Sport: Giants v. Yankees

The World Series, U.S. sport's most celebrated annual ritual, was on. From Bangor to San Francisco, men gathered around television sets, elbowed along bars, huddled beside radios. Business was suspended, politics deferred, and idle conversation shushed. A weather bureau official studied the forecasts and solemnly announced that expected conditions—grey sky, a stiff northeast wind—were good for fastball pitchers, bad for curve-ballers.

But the crowds that flowed out of Manhattan's subways and clotted the intricate ramps into Yankee Stadium last week for the series opener were curiously subdued. The Yankee fan is always confident,...

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