Page 2 staff

Wednesday, October 27

Eric Neel: It's funny, this is like finally getting a date with the hot girl and figuring out that she's a vapid bore, or getting to meet your favorite athlete and having them barrage you with unbearable stories of their youth ... the anticipation had so much more character to it. Until now, the Red Sox were characters out of a Greek tragedy or Russian novel.

It's not that we begrudge the Sox or their fans, it's just that the rest of us feel a sense of loss. We needed the Red Sox Nation to be what it was, we needed someone to hold down the suffering fort, to absorb a certain amount of heartache and loss. That's not fair, and it will move to some other crew in some other town or sports, but it will never be so perfect as it was here, such a perfect marriage of anguish on the field and off, such an ideal blend of smart fans with elephantine memories and a team that so creatively found ways to turn the screw on them year after year

David Schoenfield: Eric, are you second-guessing the end of the Curse? Did you really want it to live on? What are you, Dan Shaughnessy's agent? Were you going to co-write the script for the DVD of the Red Sox 2004 season highlights -- "Even more of a kick in the groin than 2003!" Did you have licensing rights to the phrase "Threepeat! Sox Choke in 2005 too!" -- to be sold on T-shirts around Yankee Stadium next year. Or, horror of horrors -- are you really a closet Yankee fan and Caple just intimidated you into being quiet all these years?

Eric: Those T-Shirts were sweet, man. We had Matt Groening do the artwork. No, but seriously, I'm not second-guessing the end of it. All good things must pass. I'm just doing what you do when something dies. Mourning.

And seriously, the Sox fans (not the players of course), should mourn it a little, too. Not tonight, or even six weeks from now, but some time, when they realize some crucial element of their identity's been traded in for the ring.

Now the question is, where do we go for some semblance of what Sox Nation has so generously provided us for three generations?

David: Interesting point, Philosopher Eric. Do the Sox become just another franchise? I mean, are they just another Minnesota or Baltimore or Oakland -- a team we will care about only because we hope they can beat the Yankees? Are they now just a bunch of guys who need haircuts instead of a group of likeable Curse-busters? I mean, once the celebration ends (sorry, there will be no mourning from anywhere but St. Louis and certain regions of NYC), do we even care about the 2005 Boston Red Sox?

Eric: We still like them -- great bunch of hitters and personalities -- but the whole Red Sox thing, and I'm including the fan base, the media machine, all of it, is less special, is all I'm saying. The fight now for suffering supremacy shifts to Chicago, doesn't it? And forget the Cubs for a minute. I'm thinking of the White Sox. Haven't won the Series since 1917, haven't reached the World Series since 1959. And unlike their slightly yuppier brethren on the North Side, Sox fans, by and large, are working on the deep, common-folk channels of heartache and want-to. The media story has been the Cubs, and the Cubs are, by a wide margin, Chicago's team, but to me, it's the White Sox Nation who ought to become America's team now.

David: Here's the problem I have with the White Sox: they threw the Series in 1919; they deserve to be cursed, to tell you the truth. As for the Cubs and their fans, I just hope they don't embrace all the whiny, self-loathing, often pathetic mindset of RSN. We can only hope and pray that Jay Mariotti isn't penning a book called "Curse of the Billy Goat." I mean, he already gets enough face time on ESPN. Plus, the Cubs' management doesn't really seem to care about winning anyway; and let's face it, Wrigley Field is more social scene than ballpark filled with die-hard baseball fans. So, really, I vote for the Cleveland Indians as most cursed baseball team ... 1948 and counting ... and, sorry, Cubs fans, losing a World Series in which you lead Game 7 in the bottom of the ninth inning is infinitely more painful than losing Game 6 and blaming a fan ...

Eric: Let me get this: you're blaming the current White Sox and their fans for the Black Sox scandal? Dude, you're hardcore.

David: Hey, don't blame me, curses are hardcore. Just ask the Bambino.

Eric: I'm just saying, the key to these things is the fans, I think. And if it comes to Chicago, I cast my vote with the Southsiders.

And speaking of the Black Sox scandal, any chance the Cards took cash to look this bad four nights in a row?

Previous editions of Second Guessing
Oct. 26: World Series, Game 3

Oct. 24: World Series, Game 2

Oct. 23: World Series, Game 1

Oct. 21: World Series preview

Oct. 20: Damons and Demons

Oct. 19: Curt Schilling's legacy

Oct. 18: ALCS Game 5 as it happened

Oct. 17: First-guessing NLCS Game 5

Oct. 16: Another Scrap Iron stinker

Oct. 14: Another Scrap Iron stinker

Oct. 13: The ALCS & NLCS are already over

Oct. 12: Yankees get the better of the Red Sox

Oct. 11: Phil Garner got away with one

Oct. 10: Phil Garner wears the dunce cap

Oct. 9: Ten things on Twins-Yankees

Oct. 8: Angels decide to go with Jarrod Washburn

Oct. 7: Did Bobby Cox play too much Small Ball?

Oct. 6: Ron Gardenhire leaves in Joe Nathan