Gather around the virtual campfire, Faithful Readers, and listen as I regale you with a tale too bizarre to be true and yet too true to be false, too impossible to be possible and yet too impossible to be impossible, too impossible to be anything but the truth–the tale of how I became The Curse of the Boston Red Sox, and how I broke that curse and let them to two World Series victories.
The tale begins in 1978 during my college years. Perhaps perchance, or perhaps per the impish humor of the people who assigned students to dorm rooms, I lived on a peculiar floor with an odd number of students. I was literally the odd man out; exactly half of the other students hailed from the Boston Area. They were all Red Sox fans.
The other half hailed from New York City. They were all Yankees fans.
Oh, yeah. That fall semester got really hairy during baseball games during one of the all-time great pennant races. The Red Sox and the Yankees (possibly North America’s most ferocious professional sports rivalry) finished with identical 99-63 records, forcing a one-game playoff. At the time, Boston fans believed that they suffered from “The Curse of the Bambino,” also called “The Curse of Babe Ruth.” They believed that because Harry Frazee had sold Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees in 1918, the team had become cursed and would never win another World Series.
Now the Red Sox fans and the Yankee fans did not agree on much, but they did agree on one thing–I was absolutely, mind-boggling, totally, hopelessly and incurably insane to pass up on the game and instead visit the library to do my homework. All of my floormates united as one (for once) and they ripped me for not wanting to watch the game. To which I made this fateful reply:
“Why bother? I know how the game will end. The Red Sox will have either a 2-0 or 3-1 lead after six innings, choke, and lose 5-4.”
When I returned from my evening of study, my floormates said two very different things to me.
- Yankees’ Fans: “Vonn! I’m taking YOU to the racetrack!!”
- Red Sox Fans: “Vonn! I’m taking YOU to the racetrack!!”
Well, it sounded different.
And that’s how I replaced the Bambino as The Curse of the Red Sox. For roughly the next quarter-century, everything bad that happened to the Sox happened because of The Curse of the Bair. So you Bostonians can lay off Bill Buckner, please. Not his fault.
But then 2004 and the seventh game of the American League Championship Series came around. Boston had accomplished the impossible. They had forced a Game 7 after falling behind 3-0 in games. But would they choke again? Of course they would choke again. They were the Boston Red Sox. They suffered from The Curse of the Bair. They suffered from me.
But I suffered from guilt. By that time I had come to know a large number of Bostonians (all Red Sox fans, of course)–I had met them via the Internet. I had become their friend. I had come to know of their suffering, their pain, their tears, and through all this, despite all this, I had come to know of their courageous, inspiring, undying hope that some day maybe, just maybe, they would see their Red Sox win the World Series. And of course I had met the ultimate Red Sox fan, an elderly woman I’ll call DF who had never seen her team win the Series.
Do you really think that I could continue to live with this burden, knowing that DF, a grandmother, had never seen her Red Sox win it all?? That a few dozen Bostonians who called me their friend did not know that the Red Sox had not won the World Series because of me? Their friend?? The Curse had become more than a curse on the Sox–it had become an un-Bair-able (sorry) burden for me. Their Curse had become my Curse. I couldn’t take it anymore. So as the game began I logged into a BBS where I knew my Boston friends liked to hang out and confessed everything, all of my sins, and how I had become The Curse of the Red Sox. I begged forgiveness of my Boston friends and told them that I decided to confess to everything I had done to them since 1978 in the hope that I would jinx my own curse, destroy my own curse, and help propel the Red Sox to victory in Game 7 and then in the World Series. I logged off from the Internet, turned off the computer, and turned on the TV during the second inning.
Boston scored 4 runs that inning and won 10-3. My friends forgave me for everything.
And that’s how I became the true MVP of the 2004 ALCS. BTW, I’m still waiting for my ring.
Incidentally, before Game 7 I had predicted that if the Red Sox won, the St. Louis Cardinals also had to win their pennant, because if Boston was going to win the World Series, they should win it versus their historic nemeses from the National League. The Red Sox swept the Cardinals.
Believe it or not, there exists a sequel.
On the night of Game 1 of the 2007 World Series, I was eating a hamburger in a pub on 24th Street near Folsom, as I was going to a short film festival at the Roxie where I had acted in one of the movies. I espied a young gentleman in a Red Sox cap eating about six feet away. After giving him the traditional greeting all San Franciscans give people wearing Red Sox caps (“Hey! You must be a Yankees fan!”), we got to talking about the Series, and I told him the story of how I had once been The Curse of the Red Sox. He looked at me with this “Should I beat him up now or wait until he finishes the story?” expression on his face until I told him about how I had jinxed my own curse and helped Boston win that legendary Game 7. He said, “I hope you still have that curse jinxed.”
After the festival I felt quite surprised to see him in the auditorium. As it happens, he directed one of the other short films. He asked me if I knew the score of Game 1. I checked my “smart” phone (a Palm Treo 300).
“Boston won 13-1.”
“Come on, man, don’t mess with me.”
“See for yourself.”
“You just became my new good luck charm!!”
Boston won in four games.
I’m still waiting for that ring.
Vonn Scott Bair
PS–But what does this mean for 2013? Have I become a Force For Bostonian Good that will win every World Series in which Boston plays? Or have I just jinxed the jinx that broke The Curse, leaving the Red Sox doomed to be 86’d for another 86 years??
PPS–I’m a San Francisco Giants fan; why did I become so important to an American League team, why did I become a Force for Bostonian Good, and so critical to the Red Sox’ success?!