At Fenway, despair sweeps in
Yankee rout conjures a familiar torment in Sox fans
Yankee fans gloated after their teams 2-1 victory yesterday put the finishing touch on a five-game wipeout, to the dismay of Red Sox fans. (Jim Davis/ Globe Staff)
Five games were enough. Enough to douse hopes of a division championship. Enough to dull the memory -- was it just two years ago? -- of the miracle comeback in 2004. Enough to bring back all the old pain that some thought had been banished along with the curse.
As the mausoleum known as Fenway Park emptied and thousands of dejected fans spilled silently into the streets yesterday after the last of five whippings by the New York Yankees, Joe Morrone put it into words.
``Now we're going back to the old days," said Morrone, 70, of Mansfield, Conn., who came to the game with 19 family members, including nine grandchildren. ``It brings back the previous Red Sox psyche of always being let down."
Fans had their ways of coping. Some wrote off the season and looked forward to football. Others turned their ire on Sox management. Memories of the 1978 Boston Massacre, in which the Yankees swept the Sox in four straight, reared in some fans. And there was the fear that this marked the beginning of a new era of frustration for the Red Sox and their faithful.
``I'm depressed," said Jim Donaghey, 51, of Framingham. ``It's like sadness and disappointment. Back in '78, the better team won in an unfortunate perfect storm. Now, I think they're down and they've lost their confidence."
Many were too upset to verbalize how they felt. T-shirts that on the front read ``What does it take to beat a team of Yankees?" and on the back answered ``Idiots," seemed meaningless.
Morrone and his family waited on Yawkey Way for a glimpse of the Sox players as they drove away from the ballpark. Once Morrone started talking about the game, several other fans jumped into the conversation.
``I'm sorry, but there's a lack of hustle," said season-ticket-holder Debbie Mielko, 51, of Quincy. ``When the Yankees lost a big game in July, they had a team meeting, and they never looked back. That's not happening here."
Patrick O'Reilly, 37, of Scarborough, Maine, stood with his three best friends. They were at Fenway for their annual guys game trip.
``It's not as bad as the Boston Massacre, but I'm so sick of coming in second," he said.
O'Reilly was joined by Eric Higgins and Doug Bennett, both 37 and of Scarborough, and John Kelleher, 38, of Phoenix. Kelleher brought along his fiancée, Michele Hatton, 31, of Phoenix.
``Their attitudes are completely different after a loss," said Hatton. ``It wouldn't be this bad if it weren't [losing] to the Yankees."
One of the men joked that such a humiliation could even affect the libido.
``I don't take it to work, but at home it affects you," Kelleher said. ``It brings you down."
A bevy of Florida fans, many of whom flew up just for yesterday's game, acknowledged their trip was made in vain, but said they still hope for a turnaround.
``They've broken my heart many times, but I won't give up on them," said Beverly Sullivan, 46, of Jacksonville.
Added Dan Sayadoff, 36, of Hernando, Fla., ``I've never even heard of a five-day sweep before."
Sayadoff's thoughts were close to the truth. It had been a long while since the Sox were swept at home in such a long series. Yesterday marked the first five-game sweep in the majors since Boston won five straight against Toronto in 2002, and the first time Boston was swept in five straight since losing to Cleveland at Fenway Park in 1954 .
Amid the pain were flickers of hope. ``There are still a lot of games left," said Ken Boyce, 38, a season-ticket holder from Weymouth.
Adrienne P. Samuels can be reached at email@example.com.