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Obsessed With "The Curse"

Obsessed With "The Curse"Boston's famous "Curse of the Bambino" has given the city's baseball fans a unique relationship with the American Pastime, says Provost Sol Gittleman.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [05.15.02] Is this the year to reverse the curse? It's a perennial question in Boston and one that has earned increased attention as the Red Sox continue to play their best baseball in decades. The city's famous "Curse of the Bambino" -- which is blamed for the last 84-year stretch without a World Series Title -- has given Boston baseball fans a unique relationship with America's Pastime, Tufts Provost Sol Gittleman told National Public Radio.

"The reason why [Red Sox fans] are quirky is because they have had such a long tradition of failure," Gittleman -- an avid baseball fan -- told NPR on Tuesday. [Listen To The WBUR Story]

Following the sale of Babe Ruth (known as "The Bambino") to the New York Yankees just two years after Boston's last World Series Title in 1918, Red Sox fans have become convinced that their championship draught has been caused by a curse left on the city by the famous slugger.

In many ways, agonizing over the Red Sox's woes has become a defining element of Boston's baseball culture.

Both provost and professor, Gittleman uses baseball as a teaching tool. "He teaches an American studies course using baseball as a way to view urban social trends of the 19th and 20th centuries," reported NPR.

While the average American isn't prone to dwell too long on history, Gittleman says Red Sox fans have a unique passion for the past.

"Americans don't have much memory and that's very good. We don't hold grudges and we don't have memory and that's very good," Gittleman said. "[But] Boston has memory and it's a curse."

Noting that the obsession with the "curse" can be a bit embarrassing for the region's sports fans, Gittleman said it might be time to "put their history to bed."

If the Red Sox keep winning, Boston's baseball fans might just take his advice.

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