been around since 1962 and have never won a playoff series.  Ever.  Oh, and neither has the Texas Rangers...and they became a franchise in 1961.  So, 74 seasons of Texas baseball and they have ZERO playoff series wins.  In fact, the Astros have lost 19 of their 25 playoff games.  The Rangers have lost 9 of 10 playoff games in franchise history.  A robust 7-28.

What about the Milwaukee Brewers?  They've had 12 straight losing seasons.

What about the San Francisco Giants?  They've had Barry Bonds and Willie Mays.  And the Giants haven't won a title since moving to the West Coast.  Pssst....they also had the heartbreak of relinquishing a lead late in the WS winning game.

What about the Montreal Expos?  They've only had Randy Johnson, Larry Walker, Pedro Martinez, Vlad Guerrero, Gary Carter, Andres Galaragga and Andre Dawson.  And the season they held the best record in the majors, the strike ended the season.

So while the media believes the Red Sox to be the "loser darlings" every year....find a little space in your heart for some of the other teams who have had travesty filled moments in their histories.



steve921161 said...

The Braves won 12 straight division titles and had 12 playoff appearances, not 13, but it still doesn't take much away from your point.  Montreal was ahead of Atlanta in the standings in the 1994 strike, and Atlanta was ahead in the wild card race that year.  Not only have the Braves been knocked off 11 out of 12 times in the playoffs, but Atlanta has lost to 10 different franchises in those 12 postseasons, with the Yankees being the only team that knocked them off twice.  Those franchises were the Twins in 91, Blue Jays in 92, Phillies in 93, Yankees in 96, Marlins in 97, Padres in 98, Yankees again in 99, Cardinals in 00, Diamondbacks in 01, Giants in 02, and Cubs in 03.  Atlanta lost four out of five World Series, and some people started calling them the Buffalo Bills of baseball after they lost the 1996 World Series.  The only team Atlanta beat in the World Series is the Cleveland Indians, who are supposed to be a cursed team (the Cubs and Red Sox aren't the only teams with curses).

steve921161 said...

The Angels had their own curse before finally winning it all in 2002.  Their stadium was built on top of an Indian burial site (The Los Angeles Rams never won playing there either).  The Angels never won a playoff series until 2002 (42 years).  Anaheim lost 6 game in a row that would have won a playoff series for them.  In 1982 the Angels were up 2 games to 0 in a best of 5 ALCS, and lost 3 in a row.  In 1986, the Angels were up 3 games to 1 in a best of 7 ALCS (it went from a best of 5 to a best of 7 series in 1985), and a 5-2 lead in the 9th inning and 2 outs.  They had their best pitcher on the mound.  2 2-run hrs later, they were down 6-5 and lost in extra innings.  The Angels played horribly in the next two games, and were blown out when gold glove fielders Dick Schofield Devon White made errors to lose game 7.  In 1995 the Angels blew a 13.5 game division lead they had in late July.  At one point in September they were playing so badly that they lost at least 12 out of 13 games.  In 1998 Anaheim was in first place most of the season, but choked at the end.  They were in the division race most of the way in 1997, but fell apart at the end.

steve921161 said...

The Angels had a bus crash in 1992 that left them without their manager for a good part of the season.  The Angels had about 2 or 3 players die in the 1970s.  The Angels had Donnie Moore, their closer who blew the 1986 ALCS, kill himself in 1989, and he also shot his wife several times.  After the chokes of 1986 and 1995, the Angels fell to last place the following season.  In 1999, Mo Vaugh fell into a dugout and was injured for 14 games.  He never was the same player in Anaheim that he had been in Boston.  Before that season, shortstop Gary Disarcina walked into a player swinging a bat.  Disarcina was hit by the bat and was forced to miss close to all of the season.  He was never the same after that.  Chuck Finley once developed back spasms from sleeping on his remote controller.  Injuries just killed many of their pennant races in the 1990s, and if they didn’t kill a pennant race, it was because the Angels had a bad team.  The 1993, 95, 97, 98, and 99 seasons were destroyed by injuries, and I'm not talking about just a handful of them.  It was one injury after another with the exception of 1995, which just had injuries to key players on the team like Gary Disarcina (the leader on the team and an all-star that year; the team started losing after his injury, and won 5 in a row after he came back), and Chili Davis.  Jim Abbott had a 2-18 record with a 7.48 era in the 1996 season with the Angels.  In 1991, Anaheim had the best record for a last place team with an 81-81 record.  In the 1979 ALCS, the Angels had a lead around the 7th inning of one of the games, but blew it and lost.  I have a lot to say here because the Angels are my favorite team.

teenagetimebomb said...

