Yankees-Red Sox: When a Streak of Unfortunate Events Becomes a Curse

Todd Civin@https://twitter.com/toddcivin1Senior Writer IJune 12, 2009

Often when taking a break from my stronghold on reality, I drift into a state of obscure thinking. I call it my time to ponder the imponderables.

My wife, Katie, calls it my time of Seinfeldian thinking. It's the time when I wonder if maybe I did inhale in college as opposed to simply trying to look cool.

During this time I lie on my back and look at the clouds and think about...well, stuff.

I often wonder what was written on the calendars in the years preceding Christ's birth. Did it say B.C., as if they knew the Messiah was en route, or did it say T-minus one and counting? Or did it simply say Augustus XX with no room left for a year? Hmm?

Then I think of the phrase "one fell swoop." I know what it means. It's when you do something uninterrupted without stopping to do something else. But how particular is that?

If I were to mow my lawn in "one fell swoop" and my loving wife brought me a glass of lemonade, do I have to proceed to drink and drive, or can I stop momentarily and sip? Do I have to chug? Can I mop my brow? Or does any cessation from mowing constitute a departure from swoopness? If I stop for the drink, only momentarily, does it become two fell swoops or a half a fell swoop? Hmm?

And I often wonder about things like why drugstores make the sick walk all the way to the back of the store to get their prescriptions while healthy people can buy cigarettes at the front. And why lemon juice is made with artificial flavor, and dishwashing liquid made with real lemons, and why they sterilize the needle for lethal injections. Hmm?

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So last night, while watching the Yankees blow a 3-1, eighth-inning lead to the Red Sox to mark their eighth loss in succession against the Sox, I wondered when a streak of misfortune becomes classified as a full-blown curse.

I assume when Harry Frazee sold the Babe in 1918, the effects of the curse weren't recognized immediately. It probably took a series of poorly timed losses and misfortunes before the existence of a curse was talked about. Once talked about, I would assume the curse got in their heads, and more bad stuff started to happen—a self-perpetuating curse.

So if you sign a guy like Alex Rodriguez and proceed to blow a 3-0 lead against your rival, then finish out of first, and also miss the playoffs for the first time and subsequently lose eight straight to the same team, is that a curse or a bad streak?

And I wonder if it becomes a curse if your star player gets caught taking performance-enhancing drugs along with a couple of your star pitchers and your former first baseman. And your young pitcher gets caught drinking and driving and bad-mouths one of your former legends. Is that a curse or a bad streak?

And if your No. 3 pitcher loses his sinker, your new stadium is a launching pad for home runs, your right fielder hurts his wrist, your catcher hits his neck, and his backup gets hurt too. A curse or a bad streak?

Good thing no one buried Papi's shirt under the new stadium. This stuff could really get in the Yankees' heads.

Hmm?

Gives me something to ponder.