No More Bambino = No More Bush?
Strange Sports Coincidences Continue
October 29, 2004
By Bob Calhoun
Has it really just happened? Have the Red Sox just shattered the
Curse of the Bambino and won their first World Series since 1918
when Babe Ruth was still on the team?
The world has officially titled on its axis and reality as we once
knew it is gone for good. Now anything, like all of those young
people with cellphones showing up to the polls next week to throw
the election to John Kerry, is possible.
In January, I wrote an odd little piece for Democratic Underground
called "The Strange Super Bowl
Iowa Caucus Coincidence." It was about Kerry and Edwards pulling
upset first- and second-place finishes in the Iowa Caucuses only
days after their respective hometown football teams, The New England
Patriots and the Carolina Panthers, made it into the Super Bowl.
In that strange sports story, I offered the following piece of
political prophesizing: "if New England wins the Super Bowl, and
Kerry wins his party's nomination, and then the beloved Bos Sox
break the curse of the Bambino and win the World Series, then George
Bush and his gazillion dollar war chest are going down."
The Pats won their Super Bowl and Kerry took his party's nomination
after being completely counted out only a couple of weeks before
that first caucus. John Kerry was far from a sure thing when I wrote
"The Strange Super Bowl Iowa Caucus Coincidence." Dean was still
expected to take New Hampshire and Clark and Edwards were predicted
to win some Southern primaries.
I also had no reason to believe that the Red Sox had even a ghost
of a chance of getting into the playoffs let alone winning the World
Series with pre-season baseball still months away. Predicting such
an apparent impossibility as Boston taking the whole ball of wax
for the first time in 86 years completely cut against the conventional
wisdom, but yesterday's conventional wisdom is now utterly meaningless
in our new reality.
While diving electoral fortunes through sports analogies may seem
utterly silly at best, the close to this year's baseball season
is rife with them.
First, the GOP primary was in New York and the Democratic primary
was held in Boston. To get to the World Series, the Sox had to make
it past the vaunted New York Yankees in the American League Championship
Series. During the RNC, Karl Rove crafted the democratic stronghold
of New York City into a symbol of everlasting fear that Bush/Cheney
would try to capitalize on in their bid for reelection.
The Yankees are the most laissez-faire of all ball clubs with their
gigantic payroll and army of intimidating sluggers. The Bronx Bombers
are clean cut in their pinstripes and they all benefit from the
Bush tax cuts. Although the Sox are only slightly less affluent,
they are scruffy and longhaired and their roster comes from all
over the world and speaks with a variety of accents.
After being down to New York three games to none, Boston swept
the next four games and won the ALCS. No other team has ever come
back from a 3-0 deficit to capture their league's pennant and the
Sox did it against a team that was easily predicted to go all the
way. In their march to the World Series, Boston had already done
what was previously impossible.
The symbolism couldn't have been stronger if Boston went on to
face the Houston Astros in the World Series. You would have Kerry's
team against the crew from W's home state. On top of that, the Astros
play at the ballpark formerly known as Enron Field. Nothing would
have been more ironic than the Boston Red Sox breaking their curse
on the diamond that was once named for Bush's price gouging/market
manipulating/energy industry cronies, but that wasn't to be. St.
Louis beat the Astros in the NLCS so Boston was to face the Cardinals.
The ballpark in St. Louis does deliver a symbology all of its
own however. The Cardinals's home field is called Busch Stadium.
While it isn't spelled the same as our dubious president's name,
it sounds just like it.
Boston played a sloppy series and made more than their fair share
of errors almost mirroring earlier missteps by the Kerry campaign,
but it didn't seem to matter. Unlike their last trip to the World
Series in 1986 when just one such boneheaded play in game seven
cost them championship gold, this year nothing could stop their
These Red Sox had already beaten the odds by beating the Yankees
and they didn't waste any time capping their season by sweeping
the Cards in four games. On Wednesday, the team that poured champagne
and celebrated victory in the middle of the diamond at Busch Stadium
is the one that John Kerry was rooting for, and no Supreme Court
or Diebold voting machines could take it away from them.
The Curse of the Bambino has been broken forever. Hopefully next
Tuesday, the curse of the Bush Administration will also be lifted.
Bob Calhoun is a freelance writer who specializes in strange
sports stories and odd cultural confluences.