The Red Sox and Cubs fans are visible, dedicated, and lovable. Also, the Red Sox and Cubs have had many, many good teams with which they should have won WS. The Cubs are notable because these good teams simply couldn't win in the PS, but the Sox do win before suffering a heartbreaking loss. The ChiSox have to share the market with more dedicated Cubs fans. You make arguments for all these teams, but you only cite one or two late losses of leads or whatever. The Red Sox have had it happen again, and again, and again. As for teams that have lost players.....that has also happened to the BoSox many, many times. Not just the Babe, but Clemens and many others. The Expos were victims of bad upper management and lack of money, which often drives away fans. (And I should know, I'm a FORMER Royals fan).
But you are right.....even as a BoSox fan, I can see that the Sox get way too much attention. Yeah, we lose...but so does every other team.

and1515 said...

There is no material to fabricate a curse from with the Chicago White Sox.  There also has not been any huge upsets and dramatic twists of fate with their team either.  That is why they get no publicity.  It could also be because they aren't really contending for anything, as you seem to have left that out.  


and1515 said...

If you're so sick of the RED SOX and CUBS curses than stop trying to form more curses!!!!

kingofspades86 said...

What about Yankee's fans. Its been years since we had a World Series win. At least we're not BOSOX fans.

vpaterno said...

A lot of it has to do with demographics. Red Sox and Cubs fans tend to be more upscale, while White Sox fans are blue-collar and thus not as visible to the national media. (Consider all those years that both Northwestern and Kansas State stunk in football. Northwestern got all the ink because it was an elite private school, while K-State was ignored because it was a state university. And don't give me that crap that "real students" go to Northwestern, Vanderbilt and their ilk -- they attend, and play sports at, public colleges too.)

But I get sick of the Red Sox too...especially since I live in the New York area, swarming with Bosox fans (particularly in Manhattan) and am a Phillies fan. Terribly unfashionable. On the whole, I find Red Sox fans to be as insufferable as their Yankee counterparts.

patriotssbchmp02 said...

I'm a Red Sox fan, but I am well aware at how well the Sox have it compared to most other clubs.  At least the Red Sox compete every year, which is more than most teams can say.  Chicago, with 2 teams, has a longer drought than Boston.  I think the White Sox may be cursed due to the whole Black Sox scandal.  Ever since then, they haven't won a world series.  Maybe they need to put Shoeless Joe in the Hall of Fame to lift the curse.  I think the reason the Cubs and Red Sox get a lot of publicity is because they both play in historical ballparks and get sellouts every game.  Can the White Sox, Expos, Giants, Indians, Astros, Rangers, Brewers say the same?  I think not!  Besides, how can one watch the ALCS and NLCS last season and not be convinced of a curse?

jawalt2 said...

almost all of the temas mentioned are terrible year in and year out. The Braves are the lone exception but until just recently they have played in a weak division. The Red Sox play in baseball's toughest division, and are cursed by George Steinbrenner's deep pockets as well as the Curse of the Bambino.

pork00000 said...

None of these teams are cursed with anything more than stupidity and a few choke artists. Sell Babe Ruth thats a smart move, can't catch a slow rolling ground ball(choke choke), blow a 10 plus game lead to the yankees the last month of the season(i smell choke) leave Pedro in (that's an intellagent move). Finally don't you think that if God wanted to curse a team it would be the White Sox for ruining the purity of the game by throwing a World Series. Just a thought.

steve921161 said...

Even though I went on a while about the Angels former curse (which almost seems alive today since they've had 5 out their 8 starters injured already this season, and one of their best relievers is out), and other teams like Boston and Chicago have even worse histories, I don't believe in curses.  There are such things as losers, chokers, and bad luck, and some of these teams have more of the three than other teams.  It also doesn't help when you have a team like the Yankees win so many titles, since it reduces the number of championships that other teams will win.  For example, which team keeps stopping the Red Sox attemps to win titles?  Which team beat the Cubs in the 1932 World Series?  The Yankees.

vpaterno said...

If you really want "cursed" in baseball, go to Washington. At least fans in Boston and both sides of Chicago get to see baseball -- an opportunity D.C. hasn't had since 1971 (although that injustice appears to be close to rectifying next year in the form of the Montreal Expos).

digger88h said...

The problem, indeed, is the the White Sox fan base.  It isn't large enough!  The Cubs are the team of Chicago, they are the object of the city's affection.  When you think Chicago baseball, you think about Kerry and Wood and Sosa and Bartman, you don't think Frank Thomas or Albert Belle or Joe Jackson.  The Red Sox and Cubs have storied histories, the White Sox have an infamous history.

crglen1010 said...

I live on the West Coast and have followed the Whitesox the last few years. And
find them a very interesting organization.  A few of the questions that come to mind is, who's really running things on the field?  From spring training to now the
new manager, Mr. Guillen, seems more interested in signing autographs then making decisions during a ballgame.  He was a terrific player.  As a manager he
seems to be anywhere but in the dugout of a baseball game.  Does he have any
idea of when to change pitchers, get someone up in the bullpen, and some of his
pinch-hitting decisions  have been atrocious.  Are the other coaches really running things?  Because this manager is no Tony Pena!!!(ok I know KC is struggling).
But this Whitesox team can score runs.  If the pitching could just hold up.  This
ballclub could be a major contender!  I think Ken and Darren could broadcast and
call the shots from the booth as good as these so-called-experts in the dugout.

burtsaxon said...

