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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 forward momentum.

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.

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