No more "1918" chants. Even "Who's your daddy?" chants seem useless now. Babe Ruth's fat ass can finally rest in peace.
Someone once said that rooting for the Yankees was like rooting for the house in blackjack. If that's the case, then rooting for the Red Sox is like believing that Charlie Brown is finally going to kick that football.
Like any good Red Sox fan, after the win last night, I thought about what George Steinbrenner, Derek Jeter, Gary Sheffield, and Yankees fans across the country were thinking. I checked the Yankees Web site, and the new cover story on the site was entitled "The Dynasty to End All Dynasties" ("From Ruth and Gehrig, to DiMaggio and Mantle, to Reggie, and now Jeter and Rivera, no team has dominated sports as the Yankees have. They have won 26 World Series," it reads), essentially the big-league equivalent to an "Oh yeah?" schoolboy taunt. I would not be alone in sensing a little bit of apprehension in that cover story. Like a threatened animal, the Yankee tenses up and bares its 26 gold teeth, displays its pennants like a peacock about to lose a mate to its suddenly attractive enemy.
As Sox first baseman Kevin Millar stated last night, the Yankees can "tear up those 1918 posters". The posters of Babe Ruth now are nothing but a nice portrait of a guy that once wore both Sox and Yankees uniforms. And after one of the most magnificent chokes in sports history (the Sox unprecedented comeback from a 0-3 Yankees lead in the ALCS), the insipid "Yankees suck" chant for once kind of rings true.
Lots of people all over don't seem to get how incredible this moment is. Sure, it's just baseball. A kid's game, played by a bunch of overpaid, grown men. But it's also a common denominator that is shared by generations of people from all classes and races in this country. (And sure the game, like most things in America, has been marred by ugliness along the way, but let's enjoy the present for a moment).
People have lived their entire lives and never seen the Red Sox win it all. Personally, I have only been a Red Sox fan for a handful of years since I moved to the Boston area, yet I have devoted nearly 500 exhilarating, excruciating, but ultimately rewarding hours of each year to this ball team. When I tune in, I am lost in the intricacies of the game and the drama for a few hours. This is something that, although seemingly trite, has bridged people together for 100 years. The losses were a malady that everyone in New England shared, no matter their color, race, or creed, and it laid the groundwork for the closest thing you will find to religion in American sport. And the win is the ultimate tribute to every fan, living or dead. It's surely a sweeter victory than any of the Yankees' 26, which has bred a sense of entitlement.
I don't believe that Sox fans will begin to feel entitled to another championship anytime soon. Our hopes and expectations have been the same for 86 years. We'll still be nervous until that very last out has been recorded. We'll never take anything for granted. We've learned our lessons well. But Charlie Brown has kicked the motherfucking football. The Bambino has been put to sleep. And the Yankees have not won any more championships than the Red Sox in this century. It's a whole new ballgame.