Thursday, January 27, 2005

 

Curses

Foiled again?

Now that the famed Boston Red Sox Curse has ended with the Bosox' 2004 World Series victory, is there a new curse for baseball fans and sports journalists to make a huge fuss about?

After winning the 1918 World Series, the Sox suffered 85 seasons without another World Series win. Because this World Series "drought" corresponded with their 1918 post-season sale of one of their star players, Babe Ruth, to the Yankees, it became known as the Curse of the Bambino.

Taking failure to win the World Series as the measure of cursedness, are there any promising curses in the making? Why, yes.

The Curse of Bush. No Texas-based ballclub has even played in, let alone won, the world Series. Ever. The Houston Astros run of futility is now in its 43rd year. (The team began as the Colt 45s in 1962.) The Texas Rangers, relocating from Washington D.C. for the 1972 season, have never won a pennant. Indeed, if you count the Senators unsuccessful run (playing sub .500 ball from every year but one since their first season as an expansion club in 1962), you have a pair of twin 40-year losers. I call this the Curse of Bush because Texas baseball will not capture a World Series title so long as the Bush family continues to stain the public affairs of our nation. Moreover, George "little w" "Blue Tie" Bush, in the course of climbing his career ladder to ever greater failures, managed to bumble away Sammy Sosa while serving as managing general partner of the Texas Rangers.

The Curse of the Senators. Only one sitting Senator has won the presidency this century (Kennedy in 1960), and Washington D.C. has not won a World Series since 1924. To be sure, the original Washington Senators franchise moved to Minnesota and became the Twins in 1961, where they won the Series in 1987 and 1991. But it seems that some curses are city-based, rather than franchise-based. While six years shorter (so far) than the Red Sox curse, the Washington curse is in many ways worse: they have lost two different franchises (again, to Minnesota and Texas), have not even had Major League Baseball for the past 32 years, and are now going to be home to the former Montreal Expos, who established their own neat little 35-year curse without any World Series play.

The Curse of Cleveland. The Cleveland Indians won the Series in 1920 and 1948, and that's it. Not so great for a franchise that has been in the Majors for 100 years. Indeed, of the original 16 franchises in modern baseball, only the Philadelphia Phillies have had less World Series success – one win – and were it not for the fact that the Phillies won the series a mere 24 years ago, they'd be cursed too. Plus, the Indians play in Cleveland.

The Gold Rush Curse. Everyone knows how the Dodgers betrayed their Brooklyn fans by moving to LA after the 1956 season. The Giants fled New York seeking California gold the next year. The franchise won the Series in 1954 while still in New York, but has played in San Francisco for 46 years without winning the Series.

The Curse of the Second City. Is any baseball city more cursed than Chicago? They host not one, but two accursed teams.

The White Sox have not won the World Series since 1917. This could be called the Curse of the Black Sox or Comiskey's Curse, depending on your point of view: in 1919, the Chisox threw the World Series to the inferior Cincinnati club, as several key players had been bribed. By some accounts, they were open to offers of payoffs from gamblers at least in part due to chagrin over owner Charles Comiskey's tight-fistedness. Moreover, the Chisox have made only one World Series appearance (losing to LA in 1959, the 40th anniversary year of the Black Sox scandal).

The Cubs have not won the World Series since 1908, and have not played in the World Series since 1945. Cubs fans are perfectly aware of this history of futility, yet you don't hear them whining about some "curse."

Hey, wait a minute. You've got a couple of ongoing curses that in some ways are nearly as bad as the former Red Sox curse. Then you have the two Chicago teams, whose curses are of longer standing than the Red Sox. Why all the fuss about the Red Sox curse?

Maybe the real curse of the Red Sox is one that has not ended: their fans are a bunch of whiners.


Comments:
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