That is, of course, history now, just like the curse. I was there when Ortiz saved us in Game 4 of the ALC. I was watching when Derek Lowe pitched masterfully in Game 7 of that same series when the Red Sox were attempting to do something they had never done before: beat a New York team in the postseason. I don't know if the curse broke there. It sure felt like it. Even if the Sox might blow it painfully against the Cardinals in the World Series, we had still beat the Yankees and not just any Yankees team, but the one with A-Rod and Jeter, Matsui and Mussina. The weight of all those years that descends upon our shoulders every October suddenly began to lift then, just a bit, but enough so that you could tell.
Surreal is what I would call the World Series. All through Game 1 and 2, all I could think is we shouldn't be here. I was happy, but I didn't believe a minute of it until the day of Game 4 when it finally hit me. Either the Red Sox were going to win a World Series or they were going to kill off their entire fan base by giving us all heart attacks or aneurysms come November 1st. The thought that it could possibly be that night made my heart palpitate and I realized that the Red Sox were truly poised to take it all.
I don't think I'll forget where I was when it happened, I don't think any of us will forget. I sat in the common room of my dorm, the television flickering about ten feet from me as Edgar Renteria hit a soft ball right to Keith Foulke. My heart seized for an instant, my hands, gripping the sides of my seat so hard the knuckles were white, relaxed and a smile slowly stretched across my face as Foulk made his way towards first base. As he flipped that ball to first basemen Doug Mientkiewicz I felt nothing but euphoria. Complete, pure, overwhelming euphoria. I rose up, gave my buddies heterosexual man hugs and I've kept that goofy grin on face for the past twenty four hours.
It took me about fifteen minutes, as I was on my way to the parties that were spreading like wildfire across campus, before it finally hit me. I looked up at the eclipse and I knew we had won. The Red Sox were world champions; we were world champions. And just saying that made me happier than I think I've ever been before and I still have that feeling every time I watch the replay's on of that final out or the ensuing celebration. There is nothing that the Red Sox can do from now on that will take that feeling or that moment away from me. Absolutely nothing.
Now, a day later, we are left with the aftermath. Boston is still standing, Hell hasn't frozen over (as far as I can tell at least), and the Red Sox have won the World Series. The Curse of the Bambino is dead and God grant it stay that way. I believe the only New Englander actively rooting for the Cardinals was Dan Shaughnessy; he built a career around the Curse and profited enormously from it. Well its over, the Curse is over. I never thought I'd say that, so I'll say it again: The Curse is over, over!
Around the media some are lamenting the end of the Boston tradition, but that's the view of outsiders who enjoyed watching us suffer, watching the Red Sox suffer. Sort of the unattached entertainment that results in watching a lion maul a gazelle on the nature channel. That wasn't us, that wasn't a Red Sox fan. We wanted to be a regular team again, even if that meant giving up all the notoriety and fame. We wanted a quick ending, a celebration to end all celebrations and then normality, normality for the first time in eighty six years. Now we have that. No longer are we the accursed Red Sox, but The Boston Red Sox. An old team from an old town with a lot of history and a lot of tradition. A team with a great sense of pride and a shrine called Fenway. That's what we wanted and now we have it.
A little over a year ago I wrote an article about the American League Championship Series loss to the New York Yankees. I wrote about what that series meant to Boston and the fans. How it was a notch in the belt for all of us in the younger generation, our baptism as Red Sox fans. I finished by saluting the men of the 2003 Boston Red Sox. I tipped my cap to all of them, especially the ones who wouldn't be back again next year. I'll do the same this year, raising my glass in honor of the finest gentlemen ever to grace Fenway Park with their presence: Curt, Pedro, Papi, Manny, Jesus, D-Lowe, Foulke, Timlin and Embree, hell, even Bellhorn! Here's to all the Boston Idiots, from Millar to Milleur. Not only to them, but to all the greats, to Williams and Pesky, Fisk and Yaz. To all the fans who waited and waited, but never got to see the streets of Boston flood with celebrating, who never got to see the ground around Fenway shake and rumble with the chants of the jubilant masses.
God help us all…The Boston Red Sox are World Champions.