The 2003 baseball season - the regular season of 162 games that starts at the beginning of April and runs till the end of September - had its moments, as all baseball seasons do, but these little dramas took place against a backdrop of tiresome predictability. In the big-money American League East, for example, the teams finished the season in exactly the same order as they had finished the previous five (New York, Boston, Toronto, Baltimore, Tampa Bay). In the National League East, the ghastly Atlanta Braves (once owned by Ted Turner, now part of the AOL Time Warner empire) won their divisional title for a record 12th year in succession. By contrast, the 2003 post-season - the October sequence of play-offs between the best teams from the regular season that culminates in the World Series - was utterly spectacular, perhaps the most exciting single month of play in the sport's history. All but one of the best-of-five or best-of-seven series went to the deciding game, and each was extraordinary. There were monstrous reversals of fortune, individual heroics, horrible errors, startling upsets, long nights of almost unbearable tension. And then, to cap it all, there were the curses.
LRB 19 February 2004 | PDF Download