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Press Row: Ugly Sox burying curse
10/25/2004 11:29 AM ET
Has the Bambino finally relented?

It sure looked that way over the weekend at Fenway Park, where the Red Sox played with hands of stone in the field and stranded enough runners to fill the Boston Marathon.

Despite all the opportunities for their 86-year Curse to present itself against the Cardinals, the Sox head toward the Arch with a sizable -- if not completely comfortable -- 2-0 lead in the World Series.

That has Boston Herald columnist Tony Massarotti believing the Bambino's grasp on the Red Sox really might have died last week in the Bronx:

"So now it's on to St. Louis, where the Red Sox will attempt to do to the Cardinals what the Yankees failed to do to them. The Red Sox came back against New York. The Cardinals could certainly do the same against the Sox.

"But if so, St. Louis will have to find a way to defeat a blessed Red Sox team that is walking on water, directly toward redemption.

"No matter how hard they try, it now seems like they just can't lose."

Whoa, there. Not so fast, says Boston Globe columnist Bob Ryan.

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The Red Sox and their fans have 86 reasons not to be overconfident in this Series, but Ryan threw out a few more numbers worthy of worry:

"In the midst of your giddiness at this two-up World Series state, I hope you've noticed that your diamond darlings are living on the edge.

"I submit two disturbing numbers: 8 and 21. They represent the number of errors and men left on base, respectively, for the Red Sox during Games 1 and 2 of the World Series. Here's another: 60. That's how many outs the Red Sox have had to get in order to put away Games 1 and 2 in this Series. Their eight errors have created six additional outs for the Cardinals to play with. Their shame is that they haven't done more to capitalize on Boston's largesse.

"It should not come as a major news bulletin to report that the Red Sox simply cannot continue to live this way.

"Or can they?"

That seems to be a good question, because, after decades of frustration, the Sox seem to have been blessed with good fortune the past week.

How else does one explain the story of Curt Schilling and the Suture Heard 'Round the World? It was a story that became even more interesting Sunday, when Schilling woke up at 7 a.m. in so much pain, he was unable to walk around his house.

The Globe's Jackie MacMullen says Schilling's ability to pitch -- and pitch well -- Sunday night overshadowed even his infamous Game 6 performance in the ALCS:

"(Schilling) has been (the Sox') most prolific, charismatic, and demonstrative player in this postseason, an almost mythical figure as he clawed his way through an ankle injury that will require surgery whenever this mystical, magical run is over.

"The diagnosis was made long ago: a dislocated tendon that the Sox' medical staff sutured together for the critical ALCS Game 6 against the Yankees. When Schilling took the mound that night in Yankee Stadium a million years ago (seems that way, doesn't it?), nobody could have imagined a grittier, gutsier, or more inspiring performance.

"Compared to last night, that was nothing.

"What Schilling submitted on a gray, cold, unforgiving night of baseball was truly unfathomable. He went from being unable to walk from his kitchen to his car to shutting down a Cardinals lineup that includes Jim Edmonds, Scott Rolen, and Larry Walker. He went from feeling more helpless than he's ever felt in his career to literally seizing this game and taking it over."

The Cardinals are the ones who look really helpless. They have had every opportunity to take advantage of Boston's bumbling, stumbling defense, yet they head back home in an 0-2 hole, writes Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

"For the Cardinals, it was a distressing two nights at Fenway Park. I don't believe in this junk about 'The Curse of the Bambino,' which has basically become a clever marketing tool. But for the sake of cooperation, I'll play along. And if indeed there is a curse, the Red Sox certainly reversed their fortunes by burning the Yankee pinstripes at the stake in the AL Championship Series. Because prime curse material -- the blown leads by Boston pitchers and clumsy fielders -- just don't seem to matter anymore.

"In the olden days, if the Red Sox mugged the baseball at the rate of four errors per game, merciless rivals would have made the Bostonians pay by jacking homers over the Green Monster, or scoring by repeatedly slapping seeing-eye singles through fielders' legs.

"And now? The Red Sox could be playing defense with oven mitts and lobster-pot tongs, and the Cardinals couldn't capitalize.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.