Bambino curse is for real

By Jeffery Armstrong

I am not a person who is overly superstitious or believes in voodoo, hoodoo or anything like that. But after last week's American League Championship Series game 7 between the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox, I am now a thorough believer in the Curse of the Bambino. And to an extent, I'm starting to believe the Chicago Cubs are cursed after their loss to the Florida Marlins in the NLCS.

The Bambino curse is definitely true. Sorry to disappoint any Red Sox fans out there, but that curse may last until 2020, which will be a milestone year for it.

For those of you who don't know about the curse, let me explain it to you.

The Boston Red Sox won three World Series titles in the early 1900s (1915, 1916 and 1918) with Babe Ruth (the Bambino) on the team as a featured pitcher and part-time hitter.

In 1919, the Sox finished sixth and in 1920, the team traded Ruth to the Yankees for cash to renovate Fenway Park, the Red Sox's home stadium.

The lore is that Ruth hexed the team for trading him. Ruth led the Yankees to the World Series in 1921 and the Yanks won the first of 26 World Series championships in 1923. Boston hasn't won the World Series since 1918.

The funny thing is that Boston has had great teams over the years and probably should have won several more World Series titles, but inexplicably the team can't get over the hump. Or is it over the curse?

The Sox have to be cursed. How else can you explain some of their devastating losses in the playoffs in certain years?

In 1978, they blew a 14-game lead late in the season to the Yankees and in a one-game playoff to qualify for the postseason, the Yankees' Bucky Dent hit a monster home run to propel the Yankees to the playoffs and a World Series title. In 1986, they were one strike away from winning the World Series against the New York Mets in game 6 and they blew that game and blew the Series.

This season's curse had to be the worst of all.

The Sox had their best pitcher on the mound, a 4-0 lead early and a 5-2 lead in the eighth inning against the Yankees.

The 2003 Sox were five outs away from making it to the World Series, where they could've won it all for the first time in 85 years. But what happens? Sox manager Grady Little leaves Pedro Martinez in too long, giving the Babe time to breathe a little magic on the Yankees bats and they tie the game at five. The game stays tied until the bottom of the 11th when a homer by Aaron Boone sends the Sox home disappointed.

I was watching that game and I couldn't believe it. The 2003 Red Sox had every opportunity to beat their hated rivals to get to the World Series. They were outstanding hitters, pretty good fielders and their pitching was good as well. How could they lose?

Easy ? they had to fight nine Yankees batters and a ghost too powerful for them to overcome.

Jeffery Armstrong is a sports writer for the News Daily and his column appears on Thursdays. He can be reached at jarmstrong@news-daily.com.