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Life good for game, Commissioner
10/28/2004 2:38 AM ET
ST. LOUIS -- It was the end of another compelling baseball season, and Commissioner Bud Selig couldn't hide his pleasure. The Boston Red Sox had won the World Series, ending their 86-year curse. Major League Baseball set an overall regular-season attendance record. Television ratings are up.

Life is good if you're the Commissioner.

"This year will be the gold standard by which all future years are judged," Selig said. "Somebody asked me today what I was worrying about, because they know how much I worry. I'm worried about how we're going to do better next year, or just replicate the year we've had. It's been that good. It's been a remarkable year in every way."

It was really a two-postseason run that began last October when the Red Sox and Cubs went the distance only to lose in their respective championship series. Those losses, to the Yankees and Marlins, respectively, created the foundation for this season and what Selig all year has called the "golden era of baseball."

The Cubs didn't make it back to the playoffs, fading from the National League Wild Card race during the final weekend of the season. But the Red Sox came back from the dead, and a 3-0 deficit, against the Yankees in the American League Championship Series.

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That unprecedented comeback -- the first time in Major League Baseball history that a team has done it in a best-of-seven series -- sent the Red Sox on a wild eight-win-in-a-row ride that ended on Wednesday night at Busch Stadium with a 3-0, Game 4 victory and a sweep of the Cardinals in the World Series.

The "Curse of the Bambino" is now buried, and it happened on Selig's watch.

"The Red Sox are one of those unique franchises where the loyalty runs very deep," he said. "The fans have had a lot of heartache, obviously, and a lot of travail. Watching them a lot the last week or two, I'm reminded of the things that have happened. Whether it was Johnny Pesky allegedly holding the ball, and there were all kinds of different versions; Bucky Dent's home run in 1978; Bill Buckner's error in 1986.

"It's almost like a regional or a national catharsis in a way. I watched people at Fenway Park the two nights I was there. I've never seen so many people praying at a ballpark. I've been at ballparks my whole adult life and I never saw anything like I did there on Saturday and Sunday nights. I think that tells you all you need to know."

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.