After the sixth game of this lively but bizarre Series, I thought a lot about our own Game Six. I couldn't sleep for several weeks after that debacle, and spent most of the off-season trying to come up with a newer, wiser, more mature relationship with the Giants and baseball in general. I failed. When the team was in first place for all of 2003 and yet again failed in the playoffs, I once again wallowed in despair. I won't enumerate the ups and downs of the following seasons, we know them all too well. Then 2010 happened. Then I gained that newer, wiser, and more mature relationship with baseball and the Giants. I know, it's damn shallow of me to only grow up after I get what I want. But it's the truth. And as desperately as I want the Giants to win another one, I think I can handle it if they don't. Think about it--you only have a 1-in-30 chance every season of getting the Big Prize. You should be happy if your team wins a title once every three decades. Even if you believe that only, say, half of the MLB teams in any season have a legitimate shot at glory, that still means a mere 1-in-15 chance. That's one World Series title every 15 years. I'll be 65 in the 2025 season. The St. Louis Cardinals have been to the Fall Classic THREE TIMES in the last EIGHT SEASONS. They've got two wins (2006 and 2011) and one loss (2004). That's a hell of a run. They lost the Series when they won 105 games and won the Series when they won 83 games and won again when they were the Wild Card. Go figure. They are the the best franchise in National League history with 18 flags and 11 rings since 1900. Frankly, I'd rather see someone else. Enough of them already. It's not that they didn't deserve it--last time I checked if you win 11 post-season games they declare you the champs. And they did that. Fair and square. So "Congrats" to the Redbirds. But at this point I'd like to see every other club who has never won, even if I dislike them, to win a title. The feeling that we all shared last season was so marvelous that I genuinely wished it upon all baseball fans. So forgive me if I feel bad for the Rangers. They had a great shot at glory and pissed it away. They spat in the eye of the baseball gods and paid the price. A younger, crasser version of me would have gone "HA-Haw!" like Nelson on the Simpsons. But I'm not like that any more. Older and wiser? I'm not so sure. Older and tired-er, maybe!
Baseball is the only sport that has ever caused me to be philosophical. I used to watch lots of other games and I used to get passionate about the outcomes. Now I don't care. I enjoy following crazy shit like rugby and cricket and whatnot, but my involvement is purely recreational. Baseball is different. My devotion to the game and in particular to the fate of the Giants is quite unlike any other hobby, avocation, or passion that I pursue. It is close to a religious experience for me, a distinctly un-religious person. That is, I enmesh myself in ritual and have strict codes of conduct. I interpret the events on a non-local level. I embrace mystery and random fluctuation. I view "reality" as 162 stops on a rosary that I finger day and night. I pray for deliverance--to what I don't know, and for what reason I can't be sure. And now it is over. The Fat Lady has sung.
I can't wait for Spring Training.