The Bambino strikes again

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Oct 082002
 
Authors: Jason Graziadei

All must be well in the world: It’s October and the Red Sox have broken my heart again. That’s right, it’s time for my obligatory end-of-the-season Red Sox sob story, and this year was a real tearjerker.

About this time one year ago, yours truly, the Collegian’s resident New Englander, gave CSU a healthy dose of Red Sox Nation’s despair. And I’m at it again. This isn’t easy for me, and I’m sure it’s just as hard on you. Just deal with it.

So where do I begin? The 40-17 start was nice. Oh yeah, it was great fun to be eight games up on the Yankees, smirking in glee while New Yorkers muttered, ‘Wait ’til October.’ Cautious optimism filled the hearts of Sox fans everywhere. Even I, one of the most pessimistic Sox fans you’ll find, was caught up in the hype.

One headfirst slide into home plate later, and Manny Ramirez was out for a month with a broken finger. The air came rushing out of our balloon faster than CSU students leaving Hughes in the third quarter.

It didn’t matter that Pedro was having a gem of a season. It didn’t matter that Derek Lowe was the American League’s best pitcher; only one season removed from his appearance on Sox fans’ dartboards. The ship was sinking, and this Titanic didn’t have enough life jackets either.

But unlike the demise of past seasons, there wasn’t a complete and utter collapse within the span of a week or two. This year’s debacle wasn’t realized until the final week of the season, when the Sox teased us by winning five games in a row, barely keeping themselves alive to the end of September. Indeed, this year’s team handed the fans a slow, grueling death that was harder to accept than any other.

To win 93 games, yet still come away empty handed may be the cruelest experience I have had as a sports fan. That’s like making it to Disney World and not riding Space Mountain. That’s the equivalent of hiking Mt. Everest and turning away 100 yards from the summit. In a word: devastating.

In four words: Wait ’till next year. Oh yes, that old, dreaded phrase I’ve uttered season after season. Another New England winter is sure to be filled with the angst of 84 years of shortcomings.

What’s that you hear on the wind? Could be the low chuckle of the Babe, laughing at the cruel success of the curse he set upon the Sox so many years ago. The Curse of the Bambino is alive and well, and there is no force as tangible in all of sports.

Did I mention the Yankees suck?

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