1918 and all that

The World Series begins tonight, and I’m delighted to see that the fall classic will be graced by the St. Louis Cardinals. St. Louis is a phenomenal baseball town, and the Cards have been my favorite National League team since the days of Stan Musial, Ken Boyer, Bill White, Bob Gibson, etc. Their victory over the Houston Astros also means that we won’t have to listen to portentous talk about a match-up of the “home towns” of Bush and Kerry.
As for the Red Sox, the only good things I can say about their appearance are (1) it means the Yankees aren’t playing and (2) if they win, we won’t have to put up with any more complaints about how “long-suffering” Boston fans feel. Long-suffering compared to whom? A Red Sox fan born in 1949 has seen his (or her) team play in three World Series and has enjoyed three and a half consecutive decades of exciting, mostly winning baseball. His counter-part from Washington D.C. (me, for example) has seen his team move twice, one season of winning baseball, and no baseball for 33 years. A comparable Chicago Cubs fan has never seen his team in the World Series and has endured mostly losing baseball for decades. A Chicago White Sox fan will have seen his team in one Series, if he was lucky enough to have become a fan by 1959. A Houston Astros fan has never had his team in a Series. A San Francisco Giants fan has seen his team (like Boston) play in three Series without success. A Cleveland Indians fan endured decades of futility broken only by some success in the 1990s, during which the club lost the only two Series it’s appeared in since 1948.
Yet somehow the Red Sox fans managed to obtain a near monopoly on the “woe is me” lament. To me, this represents the triumph of “hub-of-the- universe” arrogance coupled with the philosophy victimization.
Speaking of which, John Kerry often points longingly to America’s status on September 12, 2001 when, as victims, we had the sympathy of most of the world. Who says that Kerry isn’t a hard core Red Sox fan?

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