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Friday, October 29, 2004

Dan - You Won't Have The Curse to Milk Anymore

Tim is Oh So Right - Shaughnessy outed and unmasked himself in today's Globe as a self-appointed trend creator and iconic sportswriter who gleefully mined the 86 year misfortune and misery of a region into a lucrative career. What Shaughnessy actually regrets losing is any semblance of relevance or importance to the Boston sports scene, overtaken by a combination of a (finally) winning team, omnipresent 'EEI sports radio, and growing sports journalism alternatives.
No horse to ride anymore, Dan?
Let's be honest: there was no curse, never was. Made good copy though, didn't it.
But the worst part about perpetuating the curse myth is that it hid the Truth.
What was the Truth: this was a franchise that was mismanaged for decades:
- in the 30s and 40s, a team obsessed with hitting and not pitching and defense;
- in the 50s and 60s, a franchise crippled by ownership's strident racism, the last team to integrate and employed policies to limit minority representation - missing the opportunity to sign great black and Latin players (Bob Gibson comes to mind, BTW, remember him?);
- in the 70s, 80s, and 90s a franchise led by uninspired non-baseball executives and a lingering organizational emphasis on hitting, stats, and individual "stars" and not TEAM, pitching, and defense.
Once the emphasis changed - to a more well-rounded team featuring strong pitching and a solid defense, well, you know the rest. The Nomar trade illustrates the new regime's clear choices: having the courage to trade a beloved "star," for several solid if apparently unspectacular players - one of whom stole the most important base in franchise history, one of whom delivered outstanding SS defense during a stretch drive, and a first baseman who is still clinging to the final WS putout baseball.
No curse Dan; nice marketing while it lasted though.