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Opinion | Bill Littlefield

Good riddance to doom-and-gloom days of Red Sox

Now we know they can win the World Series at home, and we know they can win it against an opponent tenacious enough to hang around for more than four games.

Back in 2004 we learned they could win in our lifetimes. In 2007 we learned that 2004 wasn’t a fluke.

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It wouldn’t be fair to say that we learned this year that Mr. Potato Head could manage a baseball team better than Bobby Valentine could, but it’s tempting to entertain that possibility. The 2012 debacle wasn’t all Bobby Valentine’s fault any more than 2013 was entirely the work of John Farrell, but you get to be Manager of the Year when you lead a team that finished last to the championship the following season, right?

All teams endure injuries and disappointments, but only the Red Sox play in the city where two deadly explosions occurred during a tradition-rich sports event this past spring. Did determination to provide Boston with a source of joy despite the sadness and anger provoked by those explosions at the Marathon fuel this season’s Red Sox? You’d have to ask each of the players, I guess, except for David Ortiz, who announced loudly that it effing did.

It was instructive to see the Red Sox prevail after the misadventure that ended Game 3. Previous Sox teams might have surrendered after the obstruction call, not because it was wrong, which it apparently wasn’t, but because it had happened to them and could not possibly have happened to anybody else. Fans of pre-2004 Red Sox teams would have grabbed the image of that moment and held it as tightly as Gollum, a.k.a. Smeagol, grasped the ring. (“Ah, the Precious is what makes us special and doomed, and special because we’re doomed! The Precious. . .)

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Gone are those days, and good riddance to them say all who always regarded The Curse as hooey.

They can say that now because Fenway’s gates are shut, and soon the snow will drift against them. There will be no more baseball until February, and then it will be in Florida, and who will remember what anybody said the previous fall?

Bill Littlefield is the host of “Only a Game” on NPR.
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