Tuesday, October 21, 2008

SARASOTA, Fla. -- During my stay at my parents' home here I watched the Red Sox lose their chance to repeat in the World Series. After game six, TBS broadcast the faces and body language of crestfallen and tearful Tampa Bay Rays fans. They looked like their team had lost the series, that there was no tomorow, no last chance.

Given their last chance the next night, Tampa Bay beat the Sox, which didn't surprise me at all. I was surprised that the Red Sox had managed to push the series out to seven games -- the Sox had fared so poorly against the Rays in the regular season.

After game seven I was neither crestfallen nor tearful. I had been expecting the Red Sox to lose for a long time.

Teams rarely repeat. History is against them.

As I went to bed I just couldn't feel bad about the defeat. After all, I knew perfectly well that I had not been defeated. For the most part I felt serene, unexpectantly satisfied, only a little empty.

Two days later, The Sarasota Herald-Tribune ran this a Boston Globe editorial:

``[W]e New Englanders can afford to be magnanimous. We have our memories of
October glory, and they are fresh; they are not shrouded in the mists of time that separate living generations from folks who were around in 1918, before Babe Ruth absconded to the Bronx... With only the tiniest tremor of regret, Sox fans may now salute the youth and brio of the Tampa Bay team.''

That was what I felt. A tiny tremor of regret.
But the day before the paper reprinted from the Globe, the Herald-Tribune, as its lead story on the Rays' triumph, ran this from columnist Doug Fernandes. It read in part:`
Ding dong, the witch is dead.
It was destroyed Sunday night, reduced to the harmless title of ex-world champions by a team that didn't choke, didn't gag, didn't clutch.
No Heimlich required. Just a one-way ticket back to Boston for the dethroned Red Sox.''
No magnaminity there. Fernandes make it sound as though the Sox and the Rays had developed a bitter ages-old rivalry. The Herald-Tribune could have used an editorial cooling period, which could only doubtfully be afforded by the tight deadline Fernandes was working under.
Either that, or, before the series, the paper should have instituted an editorial policy mandating temperance.

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