The goal? Reverse the famed "Curse of the Bambino," by which Babe Ruth, after being traded to the New York Yankees in 1920, is said to have decreed that the Red Sox would never win another World Series. Well, they haven't, and the frustrating history of bitter losses and almost-wins for the Red Sox has brought out reactions from the superstitious to the straight-out spiritual from fans.
Here are the top ten ways that Red Sox fans have tried to approach the spirit of the sport this year.
1. Send Your E-Prayers to Smokey Joe Wood
A self-proclaimed coalition of those with "belief in Moses, God, Mass, Karma, the ghost of Smokey Joe Wood and any other of the forces of good luck and goodwill that might assist in bringing a World Series title to New England" launched a web-based e-prayer petition to harness any and all good thoughts for this worthy cause.
2. Double, double toil and...Sam Adams?
Los Angeles-based "Spiritual Psychopharmacologist" Kirpal concocted a curse-reverser that included placing live clams in a black cauldron, then drawing a bath with Dragon's Blood Foaming Bath and Samuel Adams beer, a Boston favorite, in it. Uttering, "I invoke this in the names of Ted Williams, Carl Yastrzemski, Bobby Doerr, Cy Young, Wade Boggs and Carlton Fisk. And so it is. And so it shall be," she declared the curse reversed.
The house in Watertown, Mass. where Babe Ruth lived-and his wife lived after he became a Yankee-was demolished in October when its owners moved to Australia. Much discussion has ensued over who would buy the property, and if the spirit of the Bambino would allow Red Sox fans to "open a new chapter in their lives," as the outgoing owner is.
4. Try a New Diet
A decade-long vegetarian decided that reversing the curse was something that needed to be done literally, and the t-shirts that say "ESRUC" ("Curse" spelled backwards) weren't enough. So she ate 20 hot dogs, reversing her lifestyle as well as, she hopes, the curse.
5. Make a Graveside Plea
A "Reverse the Curse" bus tour-nay, pilgrimage-hit the road in early October to visit Babe Ruth's gravesite in Hawthorne, New York. Adding Red Sox paraphernalia to the Yankee gear adorning the grave, a robe-clad gentleman called "Grandmaster Wiggy" sprinkled a potion on the grave and offered a prayerful plea to the Babe to let this be the year.
6. Bring Back Old-Fashioned Superstition
Good old-fashioned superstition had to make this list. There's the police sergeant who believes that if his Red Sox doll "Wally" is placed in the right spot in his home, the team will win. Then there's the office group that built a Red Sox shrine in their office, but won't add the Sports Illustrated cover photo of Curt Schilling to it because they think appearing on a cover brings a team bad luck. And yummiest of all, there's the family that feels that eating ice cream out of a Red Sox hat-cup is the answer to their prayers.
A penny minted in the fateful year 1918-the last year the Red Sox won the World Series-was found at a Fenway Park beer counter in September. The owners of the stand taped it to their refrigerator and consider it good luck and an encouraging omen that things that happened in 1918 might just happen again in 2004.
8. Say the Red Sox Prayer--If God Has Time
An Oklahoma woman wrote a poem entitled "Red Sox Prayer 2004" in which she appeals to the Almighty to "assuage our many years of anguish" and deliver a victory-but only, she humbly adds, "if it's not too much of an imposition."
9. Accept Your Fate
A witch from Salem, Mass. offered a thought on why these efforts have not worked to date: there is no curse to reverse. Her explanation for the team's woes? "They are who they are." Acceptance, it turns out, really is the last stage of the grieving process.
10. Keep the Faith
Writer's choice: Not usually one for superstition or ritual, I admit that for this series, I dug out the Red Sox cap that my dad bought me when I played on a softball team in the fourth grade. We didn't win a single game that year. But that experience taught me how to lose, a lesson I've unfortunately had to draw upon since I moved to his hometown of Boston 7 years ago. Why did I get the hat out now? Because it couldn't hurt.could it? Faith is a powerful thing.