Tuesday, October 23, 2007

2007 Baseball Playoffs

As I mentioned last year, my rule of thumb is root for teams that haven't won it in a long time, unless I have a special interest in one of the teams. Under that criterion, the rank of worthiness for this year would have been:

1) Chicago Cubs, 1908
2) Cleveland Indians, 1948
3) Philadelphia Phillies, 1980
4) Colorado Rockies, 1993 (year of inception)
5) New York Yankees, 2000
6) Arizona Diamondbacks, 2001
7) Los Angeles Angels, 2002
8) Boston Red Sox, 2004

But that wasn't what was in my heart. First of all, I hate the Yankees, so they're always at the bottom of the barrel. In addition, I'm a recovering Red Sox fan from my time as a college student there (nowadays, I root for the Mariners -- a colossal mistake if there ever was one).

Still, I can't help but remain fond of the Red Sox, but I decided that while I would be OK with them winning it all, I wouldn't actively root for them. With their matchup against the perpetually suffering Indians, this resolve was put to the test.

I failed.

Starting in Game 1, I couldn't stay away from Fenway Park, the players I loved in 2004, and the guys I (purely by coincidence) have on my fantasy team. I found myself rooting hard for Boston.

Until Game 7.

Once the game was firmly in hand, I immediately regretted my feelings. The nature of the Cleveland collapse helped me put my finger on what was wrong.

For a long time, Boston fans claimed a sort of moral superiority due to their intense suffering. To be a Yankee fan was easy, and a bit of a cop-out; to adopt perpetually choking losers was to somehow embrace the reality of the world.

In this playoffs, however, the Red Sox are the Yankees; they're a juggernaut, loaded at every position and confident (arrogant) in their ability to prevail. The Indians are the Red Sox of old: a solid team, but clearly snakebit every time they were close to making it happen.

So where's that moral superiority now? Boston fans are left merely with the ethic of rooting for the home team. If it's not your home team, you're merely a bandwagon jumper, no better than people born and bred in Kansas City, say, that root for the Yankees.

It feels terrible. I want to say "Go Rockies," but I just can't bring myself to do it.

May the best team win. That's probably the Red Sox.

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