Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Hot Stove 1

I was going to wait until the signings for next year were announced before writing again, but I had to post this letter, written by my uncle Nathan Hanson to the Worcester Telegram and Gazette. The editors at the T & G did not see fit to publish it, but what do they know? I think it speaks pretty well for itself:

October 30, 2004

Dear Editor,

In the days since the Red Sox defeated the Yankees and steamrolled through the Cardinals, there has been much discussion about the infamous Curse of the Bambino. Some claim that the curse has been broken, some claim that it never existed. I propose that the curse has simply been transferred.

I submit for argument the Curse of A-Rod. Back in 1919, Babe Ruth, the greatest player of his time, was traded from Boston to New York for money by a cash-strapped Red Sox owner who hailed from New York. We all know that since the Yankees have won 26 world championships, and the Red Sox only this one. Flash forward to the modern era where Alex Rodriguez is considered by many to be the best player of his time. A-Rod began his career in Seattle, and in 2000, his last year there, the Mariners had a respectable record of 91-71, enough to gain a wild card birth in the playoffs where they would eventually lose to the Yankees, who were on the way to their last world series victory. The year after, when A-Rod left for a Texas-sized contract with the Rangers in 2001, the Mariners set a major league record for regular season wins with 116, but again could not make it past New York in the ALCS. The Yankees, however, lost that world series.

In Texas, A-Rod put up his numbers, but played on some horrible teams. All that he wanted was to play for a winner, regardless of the money. Enter the Red Sox in the winter of 2003, who worked publicly and tirelessly to trade their best player, Manny Ramirez, to Texas for A-Rod. By all accounts, the deal was in place, and A-Rod was dreaming of strafing the Green Monster with line drives. But a union head from New York intervened and said that A-Rod had earned his huge contract, and could not take less money to play for the Sox. A-Rod acquiesced. Once again, it came down to money, and the Sox owners balked, and in swept the Yankees to sign the best player in baseball. We all know how that turned out, as A-Rod is now the symbol of the biggest choke in playoff history and Ramirez took home World Series MVP honors. By the way, in 2004 without Rodriguez, Texas improved their record by eighteen wins: their record in 2003 with Rodriguez was 71-91, a mirror image of A-Rod's last record in Seattle). The Rangers finished only three games out of first place.

Speaking of the number three . . . I myself was not entirely convinced that the stars could realign themselves in such a dramatic fashion all within one October, I was not certain that what had seemed like the accursed fate of the Red Sox for all of eternity could be shrugged off by the likes of Ortiz, Schilling, et al, only to become the heavy mantel of another, hated franchise. That is until I pondered this: A-Rod had worn the number three on the back of his Seattle and Texas uniforms and would have been able to do so with Boston (Pokey Reese wore that number this year). But the number three is retired in Yankees Stadium in honor of the man who, as the saying goes, built that house, Babe Ruth. Left to choose another number for the 2004 season, A-Rod wore thirteen.

To all of those Yankees fans who chanted "1918," carried posters of the Babe and who laughed heartily whenever the Sox bumbled another opportunity, to all of those fans of New York who may have a hard time accepting any of the facts presented above, who even now may be pondering whether any curse ever existed, I have only one piece of advice: Believe!

In Deep Gratitude to Babe Ruth,

who is The Giver of Championships,

Past and Present,

Nathan Hanson

Worcester, MA

For those people who have called down a "Curse of the Pedrino" on the Sox, I say long live the Curse of the Purple Lips. I'll be back once rumors about Pedro getting an offer equal to Schilling's contract and Varitek's attempts to get 50 million over five years have been settled. GO SOX!!!