In this morning's New York Times (June 5, 2007) ,
sportswriter Murray Chass presents and interesting theory: The New York Yankees beat the Red Sox Sunday night by a run and therefore somehow dodged the coup de grace that would have put the final nail in the coffin containing this year's baseball season.
Put another way, the Red Sox, in losing to the filthy swine, have begun the inevitable slide that will yet again break the hearts of their fans and allow the Yankees to walk away with a well-deserved pennant.
What Murray doesn't seem to realize, although he says he has friends in Red Sox Nation's capital area, is that's not an original thought. It is a scenario that every Red Sox fan has inculcated in his or her deep psyche since realizing that the letter "B" means something more than the second letter of the alphabet.
As a Red Sox fan, I accept the theory that the season can fall apart any second. I don't believe it will happen and neither, it seems, does Chass, who ends his column with this reality check: It just could be that Yankee pitching is so bad and Red Sox pitching is so good that the New Yorkers could not catch up.
There are stark differences between the fans of the two teams, and Chass is a classic example. Look at the seats of a losing Red Sox game. Not many fans have left, even if it's raining both water drops and enemy home runs. At the 2004 playoffs in New York, the place was empty when it looked like the Yanks were losing. In Boston, you couldn't have bought a seat, even in the worst of the first three defeats. Yankee fans were beating it to the exits while Red Sox fans were beating on the walls.
In Boston, hope springs eternal, but in the deep psyche, the fan knows that collapse has happened many times before, even when the opposition is 14 games back. Hoping for the best, but prepared for the worst. No excuses. They blew it. End of story.
In the Bronx, it's the opposite. The fans are expecting the best, but making excuses for the worst. The umps were blind. It was raining. A duck flew over the field. The moon was too bright.
Yes, Murray, there could be a collapse. But if the Yankee victory on Sunday proved the mettle of the Bombers, the Red Sox loss late last night in 11 innings, after the exhausted, the sick, the lame but still plucky Red Sox tied the score in the 9th, shows me that it's still possible for the Sox to roll over, but it sure ain't likely.