Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Curse of the Bambino Lives: Big Papi Cheated!

On the HBO special The Curse of the Bambino, Boston Red Sox fan Shaun Kelly speaks of how he walked out of his house in Newton, Massachusetts, just outside Boston, after The Buckner Game, unable to do anything except walk around. He saw 2 old ladies, and they looked at his cap, and said, "We only wanted to win it just once in our lifetime… "

Then he saw an old man walking his dog. Kelly was expecting a similar response: "Just once… " Instead, what the old man said, in a "Bahstin" accent, was, "Son, this is the dahkest day in this town since Jack Kennedy was shot."

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No more. July 30, 2009 is the darkest day in New England since President Kennedy was assassinated.

David Ortiz was caught using steroids.

"Big Papi," the biggest reason why the Red Sox won the 2004 and 2007 World Series, cheated!

Nice of them to reveal it 6 years after the fact, after the Red Sox not only finally ended the Curse of the Bambino, but won a 2nd World Series as well!

Still, those World Series wins are hereby invalidated.

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Let's be blunt, shall we? Let's be brutally honest.

The linchpin to saying that the Yankees "cheated" their way to the 1996, 1998, 1999 and 2000 World Series is Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte.

For Pettitte, we have an admission of PED use to come back from an injury in 2002, a season in which the Yankees did not win a Pennant, much less a World Series.

For Clemens, we have the word of Brian McNamee. Translation: Even if Clemens is a louse (and we have many reasons to say that he is), McNamee isn't exactly trustworthy, either. He submitted evidence that has not been revealed to the public. The 2000 WS, and the '01 and '03 Pennants, can be attributed in part to Clemens' use, if in fact McNamee is being completely honest. But 1999? Clemens wasn't all that hot that year. Either he wasn't using, or it wasn't working.

Alex Rodriguez? Has never played on a Pennant winner, and, besides, all we have on him is an admission of an accusation that he used before becoming a Yankee.

Gary Sheffield? He never helped the Yankees win a Pennant, either, and all we have on him is an admission of something that happened before becoming a Yankee.

Jason Giambi? He helped the Yankees win the '03 Pennant – against those same cheating Red Sox – but in '04, it was obvious that steroids weren't helping him.

Compare also the Yankees' postseason opponents:

The 1995, 2000 and '01 Seattle Mariners: Jay Buhner (probably), Edgar Martinez (possibly), and, for the latter two, Alex Rodriguez (using then? who knows). They almost certainly used steroids, but we still beat them 2 times out of 3.

The '96, '98 and '99 Texas Rangers: Rafael Palmeiro (caught), Juan Gonzalez and Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez (almost certain). Still, we beat them 3 times, going 9-1 in games in the process (though those first two, in '96, were awfully dicey).

The '96 and '97 Baltimore Orioles: Palmeiro (caught) and Brady Anderson (come on). We beat them in the '96 ALCS, but lost the '97 Division Title to them. Still, in those two years combined, they won a grand total of 1 home game in ALCS play, so I don't want to hear about how the Yankees "cheated" -- either with steroids or a kid in right field.

The '96 and '99 Atlanta Braves: On the second occasion, John Rocker, even though he did nothing against us. And, on both occasions, I think it's now safe to be a little suspicious of Andruw Jones. Besides, we beat them.

The '97 and '98 Cleveland Indians: Manny Ramirez (caught), Matt Williams (mentioned in the Mitchell Report) and Jim Thome (suspected). Split 2 series.

The '98 San Diego Padres: Ken Caminiti (admitted). Swept in the World Series, so it didn't matter.

The '99 Red Sox: Hard to tell. Manny wasn't there yet, nor Papi, nor Curt Schilling, nor Mark Bellhorn, nor Kevin Millar. But Pedro Martinez? So skinny, but now you have to wonder. Jason Varitek was there. So was Trot Nixon. And Nomar Garciaparra: He's fallen apart since, so was Nomahhhh using? In this case, it didn't matter, because we beat them in the ALCS.

The 2000 and '01 Oakland Athletics: The aforementioned Jason, and also Jeremy, Giambi, and that's just the ones I know of. It didn't matter, because we beat them both times.

The '01 Arizona Diamondbacks: Matt Williams, and the heavily suspected Schilling and Luis Gonzalez.

The '02 and '05 Anaheim Angels (or whatever they were calling themselves at the time): As far as I know, they were clean.

