Red Sox roll through baseball's best to finally finish off Babe's curse

October 28, 2004|By PETER SCHMUCK

ST. LOUIS - So what's next? Cats lying down with dogs? The Eagles winning an NFC championship game?

The Boston Red Sox are champions of the world for the first time in 86 years, and they won in such dynamic fashion that there is little doubt that they have totally, unquestionably reversed the Curse of the Bambino.

Eight straight victories against the New York Yankees and St. Louis Cardinals.

Eight straight against two teams that combined to win 206 games during the regular season.

They pulled off the greatest comeback in the history of baseball's postseason play to defeat the Yankees in the American League Championship Series and then turned the winningest team in baseball into a docile fellow traveler in their historic ride to the top of the baseball world. The Cardinals didn't know what hit them.

This self-proclaimed group of idiots succeeded where Ted Williams and Carl Yastrzemski and nearly a century's worth of other Red Sox stars could not, and they did it in a way that will keep Boston warm all winter.

"They outplayed us in every category," said Cardinals manager Tony La Russa, "so it ended up not being a terrific competition, but give them credit and congratulate them."

The Cardinals won 105 games during the regular season, creating the expectation that they would give a much better account of themselves against the wild-card representative from the American League.

Of course, we really shouldn't be surprised that it didn't turn out that way. If you know the history of each of the competing cities, it should be obvious that the Red Sox had the advantage all along.

Boston has always been a tougher town. It's the place where a bunch of guys with sticks and rocks tried to take on the British army and touched off the Revolutionary War. It's the place where academics dressed like Native Americans turned Boston Harbor into the world's biggest pitcher of iced tea.

It's the place where Matt Damon overcame his initial shyness to pick up Minnie Driver in that Harvard pub in Good Will Hunting.

We're talking tough, tough town.

St. Louis?

Well, you might think it's a hardscrabble place because of the role it played in the great migration of the 19th century, when millions of settlers passed through town on the way to open the West.

Those people definitely were tough, but they didn't stay in St. Louis. They boarded ferries and crossed the Mississippi River and got on covered wagons and headed into Indian country.

So, you have to wonder about the ones who stayed ... the ones who looked across the great river and said, "Ooh, it looks dangerous over there. Maybe we'll just stay here and open a Spaghetti Factory when they renovate LaClede's Landing in the 1970s. Someday, we'll even have riverboat casinos."

Fortunately, Curt Schilling will not be required to pitch again this year. He'll likely undergo ankle surgery during the offseason and begin his new life as a mythic Boston sports hero.

No truth to the rumor that the mystery of his blood-stained sock will be explored in an upcoming episode of CSI: Boston.

Now, it's really going to be hard to pry Derek Lowe out of Boston. The Orioles are known to be interested in signing him as a free agent, but they were hoping to get him below market value because of his struggles during the regular season.

Instead, there is going to be tremendous pressure on the Red Sox to keep him, even though the team is known to be reluctant to commit to an expensive multi-year deal after his up-and-down performance this year.

Congratulations to manager Terry Francona, who interviewed for the Orioles' managerial opening last winter before he was hired to manage the Red Sox.

Personally, I'm glad he got the other job. I don't think I could take Sidney Ponson in dreadlocks.

Contact Peter Schmuck at peter.schmuck@baltsun.com.

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