Another October, another long wait Curse of the Bambino strikes Boston again


BOSTON -- The winner . . . and still the champion curse of the world is . . .

The Bambino.

Yes, the Cleveland Indians found out Friday night that you don't bring no stinkin', wimpy Curse of Rocky Colavito into Fenway Park in October. Nobody messes with the real curse. Nobody messes with the Curse of the Bambino.

That curse belongs to the Boston Red Sox. And they guard it like the family Rottweiler guards the Alpo cabinet.

The Red Sox finished off yet another tragic sweeperoo exit from the playoffs Friday night by losing to the Indians, 8-2. So that's three games, three Red Sox losses. Three more notches in the championship belt of The Curse.

This one made three straight times now that the Red Sox have been swept in a postseason series. No team -- not even the Phillies -- ever did that before.

This also made 13 straight losses by the Red Sox in postseason games. No team ever did that before, either.

And it is now 77 years since the Red Sox last won a World Series. While the Cubs actually have gone a decade longer than that, no team has had the opportunities not to win one that the Red Sox have. This makes seven first-place finishes, zero tickertape showers, since 1918, if you're counting.

The Indians used to think they were right up there in the masters-of-futility standings, too. They went 47 years without winning a postseason game. They went 41 years without a postseason appearance. But their curse was no match for the Bambino's.

The Indians had been around for almost a century before this year. They never had swept any kind of postseason series. But they have now.

They finished the job Friday night with absurd ease. Charles Nagy pitched four-hit ball over seven innings. Jim Thome put them ahead to stay with a two-run homer off dreadful Boston starter Tim Wakefield in the second inning. And the Indians just rolled from there, exactly the way they have been rolling since April, to advance to the American League championship series.

The great thing about these Red Sox in October is that they don't just lose. They lose in their own special way.

And Friday night's special, creative touch was located in right field. Which was where you found Jose Canseco, of all people.

Now five years ago -- or even three years ago -- it would not have caused major apoplexy to see "Canseco RF" in the old box scores. But this is not five years ago. This is not three years ago. This is now.

To refresh everyone's memory, the last time Canseco wore a glove in Fenway Park was May 29, 1993. And he was wearing it to "pitch" at the time. He turned his arm into fettuccine while pitching that day. He has played precisely one regular-season game in the outfield in the 2 1/2 years since.

Then there was the last time Canseco played right field against the Indians. That was May 26, 1993. In that game, he showed what a heads-up guy he really is -- by deflecting an Indians home run over the fence. With his head.

"Our fence in Cleveland is 8 feet high," Indians vice president Bob DiBiasio said before this game. "It's much shorter here. So it only has to hit him in the shoulder here."

Meanwhile, the Red Sox were putting on one of their standard October clinics on how not to score. In the first inning, they didn't score because Nagy accidentally deflected a surefire two-out RBI single by Mike Greenwell to shortstop Omar Vizquel.

In the third inning, they didn't score because Canseco's line shot headed straight for Albert Belle's glove.

In the fourth, they did score one run. But then they left the bases loaded.

And in the fifth, despite the miraculous sight of Mo Vaughn

(error) and Canseco (walk) reaching base in the same inning, the Red Sox left them.

Get the picture? You can bet every Curse of the Bambino fan from Kennebunkport to Cranston sure does.

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