From Anthony Castrovince at MLB.com on May 18, with quotes from SABR members John Thorn and Jacob Pomrenke:
When last they met near the Back Bay Fens, they were not conscious of curses. The Billy Goat had not been born, and the Bambino was still in Boston. Fenway Park, in its seventh season, was not yet a sacred shrine, but rather, still had its shine. The home team had not yet spawned a Nation, and the visitors were not yet the enduring face of frustration.
It was Sept. 11, 1918, and the Sawx and Cubbies, as so many refer to them now, were merely the Red Sox and Cubs, two ballclubs thrust into the World Series by a suddenly shortened schedule and playing in front of few fans, as the Great War had cast a pall over the national pastime.
This weekend’s action will end what is easily the longest time between appearances for any team in any ballpark. And the deep (if not always divine) histories and passionate fan bases of these two clubs make this an eye-catching component of the 2011 calendar.
“The Cubs and Red Sox,” said John Thorn, the official historian for Major League Baseball, “were, for a long time, joined at the hip as baseball’s most glorious losers. Or certainly the most cursed.”
Those curses created a connection, however perverse. And just because the Red Sox drought has given way to a deluge, in the form of two World Series titles in the past seven years and almost-annual contention for another, doesn’t mean Boston fans can’t have some measure of empathy and appreciation for Cubs fans. (Or so one would hope. After all, any lingering vitriol over the Cubs delivering Bill Buckner to Boston should have dissolved in 2004.)
But while the sheer rarity of this rendezvous is noteworthy, its arrival has had the unintended effect of spreading a scandal.
Read the full article here: http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20110517&content_id=19210316
Originally published: May 18, 2011. Last Updated: May 18, 2011.