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article imageOp-Ed: Fenway Park, The Holy Cathedral of Baseball

By Johnny Simpson     Oct 18, 2008 in Sports
Yankee Stadium has long been considered baseball's Holy Temple, where history and 26 banners filled the air. But where have more prayers been offered under the worst of adversity? And where have the Baseball Gods intervened in more spectacular fashion?
Where else is there greater baseball history than Yankee Stadium?
Where else can you find the storied chapters like those of Joe DiMaggio, Lou Gehrig, Derek Jeter, and Joe Torre?
How can you possibly doubt that Yankee Stadium IS baseball history?
How can you even question that Yankee Stadium is THE holy place, where the stalwart faithful have offered their brilliant and priceless treasures to the Gods of Baseball and been smiled upon by them in return?
To Red Sox fans, the matter is quite different. Yankee Stadium has been less Baseball Paradise than Tenth Circle of Hell.
And not unlike Lucifer, who once shone brighter than any angel in the heavens, Babe Ruth shined his holy light upon the Fenway Faithful before taking a darker path to become the epitome of the evil that tortured generations of Red Sox fans without end, amen.
Yet Red Sox fans cannot fault the Bambino alone for this deviltry.
In 1918 Harry Frazee, the owner of the Boston Red Sox, bit of the Big Apple and took a measly $100,000.00 of filthy lucre from the Yankee snake wrapped around the Tree of Baseball.
Why? To finance a Broadway Play called No No Nanette.
As God frowned upon Adam and Eve's partaking of the forbidden fruit, the Baseball Gods were angered at Harry Frazee's sacrificing of Baseball's greatest holy treasure to the debased and evil Baal of Commerce, and cast he and his followers into the Baseball Wilderness for 86 long, torturous years.
The Israelis were lucky. They only had wander the desert for forty.
And that is the most apropos analogy for the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry. Like the Israelites who suffered in bondage for generations under the Egyptians, we of Red Sox Nation suffered the slings and arrows of our tormentors in the Bronx, their Bucky Dent our Ramses.
As recently as 2003 the Gods of Baseball tormented us once again, tempting us with the Gates to the World Series before empowering the demonic Aaron Boone to crush our dreams of Paradise and lash us with the whip of humiliating defeat once again.
But in 2004, a strange thing happened. One might even say supernatural.
The Gods of Baseball, who mocked our endless prayers for redemption and vengeance upon our tormentors for generations finally heard us, and in their divine wisdow showed us infinite mercy.
But it would not be so easy for us, even in victory. We would now be made to suffer like Job, losing everything and seeing only darkness before God shined his mercy upon him, restored all that he had and more.
We of Red Sox Nation also suffered the cringing torment of an 0-3 deficit following a 19-8 Yankee Devil victory in the 2004 ALCS, a deficit never overcome in the history of baseball playoffs and only rarely by divine intervention in other sports.
Though we did not know it then, the Baseball Gods had sent us their Moses to bestow pestilence and plague upon our accursed enemies, upon whose tongues the name Big Papi will forever be accompanied by the wailing and gnashing of teeth (particularly Billy Crystal's).
The Yankee chariots had chased us to the cliffs above the Red Sox Sea, and though we feared, Big Papi raised his bat and the sea before us parted in stunning fashion. We crossed, hesitant and terrified at what we saw, then looked back in Game Seven as Red Sox Sea, parted by our Messenger of the Gods, came crashing down upon the heads of our oppressors.
Though another Sinai Desert to cross awaited us in St. Louis we feared no evil, for we had been freed of our bondage.
The 2004 ALCS also epitomized the wisdom of famed Yankee demon Yogi Berra: it ain't over till it's over. Which just goes to show: even in evil can we find great wisdom.
Like the Israelis, we who are the Baseball Gods' Chosen Ones of the new millennium must still suffer greatly, even in victory.
In other words, being a severe masochist is child's play next to being a Red Sox fan. It is more akin to Dracula having a stake driven into his heart over and over again, only to have it ripped out before the moment of final death, healing quickly and feeling better than ever before. The joy of new life is immense, but the pain really sucks even worse than Dracula himself.
Case in point: the most recent act of the Baseball Gods upon the hallowed ground of Fenway.
Down 3-1 in the ALCS to the once-mocked and now-cursed Tampa Bay Rays and facing elimination, the Gods of Baseball allowed his unique marine creations to sting us with their barbs, inflicting what appeared to be fatal wounds with a 7-0 lead in the seventh inning. Yet like James Bond in Thunderball, the Baseball Gods allowed us to find the spear gun laying on the floor of the opaque briny sea, inflicting eight fatal shots with seven outs to play in a do-or-die game.
Can anyone call this less than a miracle?
Can one call the 86 years Red Sox Nation wandered, suffering in the wilderness, anything less than divine accursed punishment, generations of prayers by the Boston Faithful unheard and unaswered?
Can one call the unprecedented comeback in Game 5 of the ALCS anything less than divine intervention?
And that is why Fenway Park is Major League Baseball's Holy Cathedral. The hymns we sing to the sacred rafters in praise to the Baseball Gods are Dirty Water and Sweet Caroline.
It has almost been too easy for the Yankees over the years, with their Babe Ruths and their Murderers' Rows (both past and present). For the Fenway Faithful it has always been torture in the playoffs. In every comeback, a recovering wobbly stomach. In every victory, excruciating pain.
Perhaps, for many years, Yankee Stadium was home to the Baseball Gods, who smiled upon the Bronx Bastion even as they rained Sodom and Gomorrah-like Hell from the skies upon Red Sox Nation.
But if we did not know that we were now held in favor by the Gods of Baseball, we knew it last night. Being down 4-3 in the ninth inning in the 2004 ALCS with the best reliever in baseball playoff history on the mound is one thing. Being down 7-0 in the seventh inning of an elimination game with only seven outs remaining is quite another. Winning the former was a prayer answered. Winning the latter was divine intervention.
Which is the greater feat? I leave that for baseball theologians to decide. All I can say is that
I know a miracle when I see one.
Yankee Stadium may remain to many the Holy Temple of Baseball, but I ask you: where have the Deities of the Diamond intervened in greater and more spectacular fashion than on the hallowed ground of Fenway Park? Greater even than the bullets redirected by divine intervention in Pulp Fiction?
In closing, a retort to a baseball imp who sometimes resides in the ether here at DJ, Navin Vaswani:
In the name of the Baseball Gods I cast you out, demon. Hee-YAYYY!
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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