FIRE JOE MORGAN: Curses are the Hobgoblins of Moronic Minds


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Sunday, June 08, 2008


Curses are the Hobgoblins of Moronic Minds

The only way to continue to operate this blog is to assume that everything I read is unironic. Even when it's as bone-dumb as this. Even when the alleged author's name is "Bill Chuck," whch sounds like a fake name an alien would make up to blend in with earthlings. Even when "Bill Chuck" works for Dugout Central, which you may remember as the birthplace of one of my favorite all-time pieces of sports writing. Even when the subject of the piece is: curses.

I am even going to ignore the probability that this in some way "tongue-in-cheek," because I'm not entirely sure it is, and because, as I have said before, it's more fun to take things like this at face value. And anyone who even tongue-in-cheekingly writes that the Red Sox (or any team) is a "cursed" franchise deserves to be taken at face value and then mocked.

Big Papi has a very big boo-boo. The doctor's say that the extensor carpi ulnaris sheath in his left wrist is partially torn. I don't care what they call it; I call it a curse. The Sox are cursed again.

That's a big fat [sic] on "doctor's" by the way, and I'm going to go ahead and give William Chuckleford another [sic] on the semicolon just on principle*. Also: there's no such thing as curses. End this line of thought now.

Think about the season so far:
  • They started the season in March with pitchers Josh Beckett, Curt Schilling and Mike Timlin all being placed on the DL.
  • April saw starting third baseman Mike Lowell and uber-utility man Alex Cora go on the DL.
  • Then back-up first baseman/DH Sean Casey was placed on 15-day disabled list.
  • In May, Brandon Moss needed an emergency appendectomy and he went on the DL.
  • By the middle of the month rookie sensation and starting pitcher Clay Buchholz was placed on the DL with a broken fingernail.
  • The month ended with their 8-0 starter Daisuke Matsuzaka placed on the DL with rotator cuff problems.
  • And now, to start June, Ortiz' wrist has been placed in a cast. It's his fourth trip to the DL, but the first since 2002 with Minnesota.
  • For future 70-IQish aspiring sportswriters who think it is interesting or amusing to write about curses, a lesson: things that happen in the normal course of baseball seasons do not count as evidence of a supernatural influence. You can't say, "Yesterday, Michael Cuddyer grounded out to second with two on in the eighth. See?! The Twins are cursed!" This list, therefore, does not advance the theory of a "curse." Here's a rewritten version that could actually hold up under scrutiny:

    The Sox are cursed again. Think about the season so far:
  • They started the season in March with pitchers Josh Beckett, Curt Schilling and Mike Timlin all being placed on the DL.
  • One year ago to the day, Beckett, Schilling, and Timlin were hanging out on a Native American burial ground, drunk, and they stumbled into a tomb where they found an amulet hanging around a skeleton's neck.
  • The amulet had strange hieroglyphs on it.
  • Fortunately, Timlin majored in Ancient Cultures at Princeton (he's always been kind of the "nerd" of the bunch), and he was able to translate: "He who removeth this amulet from my neck shall suffer several nagging injuries."
  • Schilling was like, "Fuck this -- I'm taking it!" and grabbed it and ran off. "Schill, you're fucking crazy!" said Beckett, to no avail, as Schilling was already back in his pickup truck, thinking about how much Suzy, his girlfriend, would love the amulet.
  • The next day, Schilling felt some shoulder tightness. "Do you think it's th-th-th-th-th...amulet?!" whispered Timlin, terrified, rubbing Icy Hot on his sore biceps.
  • Now you try, Mr. Chuck.

    Oh sure, every team has physical problems,


    but with 10 players, 10 DL stints to major players, the Red Sox have proven to not be immune.

    Read that again, and imagine typing it, looking it over, and thinking: "Yup. That's how I want to phrase this. Perfect." Now open your eyes. Relax! It was just a terrible dream.

    I spoke to a number of medical people yesterday and they all told me this is just something you don't see a lot in baseball; it's more of a hockey player or golfer's injury. In fact, when GM Theo Epstein was asked in a press conference yesterday who Ortiz' injury could be compared to

    [sic sic sic sic sic]. Damn is that a [sic]. "...who Ortiz' injury could be compared to"? Personally, I would compare Ortiz' [sic] injury to General Montgomery. Or, no -- I would compare his injury to Paul Reiser.

    he was somewhat stumped, "The closest would be Schilling's ankle, but that was a complete rupture, this is only a partial tear." He also said that you can't compare it to Nomar Garciaparra's wrist injury because he split the tendon. Ortiz' tendon is fine, it just keeps popping over the bone and he can hear it pop, and when it does, it hurts.

    He doesn't sound stumped to me. He sounds pretty in control of the analogy situation.

    I asked a couple of members of the Red Sox hierarchy what caused the injury and as far as they could tell it was an awkward swing that Big Papi took. Now with all the thousands of swings that major leaguers have taken and really no other reports of an injury of this nature having occurred, are you going to tell me that this is not a curse?


    Sorry, are you looking for an answer? Oh. Okay. Yes, I am going to tell you that this is not a curse.

    Again, here's how you should write this if you really want to argue it's a curse.

