Thursday, November 13, 2008

leave the punditry to the indian scholars

The Major League Baseball playoffs were a tense time for me this year. First off, it was NEVER ENDING. Second, I couldn't get away from the superfans, which actually made me care less about what was going on. Third, my boyfriend and my brother are each devoted to teams who were battling it out in the first round of National League playoffs. My daily conversation during those several weeks included far too much baseball talk, and my loyalty was often called into question. It was enough to drive a girl to want to knock herself out with a bat.

But I maintained my ground. FOR THE RECORD: I will always root for Chicago, no matter what. And any children I may create in the future will have plenty of Cubs influence, but they will have the freedom to choose which team they'd like to support.

I thought it'd only be proper to have H post his own thoughts about this past baseball season after my brother had his take. Above all else, I always try my best to be fair. And while I hope that this will be the last sports-jargon fest on Do They Read Obituaries in Hell?, I realize that's probably just wishful thinking.

So here is H's perspective.


The 2008 Philadelphia Phillies are everything that's right with baseball. It's not easy for me to say that, but it's true. What I really wish I could say is that the 2008 Los Angeles Dodgers are everything that's right with baseball, but they didn't win the World Series and that still stings. But the Phillies, and even more so the Tampa Bay Rays, represent the greater good for fans everywhere. Neither of those teams were anywhere near the top of the list of World Series contenders, and yet there they were, competing for the ultimate prize in baseball. And while it pains me greatly, I can recognize the value in this.

This year's World Series should give hope to fans everywhere (not surprisingly, I'm still miffed it wasn't my team). The greatest (and worst) thing you can give a fan is hope. This year showed us that next spring, it doesn't matter what happened this year, it's all up for grabs again and there are no guarantees. All you have to do is make the playoffs and get hot at just the right time.

I was born and raised in Southern California. So when it comes to professional sports, that's where my loyalties lie.* I bleed purple, gold and blue. It never ends either, much to the dismay of Cadiz. When the Lakers were dismissed by the Celtics in the NBA Finals, I drowned my sorrows in many, many Dodger games. It wasn't therapeutic at the time, but then something extraordinary happened: We got Manny. Sure, I've heard the stories about him in Boston, but we gave up surprisingly little in the trade. We finally had a Big Bad that other teams would fear (by the way, did this feel like when the Lakers traded for Gasol? You bet you're a$$ it did, but nothing will ever be as lopsided as that Gasol trade. Nothing.).

Manny did the unthinkable. In two short months, he gave people everywhere a reasonable argument to nominate him for National League MVP while having played little less than a third of the season there. The Dodgers ended up taking the National League West Division title and ended up facing the Chicago Cubs in the first round of the playoffs.

I moved to Chicago right before the baseball season started. I sat through six months of "Go, Cubs Go" and "W" flags flying all over the place. Apparently, you "can't stop TheRiot" and Fukadome is people's "homie." I wore my Dodgers hat every day and thanked every Cubs fan for his or her valuable insight as to how much my team sucked. It didn't help that the Cubs swept the Dodgers during their only visit to Wrigley. (I attended two of those games personally.) I will say this though, Cubs fans at Wrigley were much more civil after a victory than the Cubs fans I've seen at Dodger Stadium after they win there.

But that was prior to the Ramirez trade. Leading up to the first game of the playoffs, I was amazed (especially given their history) at the confidence Cubs fans exuded. More than a few people I ran into had the Cubs locked into the World Series. Worse yet, the sports pundits were saying the same. That's usually the kiss of death as far as I'm concerned. So I issued my own warnings about how the Dodgers' pitching staff is better than they thought and how Manny had really opened up the lineup, but they seemed to fall on deaf ears.

We all know what happened now so I won't recount history, but I'd like to say a few things about what it's like to be a fan of the team that beats the most cursed team in all of sports—not counting the Washington Generals. First of all, it feels fantastic. Second, I don't really have anything against the Cubs. If my team isn't competing against them, I don't mind if they win. Really, they are the lovable losers that everyone makes them out to be. But I'd be lying if I didn't relish every single victory my team claimed. That is the life a true sports fan. And this is how you justify things like beating the Cubs.

After the Cubs' elimination from the playoffs, all the sports pundits (including some ludicrous simulation that said the Dodgers prevailed 67% of the time, which is apparently an overwhelming number in those obviously useless simulations), picked the Dodgers to easily beat the Phillies. I'll go on the record as saying that I hate sports punditry and prognostication.


*He also follows the St. Louis Rams (which incidentally have gold and blue as their colors) because they originally were a Los Angeles team.


SupaCoo said...

To think, I used to work for MLB and now I can't even follow the sport from this strange country.

Sphincter said...

Oh my. Cadiz? That's a whole lotta baseball in one's life. Sounds like the best sport around there is YOU.