After a few days communicating in the secret and exclusive blogger-only chat rooms around the interwebs, a partnership has been formed between Pyle of List and Strike Zones and End Zones. Our goal? To profile several overlooked rivalries in sports and educate the fans on their merit (I briefly forayed into rivalries a few weeks back with this gem). This week:
Babe Ruth vs. the 5th hole, Mid Ocean Club
JP: Unless you’ve been asleep under a rock for your entire life, you probably know much has been made of the “Curse of the Bambino” and it’s role in the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry (If you really have been sleeping under a rock your entire life, congratulations on finding the internet). Sadly, the biased sports media has only looked at the curse from the Yankee success, Woe-is-me Red Sox point of view. Lost among this hoopla is the dark side of the curse for the Yankees and it’s namesake, Babe Ruth.
SportsGirl365: While his successes on the field have been well documented, Babe’s luck did not always transfer to his other dalliances (well, you know. Except for with the ladies. He was pretty lucky there). One of his biggest off field rivalries was with the 5th hole at the Mid Ocean Golf Club. It was on this hole in 1934 that the Babe hit 11 balls directly into Mangrove Lake before finally clearing the hazard on his 12th try. While the Babe obviously had no trouble with a 490 foot outfield wall, he was no match for this 433 yard par 4.
JP: Babe lost nearly a dozen balls on that 5th Hole, but he also lost a part of himself and his mystique that day. Certainly a frustrating afternoon for a man like Ruth who was accustomed to success in his career, most notably home runs and being ugly. Never has Ruth faced such an obstacle that he couldn’t overcome. In fact, it seemed out of character. Until you notice that this was AFTER he was traded to the Yankees. A coincidence, I think not. Have you ever heard of him losing a dozen golf balls in the water BEFORE the Red Sox traded him? Sure, it may seem like a miniscule price to pay for World Series victories, home run titles and legendary status but don’t be fooled. The Reverse Curse is just as damaging as the “Curse of the Bambino” and the nearly 90 years without a title. Rumor has it that the Babe couldn’t ever sleep at night, haunted by the memory of the 5th Hole. While this has been blamed on worldly things such as drinking and womanizing, it’s just not consistent with what we know of Ruth’s deeply moralistic private life.
SportsGirl365: Hehe…success at being ugly. Good one Pyle. The winner of this weekend’s US Open will join Master’s winner Zack Johnson at the Mid Ocean Club in October for the PGA Grand Slam of Golf. Rumor has it that Babe’s ghost haunts that same 5th hole to this day. Will the invincible Tiger meet the same watery fate as Ruth? Will the portly Mickelson clear the lake, only to choke on a sandwich directly after? And is it a coincidence that both the World Series and the Grand Slam of Golf will be played simultaneously in mid October, giving the Curse multiple forums to wreak havoc?
The 5th Hole has claimed other victims, such as President Eisenhower and Winston Churchill, but no other opponent was taken down in the grand manner that Ruth was. And when ball after ball hits the water in October, they’ll blame it on the wind. But we’ll all know it’s the restless ghost of the Bambino, punishing all who take on the 5th Hole.
JP: Who cast the curse upon Ruth, you ask? The only thing we know is that we can never be sure. Perhaps a group of bitter, obsessive Red Sox fans (imagine that?) or a spurned lover. Maybe the baseball gods themselves cast their vengence down upon a man that desired to be their equal. Only the Babe’s tortured soul knows the real answer.