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Kansas City Blues

Sox Fan Proud!
by Mary Swistara

The Reverse of Cursed!

by Mary Swistara

In recent years, there has been a great deal of discussion in the media about baseball “curses.” Everyone who lives in Chicago—or who knows anyone who is a Cub fan—has heard for years about the “Curse of the Billy Goat.” In 2003, that was supplanted, or more accurately reinforced, by the “Bartman Curse,” in which a hapless Cub fan dared to try to catch a foul ball during the playoffs. Not only did the poor guy not make the catch, he was—or so you would think—single-handedly responsible for the Cubs—who were five outs away from the World Series at the time—folding like a cheap suit. Subsequent efforts to dispel the “Bartman” curse, such as blowing up the ball and making spaghetti sauce out of it, have met with little success so far, other than in some highly touted simulated games.

Then there was the Red Sox’s “Curse of the Bambino,” which came about when Boston traded Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees. Boston fans have used this one for years to excuse their team’s ineptitude. They trumpeted their success in overcoming the curse in 2004 when they won the World Series, but where are they now? Out on the golf course, that’s where. Curses!

Unfortunately, all this “cursing” has caused the media to adopt a kind of “All Curses, All the Time” mentality. And now that the Sox are in the playoffs, they have invented some curses that (supposedly) have plagued our team down through the years, unbeknownst to Sox fans. We keep hearing about “The Curse of the Black Sox” (shudder!). And “The Curse of Shoeless Joe” (gasp!). In fact, the entire ALCS Game 1 intro focused on curses, even showing a black cat wandering around without, apparently, any focus or context, other than it was a black cat, therefore—(everybody shout in unison a la Monty Python)—CURSED!!!

The truth is, Sox fans don’t believe in cursed teams. Sox fans are knowledgeable baseball folk who know that the only true curse is having a team that is—in the words of Ozzie Guillen—“horsebleep.”

However, baseball does have its share of curses. This is an undeniable fact. How else explain the ESPN and Fox broadcasters? Not to mention the local and national print press.

But this year, this season, fans of the Pale Hose have reason to hope. For there is strong evidence that a “reverse curse” is at work.

So just what is the reverse of “cursed”? How about “blessed”?

Consider this. We all know about the “ex-Cub factor.” And how it’s a bad thing. But apparently, there’s an ex-Sox factor as well. And that seems to be a good thing (at least it has been up to now).

This is how it has worked so far. In Game 2 of the ALDS: Tony Graffanino, a former Sox player, lets a routine grounder squirt through his legs. The Sox go on to win the game, and soon, the series.

Interestingly, Graffanino’s full name is Anthony Joseph Graffanino.

In Game 2 of the ALCS: Josh Paul, a former Sox player, neglects to tag out a batter in the bottom of the ninth inning with two out on a pitch that was either in the dirt or close to it. This also is a routine play. The Sox go on to win the game, and soon—well, we’ll have to wait and see about that.

Interestingly, that batter’s full name is Anthony John Pierzynski.

Okay, now let’s suppose that we are reverse-cursed—er, make that blessed—enough to win the AL pennant and move on to the World Series. What happens next is anyone’s guess. But it may be pertinent to note that the current St. Louis Cardinals manager is a former Sox manager, and his full name is Anthony LaRussa, Jr.


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