The '03 and '04 Minnesota Twins. As far as I know, they were clean, and it didn't matter because we beat them both times anyway. In fact, after those two ALDS, the Yankees now have a better postseason record in the Metrodome than the Twins do. (This included getting wins over The Great Johan Santana.)

The '03 Florida Marlins: Pudge Rodriguez again.

The '03 and '04 Red Sox: Papi and Manny, and rumors abound about Schilling, Millahhhh, Bellhorn, Trot and Tek.

The '06 Detroit Tigers: Pudge again.

The ’07 Indians: As far as I know, they were clean.

And, of course, the 2000 New York Mets: Mike Piazza. It didn't matter, because we beat them anyway.

Put it all together, and not only have the Yankees been helped LESS by steroid use than any of those teams, but the Yankees have been HURT by steroid use more than any other team!

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But as big a story, and as underreported a story, as that is, the biggest story right now is that the Red Sox cheated. They couldn't win honestly, so they cheated.

The Yankees didn't cheat: We had no control over how to use the Curse, and then again, as one of the River Avenue T-shirts says, maybe there never was a Curse, the Sox just, uh, underachieved for 86 years! (As long as we're being honest, I checked once, and they were within range of the postseason in September in 43 of those 86 years, exactly half. They didn't "suck for 86 years.")

But the Red Sox cheated. Sox fans can throw away those "Got rings lately?" T-shirts -- if not in the trash, then I can suggest other places to stick them -- and we can bring back the "1918" T-shirts, just add an asterisk. (Not sure if Roger Maris would approve, but I'll bet the Babe would laugh at it!)

All their smack talk these last five years, and it was all a big fat lie. Red Sox fans on July 30, 2009 are roughly in the same position as Richard Nixon fans were on July 30, 1974: They know now, their guy is a crook!

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The amazing thing, to me (and to probably no one else) is the date of this magnificent (if incredibly tardy) revelation.

It was 10 years ago today, July 30, 1999, that I saw my first (and, so far, only) Fenway Yanks-Sox game. (I saw two at the old Yankee Stadium, so far none at the new one, which I suppose is a good thing.)

I paid a scalper $42 for a $24 obstructed view seat, and then put on my Yankee cap to show him what he'd sold it to. And in the first two at-bats of the game, boom, boom, Chuck Knoblauch and Derek Jeter homered. Sox pitcher Mark Portugal literally fell off the mound. Truly shocking: Joe Torre let his starter -- Hideki Irabu, of all people -- pitch a complete game. Yankees 13, Red Sox 3.

I ran into an ex-football player from my high school in the right field stands (by then a student at Boston University), and Yankee broadcasters Bobby Murcer and Tim McCarver trying to find my way out of Fenway after the game. I got on the subway, and walked into the Bull & Finch Pub (they’ve finally gone all the way and renamed themselves “Cheers”), still wearing the cap, drank a Sam Adams, walked out, still wearing the cap, and got back to my hotel. Next day, I got out of New England in one piece. Two, if you count the cap.

And now, this has happened, 10 years later to the day. Maybe I should buy a lottery ticket every July 30. But in New York... or Massachusetts?

In 1967, during the Sox' "Impossible Dream" season, the young Bee Gees, not yet the hideous avatars of disco, sang a lovely song called "Massachusetts." They sang "The lights all went out in Massachusetts." I'm sure a few Yankee Fans have sung that one over the years.

Today, the lies all came out in Massachusetts.

NINE-teen-EIGHT-teen! (Clap, clap, as-ter-isk!)

2 comments:

"Nutball Gazette" said...

You make a strong case Mike.
I wrote something similar about 1918 after the Manny suspension earlier in the year.

Oh by the way, Did you see that Conseco said there is a HOFer that used Steroids and it would be a nightmare for Baseball when the name comes out. I won't name anyone but, Maybe 2130 is still a record too

Uncle Mike said...

I have wondered about Cal, Nutball. I have wondered. All that durability, but when it came to an end, boy did it come to an end. And the hair situation: Not all gone like, say, Matt Williams, but bad enough, and what remains was already gray by 1999.

At which point Cal was still younger than I am now, but his hair was going, going, gray and almost gone. I guess I'm lucky: As I can see 40 approaching over the next hill, I've still got all of mine, and it's all still dark. (A bit unmanagable now, though. I really need a haircut.)

Come to think of it, the last time I got a haircut, I was reading "'78," that terrific new book that does for Boston in that era what "The Bronx Is Burning" did for New York at that time.