On the eve of the 2010 World Series, I re-post below my response to the Boston Red Sox’ long-awaited victory in the 2004 Fall Classic. The Texas Rangers have never won the championship–either in their original incarnation as the Washington Senators, or after their move to Texas. They, too, have overcome the mighty Yankees to get to the final match-up. I’ll be pulling for them to complete the storybook year with a World Series victory. I haven’t checked the lunar calendar.
Once in a Red Moon: Posted on October 28, 2004
Baseball is often a microcosm of larger life. It is usually predictable, but there are no certainties. It consists of much tedium, during which time you have to pay attention to the small details to get ahead. Even the best hitters are out more than 60% of the time. A small number of teams get most of the attention. Some of those who excel give credit to God; many take it for themselves. There’s almost nothing you face in baseball that has not been faced a thousand times before, and if you search hard enough you can determine how it turned out.
For baseball fans, the Boston Red Sox sweep of the St. Louis Cardinals to win the 2004 World Series is a rich story of one of the beloved longtime baseball franchises finally overturning the impossible by accomplishing the impossible. It violates the percentages and predictability of baseball for a team to fail to win the World Series for 86 years. That’s nearly impossible–not to mention wrenching, when you see fly –by-night, Johnny-come-lately teams like the Florida Marlins rise up and snatch the Series on a whim. The Red Sox won by doing what no team had ever done, the impossible, winning four after being down three in a post-season series. Then doing what many had done—sweeping a series. Since there was something surreal about the Red Sox run, it was appropriately played out under the red moon of a full lunar eclipse.
There’s a new identity for the Red Sox, whose fans were faithful but realistic. They knew the Sox would have their run, but lose at the end. When the celebration is over, there will be a crisis of sorts for Boston and its team. What is the endearing new identity for a team that not only plays well, but wins it all in convincing fashion.
They’ll live with it. And we’ll all start rooting for the Cubs.