By Jason Keidel
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As a native New Yorker, I am allergic to all things New England — from the way they talk to Ben Affleck to our carpet-bagging mayor whose life’s work is banning soft drinks and arresting smokers in Central Park.
Indeed, Boston’s own mayor recently implored his constituents to “root haad” for the Sawx so that they may win the “World Series Cup.”
Add the reality that my blood type is Pinstripe, and you can imagine which way I will root in the World Series, which pits the wretched Red Sox against Utopia, the aorta of baseball, as red as a cardinal, as decent as apple pie, and as good as it gets.
A few weeks ago I suggested that the St. Louis Cardinals replaced the Yankees as America’s team. They rewarded the assertion by whipping the Dodgers and entering this Fall Classic as underdogs yet again, which seems silly at this point.
How many times must the world underestimate the Cardinals? How many Michael Wachas and David Freeses and Trevor Rosenthals must they plant in the fertile soil of Middle America in April and blossom into Wheaties boxes in October?
Forget that I would root for Red Russia over the Red Sox, that I would wear Castro’s Cuba on my chest before a David Ortiz jersey. Forget Bucky Dent and Aaron Boone and Babe Ruth and Dave Roberts and bloody socks. This is indeed a kind of morality play, the power, money and marble of the East Coast versus the prairie and prayer of the Heartland.
This is about front-running fans — of which the Yankees practically patented — who wear all manner of Boston hats but can’t name two players before 2004, against the silent minority of fly-over country, which we east of the Hudson River consider the land of rednecks and gun racks and Pabst Blue Ribbon.
This is about the haves and the have-nots, despite the fact that St. Louis has made more World Series appearances (4) than anyone over the last decade. We only acknowledge the red birds when they assume the cat bird seat.
This is elitism against realism.
Bostonians will reduce me to sour grapes, reminding me that my beloved Bronx Bombers didn’t even make the playoffs. That’s fine. One luxury of Yankee devotion is standing on a stack of 40 pennants. No one does condescension better than a Yankees fan.
Once you sold us Babe Ruth you surrendered your position, the pole position, for the next 200 years. To say the Red Sox compete with the Yankees in any profound sense is like saying the Mets compete with the Yankees.
By the way, there will be a fringe fraction of New Yorkers rooting for the Red Sox. It will be bitter Mets fans who would rather see the Yankees fan suffer than see their own children graduate high school. They are New Yorkers in name only, buried in grandma’s basement in the foothills of Flushing.
So for this week, if not this year, I salute the St. Louis Cardinals, and I beg you, their fans, to overwhelm the world with your passion, your purity, and your prerogative as our nation’s best baseball city. Please give the Boston Red Sox a big dose of red bird avian flu.
Follow Jason on Twitter at @JasonKeidel
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