    Now with all the thousands of swings that major leaguers have taken and really no other reports of an injury of this nature having occurred -- and given that as he swung a howling, gaping hell-maw opened 'neath his mighty form and a thousand dæmons cri'd out for vengeance upon 'is 'ead -- are you going to tell me that this is not a curse?

    See? Stronger argument.

    Ortiz said that his doctor told him, "70 to 80 percent of the people that have this, when they get a cast," it normally goes back to normal.

    Is there a grammatical symbol that you can use that means that an entire chunk of text is [sic], just to save time? I will now invent one: [yikes]. This whole article is [yikes].

    I don't want to parse words but what's your definition of "normal?" And for that matter, what's your definition of "people?"

    1. "Typical."

    2. "Humans."

    Most people don't make their living hitting 400-foot blasts into the stands by being able to snap their wrist as their bat explodes on a 95-mph fastball.

    I'm going to go ahead and assume that when a doctor examines David Ortiz and gives a diagnosis, he will give the diagnosis in light of what other athletes can expect. I don't think it's like:

    Doctor: Most people who have an injury like this recover in about 4-6 weeks.
    Ortiz: So I can expect to be playing baseball again by July?
    Doctor: Baseball? Oh heavens no. The people I conducted the study on were fragile 19th-century schoolgirls who had that Unbreakable disease. I assumed you would be doing nothing more strenuous than playing the pianoforte, or holding a parasol.
    Ortiz: No. I'm a professional baseball player.
    Doctor: In that case, 5-6 years.

    One move I cannot see happening is bringing in Barry B*nds.

    Try telling that to dak.

    Think about the disruption to the clubhouse chemistry, this move would far outweigh any bat production. It would be like replacing Madame Curie with Dr. Doom.

    No, this team is cursed, but not stupid.

    Not cursed, either, actually.

    What is this curse, I keep referring to?

    The Curse of There's No Such Thing As Curses?

    It's, "The Curse of Harry Frazee." Now, you may ask aren't I already referring to the "Curse of the Bambino" in which Red Sox owner sold Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees in order to fund his Broadway musical "No, No, Nanette?"

    Not even really the actual series of events. Not a curse.

    And hasn't that already been broken by the Red Sox World Championship of 2004?

    No, because it wasn't a curse.

    Yes, that curse

    Not a curse.

    has been broken,

    Wasn't broken, because it wasn't a curse.

    but there is another Frazee curse

    No such thing as curses.

    that continues to afflict the Boston Red Sox.

    No it doesn't, whatever it is, because it's not a curse, because there's no such thing as curses.

    The evidence

    No possible evidence of curse/no such thing as curses.

    requires a very simple chronology:

  • In October 1915, the Red Sox won the World Championship, defeating the Philadelphia Phillies, 4 games to 1.
  • In October 1916, the Red Sox won the World Championship, defeating the Brooklyn Robins (later the Dodgers), 4 games to 1.
  • On November 1, 1916, Harry Frazee bought the Boston Red Sox from Joseph Lannin.
  • In 1917, the Boston Red Sox finished in second place, nine games behind the Chicago White Sox.
  • The Red Sox have never won back-to-back World Championships ever since Frazee bought the team.

    Holy shit you guys.

    Hang on.

    Sorry...I just...

    I thought there was no such thing as curses. I was sure of it. But now...

    I just...

    I never thought about the fact that the Red Sox have never won back-to-back World Series since Harry Frazee bought the team. It never even occurred to me.

    That does seem awfully...curious.

    Could it be? Could this be a curse?

    I don't know. I mean...again, I didn't think curses were real, but this is compelling.

    Hang on. Let me just think about this for a second. Let me just open my mind.

    Fact: the Red Sox have never won back-to-back World Series since Harry Frazee bought the team.

    Fact: Bill Chuck thinks this is a curse.

    Fact: there is no actual evidence to prove this is not the result of a curse.

    Shit, you guys.

    I mean...

    Holy shit!

    The curse!

  • In October 1918, the Red Sox won the World Championship, defeating the Chicago Cubs, 4 games to 2. But in 1919, they finished in 6th place.

  • Holy shit!

  • In October 2004, the Red Sox won the World Championship, defeating the St. Louis Cardinals, 4 games to 0. But in 2005, they were swept in three games, in the AL Division Series, by the Chicago White Sox.

  • I'm scared, you guys! I'm scared of the curse!

  • In October 2007, the Red Sox won the World Championship, defeating the Colorado Rockies, 4 games to 0.
  • And in 2008, Big Papi tore extensor carpi ulnaris sheath or as I call it "a curse."

    (a) Holy effing ess!

    (b) That last sentence deserves its own [yikes].

    Labels: , , , ,

    posted by Anonymous  # 1:08 PM
    Hat tip to Matt, who sent this to us first.
    As Vinnie points out, there is technically nothing wrong with the semicolon here. I object to it on the grounds that someone who thinks "doctor's" means "more than one doctor" shouldn't just be tossing around semicolons willy-nilly. It's insouciant. I find it distasteful.
    Can't wait till Dad starts helping me with 7th grade English homework. That ought to be fun.
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