Has Moneyball brought new “Curse of the Bam-Beane-O” on Red Sox?

I picked up Dan Shaughnessy’s 1990 book The Curse of the Bambino at a Salvation Army thrift store the other day. That sums up how current the idea of the Boston Red Sox being cursed is. Some “pink hats” probably haven’t even heard of the mythical hex that supposedly doomed the Sox and became spookily more and more believable as the team found new ways to extend its run of World Series futility to 86 years.


This girl probably A. Doesn’t believe in curses B. Has never heard of Calvin Schiraldi

Of course 2004 changed all that and Bill Simmons has added Now I Can Die in Peace to the literary lore of the thrift store. After two World Series in four years much of the Sox fan base has evolved to become a “Yankees Jr.” They actually expect – or rather, impatiently demand – their team to win rather than find creative and spectacular new ways to come so close before breaking their hearts. This is the kind of crowd that participates in pretend sell-outs and other such nonsense that has come with the new era.

But some of us “true fans” have returned to the hand wringing that defined us pre-2004.

My first memory is my emotionally distraught father cutting a family road trip short at a roadside motel after experiencing the 1986 “Buckner game” on the radio. “Daddy’s favourite team is going to win the World Series” turned to groans of disbelief punctuated by steering wheel pounding that conditioned me to believe in Curses… just a little.

So I submit to you a new supernatural theory for Red Sox ineptitude that dooms them to the bottom of the standings: I’m calling it “The Curse of the Bam-Beane-O.”

I’m not suggesting Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane is surreptitiously poisoning umpires a la Russia circa 1972 when Boston visits the Bay Area. In the spirit of a good curse, however, I am blaming a completely unrelated, unquantifiable and implausible factor for recent Red Sox runs of ineptitude.

Since the Moneyball movie made its impact on pop culture, something is going wrong with the Red Sox when they come into contact with the A’s. As the aforementioned film made famous, the Sox tried to lure Brad Pitt… er, Beane, away from Oakland, and the A’s have been Kryptonite to Boston’s Superman since the trailers began running.


It’s Brad Pitt’s fault.

With the launch of the long-anticipated movie around the corner and promotion for the film in full force the Red Sox encountered the A’s for a series in late August 2011. Boston actually won two out of three, improving their 2011 record to 82-52, making them shoo-ins for a playoff spot. They followed up by dropping two of three to the Yankees, and every series for the rest of the season, going 8-20, leading ownership to buy every player expensive headphones for some reason and earning the top Google search result for “epic collapse.” That includes four straight losses after the Moneyball movie premiered Sept. 19, part of a 2-6 finish when things were still salvageable.

Throw in a 4-10 start to 2012 and the Sox went 12-30 after their Oakland encounter, 6-16 immediately after the movie premiere. Just after new manager Bobby Valentine said the team had “hit bottom” the Sox seemingly righted the ship, going 6-1.

Their next date with the A’s, however, set off a stretch of eight losses in 10 games in early May. Starting May 11, Boston put together a 30-18 run until another eerie similarity – you guessed it – a visit to Oakland. The A’s swept them, keying off a five-game losing streak.

Maybe it’s the ugly yellow uniforms.


Seriously, those have got to be distracting

Maybe it’s the worst offense in the American League.

Maybe it’s that half of the A’s used to play for the Red Sox and are out for revenge, but encounters with Oakland have spelled immediate doom the past two seasons.

Boston won yesterday, so it remains to be seen how long this post-Oakland swoon will last, but there is definitely a weird trend going on here.



~ by Nathan White on July 8, 2012.

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