Baseball: Night of the living dead as beardos relieve 95-year itch

Sport on TV

Given the luxuriant growth of beards being sported by the Boston Red Sox, the casual observer might be forgiven for thinking that it wasn’t the result of a pre-season bonding session so much as throwing fistfuls of steroids down their necks (though of course they didn’t) – in Major League Baseball that’s known as “Barry Bonding”. If everyone “wants a piece of you” after you win the World Series, the drug-testers might well have been in the mêlée on the mound after the Red Sox won the World Series (ESPN, Thursday), trying to grab as many hair samples as they could.

It surely shows how important baseball’s showpiece is that the decisive Game Six at Fenway Park was held on Hallowe’en and yet there was barely a skeleton suit or a Satanic pitchfork in sight. Yet with their devilish goatees and other more bushy growths (see above) the Red Sox could easily have passed off as some kind of nightmarish rural community stuck in the past – except for their chainsaws.

It did look as though they were a throwback to the early years of the 20th century, like those old team photos where everyone has thick sideburns, beards and handlebar moustaches. This is entirely appropriate given baseball’s fascination with its history, which combines a dreamlike mythology and an obsession with statistics in much the same way that its sister sport cricket does over here.

Game Six was no exception: the Red Sox may have already broken their famous hoodoo of not having won the World Series since the days of Babe Ruth – “I would say the curse of the bambino is long gone,” said summariser Rick Sutcliffe, inadvertently invoking at least one suitably ghoulish reference for the occasion – but Boston had still not won at their Fenway Pak home since’s Ruth’s 1918 side.

As is the way of these things, they had dug up – almost literally – someone who “remembered” the class of ’18, 99-year-old Ginny Tardiff. Commentator Gary Thorne was relishing the historical anomalies: the average ticket price this year was $2,000 – and Game Six had produced the highest price for any baseball match in history – whereas 95 years ago it was $1.62. A game used to last one hour 50 minutes (now it’s three and a half hours) and the whole series was completed in September because of the First World War.

It was ironic that the spirit of Babe Ruth should be conjured up since the great slugger (who was actually a  pitcher in 1918) possessed the cherubic features of a toddler, though that was not why he acquired his nickname. Not for him the scraggly bumfluff with chewing tobacco juice dribbling down it.

But it was only right that the Bradman of baseball should arise again because Boston’s victory was achieved almost entirely because of another display of batting genius by David Ortiz, aka “Big Papi”. He may never achieve the status of Ruth but he has certainly carved his name on the hickory stick of baseball history. “Offensively not one team has done anything,” said Sutcliffe. “It’s been one guy.”

And yet for all this excitement, the crowd still looked as if they were watching a horror movie at the cinema; they uttered the occasional gasp or shriek but were generally more concerned with filling their faces on the endless supply of snacks on offer.

And there was John W Henry, owner of Boston and Liverpool, flitting across the diamond after victory had been achieved, pale as a ghost and about as animated as a corpse. Apparently there was a crowd invasion but you would see worse at an Under-12s football match on Hackney Marshes. Fenway Park was a like a big, empty house that could have done with a few more ghosts to stir everyone up a bit.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: Phase Co-ordinator for Foundation and Key Stage 1

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: Phase Co-ordinator for Foundation and Key S...

Tradewind Recruitment: SEN Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: SEN Teacher We have a fantastic special n...

Tradewind Recruitment: History Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is an 11-18 all ability co-educat...

Tradewind Recruitment: Year 6 Teacher

£100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 6 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee