Two stories that merge:
In 1977, a man named Bill James self-published a book he called The Baseball Abstract. By 1982, James had gotten enough attention that a "real" publisher began putting out his books. Over the years, James became the world's most famous "sabermetrician" (a term he coined, which describes a particular approach to baseball analysis). James is pretty much universally recognized as the person most responsible for the state of baseball analysis today, even as others have taken that analysis into new and important areas. It should be noted that not everyone thinks James's contributions have been positive ... the San Francisco Giants, for instance, have a General Manager who is rumored to have once said that statistics gave him a headache. I've described the gradually increasing influence of sabermetric analysis as a "new paradigm" which, to my mind, is not coming quickly enough (but then, stats give my team's GM a headache).
Story #2: In 1920, the Boston Red Sox sold a player named Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees. Ruth went on to have arguably the greatest career of any player in baseball history, and the Yankees became the most successful team in baseball. The Red Sox, who had won four World Series in the 1910s, including one in 1918, did not win another World Championship for 86 years. The Curse of the Bambino became part of baseball lore.
And here the two stories converge. In 2003, the Boston Red Sox gave Bill James a job in their front office. James was not the first sabermetric analyst to find his way onto a club, but as the most famous of the analysts, he was a lightning rod for anyone with an opinion about the new paradigm.
In 2004, after 86 years, the Red Sox won the World Series. And tonight, they won it again, their second title in four years.
And you'll hear stories about heart and all those great Boston fans, and about Schilling and Ramirez, and all of those stories will be at least partly true.
But if you're going to allow for the existence of curses, you have to accept the possibility of their opposite. And so I give you The Blessing of Bill James. If I was a praying man, I'd be sending out a special message to the powers that be: please, oh great one, get rid of those fuckers in the Giants front office and bring us a blessing for a change.
That's not really the point, though. Analysis is the antithesis of irrational belief in curses and blessings. Quite simply, the Boston Red Sox are now successful because they know what they are doing. And they proved that when they gave a job to Bill James.