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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Hail to the victors

OK, so the Tribe couldn't hold a three-game lead. It was still a great season for a young team -- playing against a veteran club with more than twice the payroll.

Congratulation Sox and Sox fans. I'm prepared for the grief this morning -- prepared for another 10 days or so of local TV news coverage that includes all baseball, all the time, except for the random murder or fire.

But a thought has been rustling around my head for the last week or so, as I experienced Sox mania with a slightly different perspective because this time I did have a dog in the fight. It took shape in a headline in yesterday's Times:

Are the Red Sox Ready to Become The Yankees?

Yes, this constitutes the Double Sour Grapes Award, a couple of losers whining about what might have been. But think about it -- who's the Cinderella team this time? The one that has won 20 of 21 in an improbable climb to its first World Series? Or the one with the second highest payroll in baseball who can buy and sell anyone they want?
For the first time in a long time, the Red Sox are in position to make the transformation. Boston can become the new New York.

The door is open for the Red Sox, with a rich baseball tradition and a high payroll, to replace the Yankees as the team the nation loves to hate. The question is whether the Red Sox, after years of being the object of sympathy and even pity, can adjust to being despised.

Theo, Tito and the ownership can't come close to the Yankees brass, particularly George Steinbrenner (a Cleveland native by the way) for sheer arrogance and obnoxiousness. But the sense of entitlement that emanates from the team is about the same.

I'm not suggesting the Red Sox didn't earn this trip -- the Indians had it in the grasp and blew it. But there's a larger picture to consider.

Do the Red Sox become something like their crosstown (sort of) homies, the New England Cheatriots? Or can they maintain the core of what made them lovable? Simply put, has the chase to catch the Yankees turned them into the Yankees?

The rest of the nation is watching. As for me, I can go back to trying to sleep normally again. And wait until next year.

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