The fielding gaffes of MVP Manny Ramirez amounted to precisely nothing; Curt Schilling threw out his war game injury charts and played despite a hastily-sutured tendon injury; the Yankees collapsed in delightful, historic fashion; Cardinals slugger Scottie Rolen hurt his thigh and unexpectedly turned ice cold. Even Nomar’s sulking, played out in the chain of events; without Nomar dogging it, the fans would never soured on him enough to allow Epstein to trade him and put together the team for the final run at things. Maybe the lunar eclipse really was a sign. And so next season fans will continue to see the Red Sox spend money like its going out of fashion, continue to see a bunch of idiots (in caveman-lookalike center-fielder and skateboarding former Pleasanton resident Johnny Damon‘s words) who don’t run out grounders, continue to see an American League where pennants are won by huge-spending teams who can snap up free agents (the Sox have precisely two players who came up through their farm team) when they need power pitchers or a big-hitting middle infielder. What you won’t see are any more references to 1918. The Red Sox, for better or worse, are no longer a symbol for inevitable failure, no longer a metaphor for situations designed to gin up hopes and blow it all at the last possible moment, again and again. They’re just a pretty good baseball team in the AL East that wins championships now and again. They spend a lot of money and have irritating, self-absorbed fans. They’ve become a little bit more like the Yankees.

I wish my grandfather were here to see it.

The Red Sox got their championship; the Yankees got to feel what it’s like to be on the losing side of a historic collapse; the Cardinals got to watch Albert Pujols, probably the best position player in the National League, strut his stuff in games that counted (and he’ll be around; St. Louis, which is apparently packed with baseball nuts, has a legitimate excuse to say "Wait until next year"); and the rest of the world can finally, finally stop hearing about Beantown and its curse. I am not a Sox fan, although I work with Sox fans, I have lived within Red Sox Nation, and my mother is from Belmont, Mass. I know of the pain of the Bostonian baseball lover. But as sports pages spend the next few days running articles with titles like "Curse Reversed", it’s worth noting that other cities have their own problems. The 1954 Indians ran up the best record in the modern history of baseball, but Cleveland hasn’t won a championship since 1948. The city of Philadelphia hasn’t had a championship, despite four frequently excellent teams, in twenty years. And I imagine that we’re all going to have to hear about the billy goat if the Cubs ever make a run at the pennant again. Talking about curses is a fun way to distract from real issues, like the Sox’s refusal to hire black players in the 1950s (while other teams, including the Indians, transformed themselves with the new talent), or an ownership’s habit of running off players, or even the bad luck that Bill Buckner must curse every morning. But thanks to whiz-kid GM Theo Epstein (whose grandfather wrote Casablanca; I’m sure Boston thinks this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship), the wild card (which I still think was a bad idea), and a run of luck, the Sox are champions.

The fielding gaffes of MVP Manny Ramirez amounted to precisely nothing; Curt Schilling threw out his war game injury charts and played despite a hastily-sutured tendon injury; the Yankees collapsed in delightful, historic fashion; Cardinals slugger Scottie Rolen hurt his thigh and unexpectedly turned ice cold. Even Nomar’s sulking, played out in the chain of events; without Nomar dogging it, the fans would never soured on him enough to allow Epstein to trade him and put together the team for the final run at things. Maybe the lunar eclipse really was a sign. And so next season fans will continue to see the Red Sox spend money like its going out of fashion, continue to see a bunch of idiots (in caveman-lookalike center-fielder and skateboarding former Pleasanton resident Johnny Damon‘s words) who don’t run out grounders, continue to see an American League where pennants are won by huge-spending teams who can snap up free agents (the Sox have precisely two players who came up through their farm team) when they need power pitchers or a big-hitting middle infielder. What you won’t see are any more references to 1918. The Red Sox, for better or worse, are no longer a symbol for inevitable failure, no longer a metaphor for situations designed to gin up hopes and blow it all at the last possible moment, again and again. They’re just a pretty good baseball team in the AL East that wins championships now and again. They spend a lot of money and have irritating, self-absorbed fans. They’ve become a little bit more like the Yankees.

I wish my grandfather were here to see it.