Mr. Spock, Charlie Brown, and the Red Sox

Mr. Spock, Charlie Brown, and the Red Sox

by Margaret Desjardins

In the Star Trek episode “Amok Time”, Mr. Spock says, "You may find that having is not so pleasing a thing as wanting. This is not logical, but it is often true."

I’m old enough to remember both the 1975 and the 1986 World Series, and perhaps because of that, I identified with the hapless Red Sox.

They, like Charlie Brown, my other doppelganger, always squeezed out their last ounce of bone marrow for the cause, and they always continued to believe -- despite the fact that fate had already woven defeat into the tapestry of their legend.

I always soared with the optimism in April, fell with the disappointment in October and weathered the clichés in between in a cyclical addiction – spring and fall, Persephone and Demeter – that always left in its wake just enough DNA to revive the hope and determination to begin again, even after things went so horribly wrong.

But somewhere in the fourth inning of the 2004 World Series, when the unthinkable actually appeared thinkable, my urge to gloat transmogrified to unexpected unease. As a fan whose scar from the 9th inning of the 6th game of the ’86 Series still throbbed each October like pain in a phantom limb, I knew it was heresy, but a long-awaited Series victory was feeling – not euphoric, but…oddly odd. Our underdog-ness, our wretchedness, our Curse was our identity - elevating us to martyr status, making tragic heroes of us. Heartbreak was integral to our mythology. The very fabric of the universe was unraveling!

The end of an era can be unsettling; had they snatched defeat from the jaws of victory, I’d have been prepared. But a sweep!?

Once was a fluke, I told myself. Perhaps the mythology was only dormant. Of course in the intervening years I couldn't help but root for them, and passionately, but...but now -- twice! Two World Series victories in four years! I have mixed feelings; I'm thrilled in an anticlimactic sort of way.

With the curse reversed, the Red Sox have become just like any other muggle MLB team. They lose, they win, but the mythology is gone. For most fans this is a no-brainer:

“Mythology or World Series? Hmmm, I’d have to go with World Series.”

But as disappointed as I was in ’75 and as heartbroken as I was in ’86, right now part of me is kind of missing the mythology.

But you can't have both. It's exciting and splendid to see a second "Red October" after so many decades of dashed hopes, but on the other hand, Mr. Spock might have been right.

What do you think?