The World Series
I’m surprisingly excited about this World Series. The Cardinals have become the Steelers of MLB—the team one half of the league sends up to represent it when it can’t come up with something better, and one that works for everybody.
The Rangers are particularly compelling because they lost last year. They lived with defeat for a year, and they go into this series knowing that if they lose, they might have that same feeling for a lifetime. They (many of them, at least) know what it’s like to deal with this particular loss, and they know as well as we do that they might never get another chance.
To which many people might say, hey, that’s nonmeasurable mumbo-jumbo, knock it off. My response is this: If we know who the best teams are by measuring, what’s the point of the playoffs? The playoffs are measuring something different, by definition, That’s why they exist. They exist to make heroes out people who don’t necessarily deserve it, which drives some people batty. To non-fans, it’s no less batty than us making heroes out of people we think DO deserve it, people like Barry Bonds, Ted Williams and Don Mattingly, who never won championships, nor invented the Polio vaccine. (Salk was a lousy shortstop.)
The celebration of one group of ballplayers does not have to be a repudiation of the other, and it’s not a stab to the heart of cold truth to celebrate the World Series champions for having accomplished something great. “The test of a first rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function,” said F. Scott Fitzy, and that’s something to remember when the games are played.
I’m sort of beating a straw man here, but I’ve spent enough of my life tearing down artificial constructs like the World Series, and now I’m interested in why we need them, and how they work. It makes everything more fun, for me.