Closing in on two months since Keith Foulke casually underhanded the ball to first for the final out of Game 4 of 2004 World Series, I am very happy to report that I've neither lost my identity (which, as a Red Sox fan, was defined by loss according to the media) nor have my beloved Red Sox become "just another team" to me since winning their first World Series in 86 years.
No, no, the red of the two dangling socks of the Red Sox logo has never seemed brighter nor more deserving of of fan idolatry than it does to me now, awash in the cleansing, baptismal waters of triumph realized.
And I don't use the baptism metaphor lightly; baseball, Red Sox baseball, has always been a spiritual circumstance for me, and I'm not drinking from the chalice of hyperbole when I describe the feeling of putting a lifetime of not-quite-enough-to-win-it-all behind me as one of rebirth and resurrection.
I am a Red Sox fan reborn.
Everything is different now. But, at least for me, not in the negative way so many media pundits, scribes, and philistines prophesied and continue to presage. Instead, the difference is one of affirmation and positivity.
The Red Sox fan I was is no more. The Red Sox fan whose relationship with the team was built upon a memory of the past, of loss and sorrow, has been transfigured and delivered into a new realm.
Red Sox fans everywhere are now living in what Dante called il punto a cui tutti li tempi son presenti, "the point at which all time is present" (Paradiso, xvii).
And this is why I had to end the Bambino's Curse weblog. Why I had to let it go to dust and ashes. The blog represented a past I/We have been delivered from.
As I've written before, the notion of "the Curse" was never something I took literally. I instead described it as all of our collective Red Sox fan angst, heartache, and desire. Only in these days and weeks since the Red Sox won the World Series have I come to the realization of just how true that was.
So long as the mind is captivated by memory, and really feels itself to be that past image … it can do nothing to save itself; its sacrifices are of no avail, and its Law gives no life. For it is under the spell of abstraction, so that, in the language of symbolism, it is "formed of clay", or wandering in the wilderness, in a "dry barren land where no water is". And under this spell it remains hopelessly and helplessly captive, just so long as this dead
image continues to give any illusion of life … (Watts, Myth and Ritual in Christianity, p. 98).
When the final out was recorded in the bottom of the 9th in St. Louis, it was time for me to put the "dead image" of George Herman Ruth, the Bambino, whose ghostly presence was the central design image, both literally and metaphorically, of my blog to a final, peaceful, rest.
But baseball, like life, continues. And in its constancy, its endurance, day to day, season to season, from boyhood, to middle age, and beyond, it will remind me and counsel me to live not just in the moment, without past or future, but also to realize that it is the timeless, eternal moment wherein our real lives exist.
Or said another way, "Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack, I don't care if I never get back."
See you in Spring when everything is new again. (You'll find me not among the dead but the living.)