- The Washington Times - Friday, August 24, 2001

What sort of baseball season would it be without the Red Sox fussin', feudin' and futilely chasing the Yankees?Who knows? There haven't been all that many.
Being a baseball fan in Boston might be even worse than having no team in Washington or rooting for Peter Angelos' underachievers in Baltimore. This will be the 83rd consecutive season the Red Sox have managed not to win a World Series. Meanwhile, the Yankees are chasing title No. 27.
Members of the so-called Red Sox Nation a consortium of people who love losers have not exactly reacted in sportsmanlike manner to this inequity. A Boston band named Bender probably spoke for thousands when it recently introduced a ditty called "Yankees Suck," which I'm sure will become a standard.
Before the Red Sox's late game in Anaheim last night, they trailed the Red Sox trailed the Yankees by 4? games in the American League East, not an insurmountable deficit with 37 left but definitelyone when you consider the history of both clubs.
When it comes to performing down the stretch, the Yankees sparkle. The Red Sox … well, Bender has the right idea. The teams will meet seven times between Aug. 31 and Sept. 7, and I wouldn't put my money on the guys from the Fens.
Even the approach of September spooks the Sawx and their fans. A state lawmaker with nothing better to do is addressing the "Curse of the Bambino," the Red Sox's trade of Babe Ruth to the Yankees in 1920 that permanently altered the fates of both clubs according to those who cherish the supernatural.
State Rep. Angelo Scaccia is sponsoring a resolution in the legislature to "officially" recognize Ruth's retirement, whatever that means. He is planning a ballpark ceremony next month at which Ruth's 84-year-old daughter, Julia Ruth Stevens, will "accept" the resolution. Co-planner Harvey Robbins told the Boston Herald: "Nothing will bring us a championship other than honoring Babe Ruth. We've got to lift the curse."
Forget it, Harv, baby by Sept. 8, it may not matter. In fact, the Red Sox may not even get the AL wild card, which seemed a cinch a while back. As of now, they're they're 2? games behind the A's, who surely deserve some consolation prize for being in the same division with the rampaging Mariners.
The Boston front office added its own contribution to the lunacy list last week by firing Jimy Williams, who became the seventh manager canned while his team was having a winning season. Williams presumably was dropkicked because (a) he couldn't spell his first name and (b) general manager Dan Duquette and many players couldn't stand him.
(As a historical footnote, we should note that Williams' firing came on Aug. 16, the 53rd anniversary of Babe Ruth's death. Hey, maybe there's a divine plan behind all this; after all, the first four numbers hanging at Fenway Park in honor of retired Red Sox greats Ted Williams, Joe Cronin, Bobby Doerr and Carl Yastrzemski 9, 4, 1, 8 also denote the date on which the Red Sox won their most recent World Series. Hmmm … )
To replace Jimy Williams (nobody could replace Ted Williams), the Red Sox anointed pitching coach Joe Kerrigan, whose previous major league managerial record was a snappy 0-0. Maybe they thought he was a descendant of Bill Carrigan, the tough catcher who skippered the Sox to World Series titles in '15 and '16.
Most new managers get at least a few days' honeymoon before being criticized, but not Kerrigan. After the new boss won his first game, relief pitcher Derek Lowe was asked why he hadn't been used as closer, as he was under Williams. Pointing toward Kerrigan, Lowe snapped, "Go ask that - - what's going on." In other words, life with the Red Sox was still a war zone.
If all that isn't weird enough for you, how about this: On Sunday, veteran reliever Hipolito Pichardo showed up at the airport for a trip to the West Coast, plunked down his suitcase and informed manager Kerrigan that he was retiring on the spot. Hip gave no reason, but one factor might have been that he lost that day's game to the Orioles a couple of hours earlier. I suppose that could be enough to make anybody hang them up. Or maybe he just freaked at the thought of spending September with the Sox.
Considering these assorted aspects, it's obvious that the Red Sox aren't going to be playing in October, even with star shortstop Nomar Garciaparra banging away again after missing four months with a wrist injury. Even with DH Manny Ramirez hitting .310 and on pace to drive in 146 runs. Not even with ace Pedro Martinez due to return this weekend. The Red Sox simply have too many journeymen in the ranks to throw much of a scare into the Yankees, or any other significant opponent.
Then, too, there's the biggest batch of negative history in the history of sports. Remember Enos Slaughter? Remember Bucky Dent? Remember Bill Buckner? Worst of all, remember George Herman Ruth? If you're a Red Sox fan, you do and you weep bitter, bitter tears.


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