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Big League Stew

Red Sox on Ben Affleck’s birthday are 0-14 since ‘Good Will Hunting’ premiered

David Brown
Big League Stew

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How about these apples: The Boston Red Sox have not won on superfan Ben Affleck's birthday in the 14 years since his Oscar-winning film, "Good Will Hunting," appeared in movie theaters for the first time. They're 0 for 14 on Aug. 15, with two merciful days off, since 1998.

It's the Curse of the Benbino! The Red Sox didn't win for decades after 1918, legend had it, because owner Harry Frazee sold Babe Ruth to the Yankees in order to finance a broadway show. Anymore, they can't win on Aug. 15 because of a Hollywood screenplay, one that apparently has a rider with the Devil written into the fine print.

Boston's most recent loss on Affleck Day, by a 2-1 score at Toronto on Thursday night, reportedly was a "frustrating" tale of "missed opportunities" that stuck them with a 4-6 record for the road trip. That's not at all like the inspiring tale, co-written by Affleck and Matt Damon, of a secret mathematical genius janitor with personal demons who ... well, no spoilers from us.

So what about the tale of how the Sawx can't win on the day that their (perhaps) most prominent fan was born? Thankfully, Marc Normandin of SB Nation has compiled a recap of what's happened every Aug. 15 for the Red Sox since the '98 season:

1998: Here's where it all began. The first of what is now [14] straight losses on August 15. Boston dropped to 71-49 after a 3-2 loss to the Twins, whose win moved them to just 15 games under .500. Mo Vaughn and Mike Stanley drove in Boston's two runs in a game that John Wasdin started. What might be most incredible about this loss is that John Wasdin pitched five innings -- five! -- and didn't give up a single home run. Yet, Boston still came out with an L.

Not since Reggie Jefferson brought home Mike Benjamin with an RBI single in the 10th inning against the Twins, on Aug. 15, 1997, has Boston won on Ben's b-day. And that's how it's going to be, going forward, until some team breaks the curse of the Benbino. Either Affleck writes "Gigli 2" or forget about it.

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