The Red Sox Century
by John Delach
None other than The New York Times has decreed that the Boston Red Sox have inherited the baseball planet now and for the next eighty-seven years. On November 3, 2013, Sports Sunday proclaimed this irrefutable truth in a first page story under the headline: In Baseball’s Time Machine, 21st Century Belongs to the Red Sox.
Their reporter, David Walderstein, waxed eloquently on this theme. He began with a discussion of all of those dark, dreary years from 1919 onward as he traced the futility of hope that once burdened the Beantown faithful until 2004 that magical year when… “Boston finally defeated the Yankees head-to-head, then won its first World Series in 86 years. That title seemed to lift the Red Sox from the burden and pressure of decades of futility…Then it started to flow. Another arrived in 2007, and now 2013.”
Mr. Walderstein further noted this new-found success “…is hard for many Yankee supporters to accept, and perhaps many regard as a usurpation of their birthright.” Why he even invoked the late Boss writing, “Certainly, George Steinbrenner would not have stood for it…”
Mr. Walderstein doesn’t make light of the Yankees’ past success; their 26 championships from 1923 to 2000, but like the Delta Airline commercial that notes the aerial achievements of Orville Wright, Amelia Earhart and Neil Armstrong, the narrator then concludes with the statement: …and with that, we sweep them into the dust bin of history ( or something like that.)
Oh dear, oh dear, all of that history and accomplishment; gone, kaput, adios. But Walderstein is not content to base his case just on the present. No, no, he focuses on the future, the Yankees’ aging team, A-Rod, Jeter, C.C. and notes “…there is some discontent that the Yankees have not been able to draft and develop a reliable flow of young players who can contribute…”
In contrast he reports, “John Henry, the Red Sox owner, seemed to have his organization’s ability to keep good young players coming…”
What a contrast, the Yankees suck while the Sox seem to walk on water.
Case closed! Ole Davey Walderstein has condemned the Yankees to a dismal fate casting them into the same Baseball Circle of Hell where the Sox were forced to dwell for most of the 20th Century.
He does note in this piece in three places that these same Red Sox also began the 20th Century as if it were their century. That they won the World Series five times in 1903, 1912, 1915, 1916 and 1918. But each time he raises this statistic, he makes light of it and moves on.
Still, I can’t help but think: What if Mr. Walderstein wrote about baseball for the Times one hundred years ago? By the autumn of 1918 he would have been completely over-the-top following the Red Sox fifth championship in that young century deeming the remainder of the 20th Century to belong to these Sox.
Of course, he would have predicted this before the owner sold that chap named Ruth to the Yankees. Gee, I wonder what possibly could happen to the Red Sox this time.