well, that little wager is pretty much all that's left to watch for now after last night, with the sox losing to baltimore and the yankees winning and clinching a playoff spot.
yankees beat up on baltimore over the season, winning something like 14 of the 19 games they played. while the sox are 6-9 against them, with a few more still to play against them.
***********************NY TimesSeptember 24, 2004SPORTS OF THE TIMESA Myth That Should Not Be PerpetuatedBy GEORGE VECSEY
F course, of course, the Boston Red Sox might be haunted. How else do you explain a franchise with such serial disasters?
However - and this is a gigantic however - we must all take a new look at why Harry Frazee has been such a scapegoat for decades. It is not a pretty story.
The alligators-in-the-sewers legend is that Frazee, who owned the Red Sox, sold Babe Ruth to the Yankees after the 1919 season to finance a new show called "No, No, Nanette."
Only in the past few years has it been drummed into our brains that "Nanette" did not appear on Broadway until 1925.
The demonizing of Harry Frazee only gets worse. Recent scholarship by Glenn Stout, a writer in New England, has revived the fact that Frazee was involved in a feud with the powers of the American League.
Because Frazee was a New Yorker and a showman, he was apparently fair game to be labeled as Jewish, when, as far as anybody knows, he was a Presbyterian of Scottish ancestry.
Anti-Semitism is no more and no less vicious when it is directed at somebody who is not Jewish. But that was the way a lot of Americans thought in those days, including famous ones like Henry Ford, the founder of the automobile dynasty.
Ford bankrolled a vile weekly newspaper, The Dearborn Independent, whose issue of Sept. 10, 1921, included a long and repulsive diatribe called Jewish Degradation of American Baseball. The article asked how the Red Sox had been "placed under the smothering influences of the 'chosen race.' "
The Independent then quickly explained: "Frazee, like so many of his kind, was in the 'show business,' a manager of burlesque companies. Then he saw a chance in sport."
And it goes on from there. This was not such unusual fare for the time, or today, but Henry Ford circulated more than 250,000 copies of his ugly sheet.
"He professionalized anti-Semitism," said Mark Weitzman, the director of the Task Force Against Hate at the Simon Wiesenthal Center in New York.
"He had the organization and the ability and the money to do it widely," Weitzman added.
According to Stout, the co-author of "Red Sox Century," the vilification of Frazee became encoded into sports legend with the help of Fred Lieb, a sportswriter whose career spanned seven decades.
"Lieb never boldly states that Frazee is Jewish," Stout wrote in the September issue of Boston Baseball.
"His barbs are more subtle," Stout continued. "The nearest he comes to calling Frazee a Jew is a reference to him as an 'evil genie.' The phrase is a knowing wink to the crowd, for the term 'evil genie' was an obscure and now archaic anti-Semitic slur."
Unfortunately, Henry Ford's bile has leached into the aquifer of cultural memory.
"Our name has been maligned," said Max Frazee, 49, an artist and construction supervisor in New York and the great-grandson of Harry Frazee.
Many decades after Ford and Lieb, a sports columnist like me feels guilty for advancing the image of Frazee as a craven loser.
Back in 1986, hours before the sixth game of the World Series, I wrote an early-edition Sunday column that toyed with the concept of some cockamamie curse involving Babe Ruth and the Red Sox.
(I had heard enough gloom and doom on Boston talk radio in previous days to sniff out inherent defeatism. Callers were screaming that the Sawx had to get Bill Buckner off first base in the late innings. They were the prophets, not me.)
My early Sunday column was written so it could go either way in later editions, depending on results. I rewrote it once - Sawx Win! - but it never saw print because I rewrote - Sawx Lose! - when Mookie Wilson's grounder trickled between Buckner's rigid ankles.
According to Stout, who has poked around newspaper archives, my 1986 column was the first time anybody had ever written about a curse involving Frazee and "Nanette" and Ruth.
Personally, I don't think I'm that creative. The image of a franchise haunted by Frazee had been scuttling around in sportswriter minds for decades. Whatever. Four years later, my esteemed colleague at The Boston Globe, Dan Shaughnessy, wrote a book called "The Curse of the Bambino." So now it's history.
All I can say is that I don't want to be a part of the Frazee legend. My chronology about "Nanette" was wrong. I never read Fred Lieb. I had no glimmer of any ancient anti-Semitic link to Frazee, a prominent and popular New Yorker who had serious enemies in other parts of the country.
"My great-grandfather made a lot of money on Broadway," Max Frazee said the other day. "This man owned property. His Red Sox finances were separate. They used a stereotype to deride him."
Enough. The Red Sox may indeed be haunted by some miasma dating from the sale of Babe Ruth, who turned out to be the epochal player in baseball history. It is time, however, to exorcise any image perpetuated by Henry Ford and his lot. Free Harry Frazee.