April 14, 2008

Curses, Foiled Again

I have a lot of friends who insist that baseball is boring, and naturally, I'll argue this point vehemently and tirelessly. But I really hope none of those friends were watching last night's Yankees-Red Sox game. These match-ups do manage to live up to the hype a remarkable percentage of the time -- remarkable given the truly staggering nature of that hype -- but not yesterday; that was long, slow, limp, and dispiriting. The fact that Jon Miller and Joe Morgan were our narrators certainly didn't help any. Sometime around the 7th, feeling an increasingly violent urge to start chewing through my own ankle, I muted the game, put on some music, and looked over periodically to make sure the Yankees weren't mounting a dramatic comeback.

They weren't.

Meanwhile, I certainly hope the organization isn't going to press charges against the construction worker who buried a Red Sox shirt in concrete under the new Stadium, hoping to cause a new "curse." The Post broke this vitally important news story a few days ago, and at first the Yankees dismissed it, but when photographic evidence turned up, they spent a few hours jackhammering and dug it up. Seems silly to waste manpower on that, though when you're hundreds of thousands of dollars over budget, I suppose it's just a drop in the bucket.

Yankees president Randy Levine called this a "bad, dastardly act," and I would assume that was tongue-in-cheek... because no sane human could seriously look at the world and then call this little joke "dastardly," right? In fact, no one who isn't a character in a 1930s B-movie would use the word "dastardly," period. But then I saw that COO Lonn Trost claimed "the Yankees were speaking with the Bronx district attorney’s office about whether there was any criminality involved in the act, and that the team was considering filing charges against the construction worker, identified by The Associated Press as Gino Castignoli, a Bronx resident."

Give me a break. It's all in good fun, isn't it? Besides, Mr. Castignoli was misguided, because that's not how curses work. (Not that they actually work at all, or indeed exist, but you know what I mean). There's always an element of perceived offense or justice in a good, long-lasting curse -- the team has to DO something, to somehow tempt karma or fate. The Red Sox traded away Babe Ruth, the best player in history, for cash; the White Sox, until a few years ago, hadn't won since they threw the World Series. Even the Cubs, who have by far the least dignified of these "curses," supposedly brought it on themselves by kicking a fan and his goat out of Wrigley Field. (And why wouldn't they? I like goats fine, but who wants them at a ballpark? As an organization, you can't let people threaten you with curses every time they feel like bringing farm animals to the game. This story is just plain stupid, even by curse standards).

Point is, you can't just go around burying innocuous items and expect to start a curse. As pure fan mischief, though, this was pretty classic; and if the Yankees were to actually pursue charges against this doofus -- who would have absolutely gotten away with his prank, had he just kept quiet -- well, then you might have curse material.

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