I liked this journal.  The White Sox had the best team in baseball the year the strike cancelled the rest of the season.  That is as jinxed as you can get.  Burt

wyaneblue said...

and what about the seattle marniers,hell,they have never won a world series
and never will,the japanense are paying back mariners fan for the boming
of herroshema

garydonjr said...

The simple fact of the matter is it's not talked about nationally about being cursed is noone cares about the white soxs outside chicago. even then, only only half of chicago cares, if that. Sorry.

singhscor said...

white sox will never win a world series ever. They will always behind the twins just like boston is always behind new york.

mccarricksteven said...

The white sox and cubs have always sucked the red sox have put out some of the best teams in baseball over the years and the ultimate looser team still finds away to lose. Red sox fans, about the so called curse. The red sox had babe ruth first and had him last. Thats right 1935 his last season he went back to boston. So stick the curse and face the facts there loosers.

jthcalifon said...

The assassin is right. There are a lot of teams out there that make a habit of losing the big ones, and Chicago has one hell of a record for not making it to the World Series, much worse than the Red Sox. Mccarricksteven had better get his own facts right. Babe Ruth did start his career with the Red Sox, but finished it in 1935 with the Boston BRAVES (the only franchise to appear in the World Series playing in three different cities), not the Red Sox.

One more thought: Go Yanks!!!!!

oafling said...

Thank you for a GREAT journal and commentary SPORTZ ASSASSIN!  I am SO bloody sick of the "long-suffering" Red Sox and Cubs fans bleating about their romantic "curses".  Red Sox fans, for the most part, are effete snobs and Cubs fans are front runners (many in that part of the Midwest are White Sox fans when the Sox are contenders and then jump on the bandwagon when the Cubs look to actually do something in the post-season, saying they've always been fan of the "Cubbies").  
As a die-hard Indians fan who moved to Indianapolis a year ago it's hard to put up with the mercurial, "who's good to root for this season", allegiance of local baseball fans.  Indy's not at ALL a baseball town, overall.

PS.  Does anyone posting here know how to spell?

and1515 said...

The Cubs and Red Sox have loyal fans who will sell out every game.  Don't you people give me this I'm a long suffering Indians fan crap when they have no fans left.  The Cubs and Red Sox have MORE long suffering fans than these teams that haven't won,and oither teams go unoticed.

rafischer1 said...

Having been a White Sox fan for well over 40 years, dating from when the Sox were arguably the second best team in the major leagues (annually finishing right behind the Yankees in the pristine world of pre-playoff baseball) I see SPORTZ ASSASSIN'S point and feel the pain.  Living in Chicago where the Cub marketing machine has crafted an unbelievable (and unsubstantiated given actual performance on a year over year basis) image for a team that couldn't give away Wrigley Field tickets in the early 60's makes it doubly hard.  Maybe we should look deeper and see if there is a Bill Veeck curse that needs to be exorcised.  At least Bill had more to do with baseball than some stupid goat!

neki321 said...

The reason to care about the Red Sox is that it's something to care about.  Unlike other teams who have won the championship, we are still waiting for the one to come and therefore we deeply care about this team.  
Haven't you noticed that teams with more championships start loosing their fan base?  People expect them to win so they are not that much interested in the daily going ons of the team any more.

monponsett said...


Red Sox thing, heard. Far too much attention. I do think you are missing the point on why the attention is given to them, though- demographics and pathos.

The Red Sox are not the only game in town, or the state....they are the only team in the REGION. all of New England. MA is densely populated, too. Boston isn't like Dallas- you can't be in the center of the city as you light a cigarette, and drive to some Wyatt Earp-looking scene before it's done. 14th largest US city,6th largest media market.

What's more...all these people get tired of winter. They move South. You end up with Red Sox fans in Montana, Oklahoma, Florida and Alabama. These are people Rick Pitino once calls "The Fellowship of the Miserable", and they are as large a marketing block as gays or Baptists.

This leads into Pathos. Everybody has experienced some sort of Abject Failure. The Cubs haven't won since 1871, and the White Sox fixed it in 1919(they did WIN, at least in a point spread sense), but they are just regular losers. The Red Sox lose with panache.

Children make that Buckner play 99 out of 100 times. Monkeys would grab that ground ball, out of instinct. Had that field been properly fertilized, the growth of the grass should have stopped that grounder. Having a pitcher serve up a meatball to Kirk Gibson is one thing- but with Buckner, yikes.

This goes beyond performance, and actually delves into Mysticism, Karma, Conspiracy Theory, and Crime. People see the Buckner, and suddenly things like Predestination don't seem so far-fetched. If a Hall of Famer can muff a ground ball, then maybe the Swiss did kill Kennedy.

We're Seabiscuit breaking his leg coming down the stretch in the Kentucky Derby. We're a space shuttle crash landing on an orphanage. The gods are at work. People are afraid NOT to believe in the Curse. Look at what happened to Eve.