This is Diana Nyad for KCRW, and this is The Score.
Just last week I was making the point that you don't have to be a rabid baseball fan…actually, I was saying that you don't have to know anything at all about baseball to get involved in post-season play. I know people who don't ever have a clue as to who's playing in the SuperBowl, don't have any idea what you're referring to when you say The Final Four, and never watch one inning of the 162 regular games of the baseball season but who threw themselves into the Yankees/Red Sox series, the American League Championship Series, with great gusto. But that was last week. Only seven short days later and here I am to argue precisely the opposite position.
As of last night, the Boston Red Sox broke the 86-year Curse of the Bambino, their supposed destiny to be perennial losers because they sold Babe Ruth to the Yankees back in 1918. At long last, the Bo Sox are the World Series Champions. If you're a fan of the team, or the town, you're finally breathing a sigh of relief. When I walked into the studio today, my editor and engineer here at KCRW, Bob Carlson, had a beatific smile of sublime content on his face. Bob went to college in Boston and lived there many years, spent many an afternoon out at Fenway, and as have so many Red Sox fans for nearly nine decades now, Bob's had to cope with mishap after mishap, losing season after losing season. I have in fact known many Bo Sox fans who can't even speak of the Bill Buckner error of 1986. They literally shut down at the mention of the infamous ball that escaped through his legs and lost them the World Series to the Mets that year. They simply cannot go there.
So even those of us fans of other teams can feel the joy with Bob and the entire Red Sox nation today.
But back to the total non-baseball type. The type, by the way, the television networks count on for big numbers of viewers in the post-season. The Yankees/Red Sox series went through the roof last week. Nearly 25 million people a night for the last three, dramatic games. And Fox wasn't just delirious over the ratings for ad revenue. It's also October, the crucial time for networks to promote their fall entertainment schedule. If they can draw 25 million people, the majority of whom are more interested in entertainment than sports, they're giddily kicking up their heels at the Fox commissary.
So, after the thrill of the Red Sox beating the Yankees, and making history in the process, coming back from an unprecedented three games down, we all moved on to the World Series between the Red Sox and the Saint Louis Cardinals. Baseball aficionados told us all year that the Cards are the best team in all of baseball. No question. The cream of the crop. And those aficionados knew they were watching a flat team that just couldn't find their groove as the Cardinals failed at pitching, hitting and fielding throughout the World Series. But what about the October fan? What was in it for him in watching a four-game rout? The heart and the grit that the Red Sox had to find against the Yankees last week was simply not asked of them in these four games against the Cardinals. It was an easy, almost effortless sweep. And to bring the whole thing down a notch further, Boston won their coveted World Series in Saint Louis. Instead of wild mayhem in the stands, there was silence and disappointment. Back in Boston, from Harvard Square to the fishing villages on the Cape, emotions were soaring, I'm sure. But every champion needs a worthy opponent and it's a shame the Red Sox didn't have to fight for the World Series rings they've been suffering over for 86 years.
This is Diana Nyad for KCRW, and that's The Score.
Photo: Jamie Schwaberow/Rich Clarkson