Why Rooting for The Red Sox Is Good for the Jews

By Michael A. Rauch

Published August 08, 2003, issue of August 08, 2003.
  • Print
  • Share Share

The grim tale of the Boston Red Sox’s trade of Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees and Boston’s subsequent 80-plus-year World Series drought has been told so many times as to become almost apocryphal. Indeed, the Curse of the Bambino has come to define the Red Sox nation — we are perennial also-rans and pessimists, living in the shadow of the cosmopolitan Yankees and inevitably waiting for disaster to descend and once again deny us our dreams. Despite fielding many a strong team (this year is no exception), we have come as a community to expect failure.

Indeed, despite sitting comfortably in second place (behind the ever-reviled Yankees) in the American League East, September is fast approaching, thus heralding the period when the Red Sox typically begin their post-summer meltdown. Already fans have begun to ponder our beloved Red Sox with the same anxiousness one regards an old car — what will go first? What part will fall apart before the other? Such is our cynicism that talk of next year seldom involves matters of hope but more typically an acceptance of further brutality to come.

All of which puts the new Red Sox general manager, Theo Epstein, in an interesting position. Obviously, as the youngest general manager in league history there is a tremendous amount of pressure riding on his shoulders. At the same time, how much can one ask of any individual when the team itself suffers from a curse that rests in its blood, which is as genetic as it is painful?

Precisely because of the immensity and the near-impossibility of a Red Sox victory at the World Series, Epstein deserves our support. Baseball is, after all, a game of statistics, of history and of lore, and to have a Jew (Epstein is the grandson of screenwriter Phillip Epstein — who, along with his brother Julius, wrote “Casablanca” — and the son of novelist Leslie Epstein) cure us of this mystical affliction would be to place a member of the tribe (and I’m not referring to the Atlanta Braves here) on unique and hallowed ground.

Admittedly there is a longstanding relationship between Jews and baseball (from Johnny Kling to Hank Greenberg to Sandy Koufax to Shawn Green). Yet we as a people are seldom on the frontlines of glory in it or any of the other major American sports (indeed, this entire matter brings to mind the famous “Airplane” joke about the great book of Jews in sports, which turns out to be a pamphlet.)

So, for a higher purpose, for a greater good, for all our sakes, Yankee fans should turn away from their Bronx Bombers, Mets fans should shun their boys at Shea, Indian fans should avert their eyes from their politically incorrect namesakes and baseball fans everywhere should stand and cheer the Boston Red Sox and their young general manager. Then we can talk about the Celtics.

Michael A. Rauch, a displaced Bostonian, is an attorney and screenwriter who lives in Los Angeles.






Find us on Facebook!
  • After years in storage, Toronto’s iconic red-and-white "Sam the Record Man" sign, complete with spinning discs, will return to public view near its original downtown perch. The sign came to symbolize one of Canada’s most storied and successful Jewish family businesses.
  • Is $4,000 too much to ask for a non-member to be buried in a synagogue cemetery?
  • "Let’s not fall into the simplistic us/them dichotomy of 'we were just minding our business when they started firing rockets at us.' We were not just minding our business. We were building settlements, manning checkpoints, and filling jails." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: 10,000 Israel supporters gathered for a solidarity rally near the United Nations in New York yesterday.
  • Step into the Iron Dome with Tuvia Tenenbom.
  • What do you think of Wonder Woman's new look?
  • "She said that Ruven Barkan, a Conservative rabbi, came into her classroom, closed the door and turned out the lights. He asked the class of fourth graders to lie on the floor and relax their bodies. Then, he asked them to pray for abused children." Read Paul Berger's compelling story about a #Savannah community in turmoil:
  • “Everything around me turns orange, then a second of silence, then a bomb goes off!" First installment of Walid Abuzaid’s account of the war in #Gaza:
  • Is boredom un-Jewish?
  • Let's face it: there's really only one Katz's Delicatessen.
  • "Dear Diaspora Jews, I’m sorry to break it to you, but you can’t have it both ways. You can’t insist that every Jew is intrinsically part of the Israeli state and that Jews are also intrinsically separate from, and therefore not responsible for, the actions of the Israeli state." Do you agree?
  • Are Michelangelo's paintings anti-Semitic? Meet the Jews of the Sistine Chapel: http://jd.fo/i4UDl
  • What does the Israel-Hamas war look like through Haredi eyes?
  • Was Israel really shocked to find there are networks of tunnels under Gaza?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.