From Publishers Weekly
The C-word. Curse. Spell. Hex. However you say it, from 1918-the infamous year the Boston Red Sox traded Babe Ruth to their southern rivals-until the 2004 playoffs, the curse brought the Red Sox Nation to its knees and supplied New York Yankees fans with an unswerving level of confidence. For 86 years, the Curse of the Bambino fell upon Boston, blocking the plate on their slide into World Series success. Hundreds of heated games packed those decades, but few seasons compare to those of 2003 and 2004, when the Sox came this close to crushing the curse and, against all odds, not only crushed it, but knocked it out of the park. Vaccaro, a senior sports columnist for the New York Post, recounts those two most recent seasons while peppering his storytelling with colorful anecdotes from the ghosts of Red Sox-Yankees past-from Williams-DiMaggio to Jeter-Garciaparra. Few of today's fans know how truly deep the most heated rivalry in sports cuts (yes, even the most fervid fan can learn something here) or how thick the roster of athletes, coaches and fans involved in it flows. The author gives equal time to the players and their fans, going grassroots and seeking out the most dedicated followers to best illustrate the highlights of those seasons, and the emotions that accompanied each moment. Remembers Sox fan Mike Carey: "I was more nervous for game seven than I was for my wedding or the birth of my daughter." But by the end of that game, the curse was broken.
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The curse is over, and the Red Sox have won the World Series: let the books begin. This one focuses on Boston's rivalry with the Yankees. Vaccaro, sports columnist for the New York Post, has written a lively and actually quite marvelous accounting of the history of the Boston-New York rivalry, infused with his enthusiasm for the game. There's no trashing, gratuitous or otherwise, just an evenhanded account of a century of baseball, as he deftly weaves the history of many encounters between the pinstripes and the Bostons in and around the story of the 2003 and 2004 seasons. The parallels between those two playoffs are especially well done, as are the vivid quotes with which he begins each chapter. Even the hoary, oft-told tale of 1978 is handled with freshness and vigor. GraceAnne DeCandido
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