Schadenfreude

20/20 Commentary

OFFSEASON REPORT by Gary Jacobs

Schadenfreude

Schadenfreude (n) (German) [SHA-dín-froy-duh] joy in anotherís misfortune

OCT. 10, 2006 -- In my office, hanging in places of honor, Iíve proudly displayed the front and back covers of the New York Postís October 21, 2004 edition, headlines screaming ďDamned YankeesĒ and ďWhat a ChokeĒ in typical Post 48-point type. I didnít hang up anything about the Red Sox winning the pennant.

A week later, when they won the World Series I didnít hang up anything about that. No, what resonated with me was not the uplifting of the Sox to the rarified air of the Winnerís Circle; it was the abasement of the Yankees to the lowest low of their modern history.

It was, in short, Schadenfreude. And oh, does it feel good Ė when youíre on the right side of it. When itís your team thatís getting its assets kicked in, it doesnít feel very good at all.

Take for example the Pinstripersí five-game sweep of the Sox at Fenway (a sweep that Gotham wags have already christened ďThe second Boston MassacreĒ) earlier this year. It caused Yankee fans everywhere to forget about the embarrassment of 2004 and revel in the Soxí misfortunes. One didnít hear about how the Yankees solidified their position as leaders of the AL East. One heard about how they took the boots to the Red Sox but good.

In fact, that was DOUBLE Schadenfreude. Not only did Bombers fans revel in our misfortune, most Sox fans gnashed their teeth not because we lost ground to the first place team, but because it was the Yankees who abased us so completely.

But such is the nature of a sports rivalry that redemption is ever around the next corner, and, if the rivalry is heated enough, your team doesnít even have to be playing to take part.

With the Detroit Tigersí swift, shocking, and decisive elimination of the Yankees this past weekend, Sox fans are walking with a little more glide in their stride than they were last week. Why? Schadenfreude, and a heapiní helpiní of it.

Not only did the Yankees lose, but the speed and manner of their losing has sent the organization into full tailspin. Fat George is blustering; Joe Torre, the classiest man in that clubhouse by a furlong, is in jeopardy of losing his job; A-Rod is answering questions about ditching his no-trade clause.

And Red Sox fans are soaking up every glorious minute of it.

Dave Smith, from Saugus, can barely contain his glee at the Pinstripersí downfall: ďI just think about what happened about a month ago, when the press was nitpicking about [David] Ortizís comments about the MVP, and Jeter got all smug and said something like Ďall we care about is winning.í And how far did that get them? Four more games than us. They didnít win [anything].Ē

Of course, we know how this yearís version of the Steinbrenner Follies will play out: Brian Cashman will make a few smart moves, Fat George will belay them with a few stupid ones, and heíll open the checkbook like itís never been opened before. Maybe this year he spends $250 million between buying out his ancient underperformers and signing the best free-agent talent on the market. And itís as likely as not that heíll end up buying another dysfunctional team who is weighted down so heavily with the burden of expectation that despite winning 95 games in the regular season theyíll fail to win three in October.

Hereís hoping, anyway. Because when itís all said and done, Schadenfreude feels pretty damn good.

Gary Jacobs, Boston Dirt Dogs contributor. E-mail Gary

BDD is a feature of Boston.com. All posts are by Steve Silva unless otherwise indicated.

Boston Globe:

Red Sox end losing streak > Shaughnessy: Debunking myths about the 2014 Red Sox > Cherington: Everyone needs to get better

Boston Herald:

Ortiz, Red Sox bats break out to end losing streak > Buchholz still bewildered > Memory loss haunting Red Sox

ProJo:

Lester was once a good hitter, now heading toward dubious record > Travis Shaw brings hot bat to Pawtucket > Ranaudo shines > Betts not a candidate for Boston, yet

NY Post:

St. Louis lets Ozzie Smith bid Jeter goodbye > Yanks prevail in extras again > Nonsense leads off in MLB broadcasts > Beltran elbow on mend

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