It's Not Just about Baseball - It's about Attitude

By Douglas S. Looney, Senior sports columnist of The Christian Science Monitor | The Christian Science Monitor, October 15, 1999 | Go to article overview

It's Not Just about Baseball - It's about Attitude


Douglas S. Looney, Senior sports columnist of The Christian Science Monitor, The Christian Science Monitor


There are people who think the current battles to determine the American League and National League champs - the prize being they get to compete in the World Series - are about baseball. Poor dears.

Of course it's not about baseball. It's about attitudes which, above all else, will determine the victors, since each club has plenty of talent to win. What's delicious about the four teams still playing is that each brings a decidedly different attitude to the fray. An attitude check of the participants:

The Boston Red Sox vs. the New York Yankees

*Boston is us. The Red Sox try like the dickens, but things always seem to go wrong. All of us understand. We look in the mirror and we see the Sox. That's why we love them.

In fairness, Boston once had an excellent World Series run, winning all five times it participated. Unfortunately, that was between 1903 and 1918. Since then, the Sox are 0-4-Ever. Since 1946, they have lost twice to St. Louis, once (1975) to Cincinnati, and once (1986) to the Mets.

The attitude problem for the BoSox is they are wary and tentative. Any team would be that was winning World Series until it traded its star to the Yankees for $100,000 cash. His name was Babe Ruth.

The legions who love Boston try to pretend the past doesn't matter and it certainly isn't prologue. They're wrong, but it's kind of cute they think that.

There's lots more infamy in Boston.

In 1978, Boston blew a 14-game lead over the Yankees, then battled back to force a one-game playoff for the American League title. That was when Bucky Dent, armed with a pop-gun swing, blooped a homer and the Yankees won. Bucky Dent. Then, in 1986, the Sox were on the cusp of beating the Mets for the Series crown. That was when first baseman Bill Buckner let an easy ground roll between his legs. The Mets won the series. In an interview last year with the Las Vegas Sun, Buckner shrugged: "Baseball's not a predictable sport."

The Sox are left to hope furiously that they can escape some debacle. They fear it's lurking but they know neither the form it will take nor direction of its approach.

*The Yankees have retired the trophy on supercilious smugness. …

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