October 14, 2016

Talk Of Curses

With the Chicago Cubs having advanced to the National League Championship Series and former Red Sox manager Terry Francona heading to the American League Championship Series with Cleveland, there has been a lot of talk in the sports media about "curses" - i.e., the Red Sox's 86-year World Series drought that Francona held end in 2004 and the 108 years that have passed since the Cubs were champions of baseball.

However, the C-word is often not presented in quotes; most writers are not typing "alleged curse" or "mythical curse" or "so-called curse". No, the hex is presented to the reader as though it was/is real. If you asked these sportswriters, do you truly believe that the Red Sox were cursed by a dead man's ghost or that the Cubs were cursed by a bar patron's goat back in the mid-40s, what would they say?

This is nothing more than lazy writing.

Andy Martino, New York Daily News, October 1, 2016:
Ever since his days as the wunderkind GM of the Boston Red Sox — he was just 30 years old when that team broke its own 86-year curse to win the 2004 World Series — Epstein has always belied his new-school reputation by taking tradition into account as well.
Bill Ballou, Providence Journal, October 5, 2016:
In his first season in Boston, the Red Sox broke an 86-year curse by winning the World Series, and doing so by coming back from a 3-0 deficit against the New York Yankees in the ALCS.
Evan Grossman, New York Daily News, October 6, 2016:
So proven curse-breaker Theo Epstein was hired as president of baseball operations five years ago and, according to plan, he has the Cubs 11 wins from exorcising some serious demons.
John Ruane, Chicago Now, October 7, 2016:
During the next four weeks ... We will also know if the Chicago Cubs, the team with the best record in Major League Baseball during the 2016 regular season, will win the World Series and end the 108-year drought, curse and frustration of generations of Cubs fans.
New York Post Headline, October 9, 2016:
Cubs' Ugly Win May Be First Sign Their 108-Year Curse Will End
Doug Padilla, ESPN, October 10, 2016:
The Cubs are the story of the year, with the best record in baseball, a team full of dynamic young budding superstars and a 108-year curse they need to vex on the corner of Addison and Clark streets on the city's Northside.
Hunter Felt, The Guardian, October 11, 2016:
It would have been a powerful moment if Ortiz were merely the last remaining Red Sox player from that 2004 team, the one that so memorably broke Boston's 86-year curse by winning the World Series for the first time since 1918. As spectacular as that achievement was, it was merely the beginning of Ortiz’s reign as the face of the franchise.
Jerry Crasnick, ESPN, October 14, 2016:
Nineteen years after he made his managerial debut with a 68-win team in Philadelphia, Francona is mingling with more elite company. He has two titles in his portfolio -- the first of which broke an 86-year-old curse in Boston.


laura k said...

It's like they use the word "curse" to mean "drought". Or like the word curse has a completely different meaning in this context.

The Omnipotent Q said...

I always felt that whole "curse" business was simply stupid from the get go. Why would Babe Ruth "curse" a team that traded him to the largest city in America and made him the biggest star the sport has ever known? He should have been sending Harry Frazee Christmas cards every year for sending him to New York. Besides, I use the word "drought" anyway.

Jere said...

I have unearthed some *new* info re: the start of calling the Red Sox drought a "curse." At least I think it's new. Will let you know when I reveal it.

Jere said...