I often wonder what it must be like to be a player waiting for induction in the Hall of Fame. There’s three kinds of players to be in this imaginary exercise. There’s the kind of player who knows they’re not getting elected, who are just hanging around for the fun of it, who are thrilled to simply be on the ballot. Then there’s the kind of player who knows they’re getting in, who is waiting on pins and needles for the call, who has probably been expecting the call for five years. What is it like to wait for a night that you know is coming soon?
I may or may not need to write about Games Six and Seven on Monday. The way the Kansas City Royals are playing baseball, this series could be wrapped up by Saturday night. Or I could be back here on Monday talking about the resurgent New York Mets, their ability to overcome the odds, and their triumph in the face of a growing cultural consensus that this year is KC’s year.
Instead, let’s talk about the despondency of being a fan, and of what it means to be a sports fan.
At this time last year, I was alternating between performances of a show at Second City (I was one of six co-writers in the Advanced Writing program) and running to the nearby Old Town Social or catching the Clark bus to walk to Murphy’s Bleachers to catch the tail ends of a thrilling postseason. It was a fantastic time to be writing, and a splendid time to write about baseball – and like many other Americans, I fell in love with the Royals. Which made the climax of the World Series that much harder, as they were stifled by the heroics of Madison Bumgarner (still the best postseason pitching performance I’d seen since probably Josh Beckett in ’03 and ’07.
I didn’t think the Royals could come back. Too many things worked against them. Their success was a fluke, a combination of momentum and luck that couldn’t be equaled.
The LDS is in the books, the next round is underway, and all ready my predictions are looking to be half-baked at best.
It’s time to delve into just exactly what these series are all about. October continues, y’all.
It’s here. The scent of pumpkin spice lattes wafting from the corner of every other muffaka on the planet. The sound of leaves crunching as you walk down the sidewalk. The Bears losing in September. Autumn has arrived, and with it…the baseball postseason.
So, in spite of what the scheduling gods and MLB marketing wizards may have told you, the postseason races this year have been, well, rather uninspired. I say this while living in the heart of Cub-Fandom on Earth – most of those involved have been decided for several weeks at least. It’s exciting and great that teams like Toronto and Kansas City are pushing each other for home field advantage, but at the moment, the only race is for who will win the AL West and which team will get to face the Yankees in the Wild Card play in.
So, on that note, here’s my picks and reasoning for the MLB awards.
Here at the Addison Recorder, I make no bones about it – I’m a huge fan of David Ortiz. The heart and soul of the Red Sox, he is the only man alive to have played on three World Series winning teams from Boston. And on Saturday night, he further cemented his legacy as one of the all-time great power hitters by slugging his 499th and 500th home runs.
Well, it’s been a fun summer hiatus. Some of us have moved, some of us have started new jobs, others have finished old jobs, and still others have stayed exactly where they are. Were I a writer of lazy sensibilities, I would talk about how this turbulence is reflected by the chaos of the Major League Baseball season. However, not only is this turbulence a part of life for any and all, it is also an annual rite of August baseball that teams’ fortunes are in a perpetual state of rise and fall.
Sparky Anderson once said the season begins for real right around June 1st. The logic follows that if you’re right around .500 at the start of June, you’ve got just as good a chance at making a run as anybody in baseball. If you’re below…well, the Trade Deadline should be exciting this year.
Right now, the best stories are of those teams that once were lost but now have found some semblance of identity. And there’s two of them competing in the Central Divisions of both the American and National Leagues.