Monday, October 29, 2007

Baseball blues

By now you know that Red Sox nation, ebullient after their second four-game World Series sweep in four years, were quickly embarrassed by a horde of 'fans' who staged a celebratory riot in Beantown.

Then today the AP's baseball writer, Mike Fitzpatrick, suggested the last four World Series have been borefests, calling this year "another yawner". In laying out his case he seemed overly hard on the Detroit Tigers from last year, specifically calling their series "a five game bore" then later saying "five dreary games". Why did I mention only Detroit?

He certainly can't knock the Cardinals for producing the dreariness since they beat the Mets in a thrilling 7-game playoff to reach the series then made mincemeat of a heavily-favored Detroit in five games, a team thought to be so good people were saying they might win "in three". Does he hate underdogs!? And has he forgotten the Kenny Rogers pine tar on the fingers incident? As to the notion that raucous victory celebrations are expected as in Boston, well, Cardinal Nation did no such thing last year. Guess the east coasters would call that boring, too.

Baseball has its problems, sure. Greed has expanded the season, expanded the playoffs, and is now expanding the games themselves. They start and end too late in the eastern and central time zones. But they've done nothing the other sports haven't done and besides, everyone understands the rationale behind "national pastime". Just try to change the rules and watch how people would scream.

Actually, in the four years Fitzpatrick refers to we've seen the following teams in the fall classic: Houston (first time ever), Chicago White Sox (first win ever), Detroit (first time since 1968), Boston (first win ever, now the second), and Colorado (first time ever). That's pretty exciting for their fans and a nice change of pace from seeing the Yankees every year. It was only a few years ago people were worried about powerful dynasties ruining the game.

Hey, is Fitzpatrick maybe just a disgruntled Yankee fan whining because his high salaried team choked again? Would he call some of their late 90s victories 'dreary' (Mariano Rivera got yet another save, yawn). Probably not. This is baseball in it's raw form. Some games are nerve-wracking, others are slow, sloppy and boring. The Series is designed to determine the best team, and we found it. It would have been nice to have seen a game seven with Casey at the bat, but such cannot always be the case. The designated hitter skew and steroid/HGH issues weigh much heavier.

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