I just had a crummy weekend, baseball wise. The NY Yankees lost three games to the hated Red Sox. The NY team can’t hit a lick right now, some of them are acting like high school drama queens and I have to face the criticism and “witticism” of Red Sox fan for a while. Not my idea of fun. But before the weekend finished its tumble to the depths of hell, my friend Bill in Las Cruces, a Sox fan for like 4 or 5 decades (talk about the depths of hell huh!), got the ball rolling in my mind when he made this comment after game one: “The Sox may be below .500 but they are 3 or 4 against whom it counts…” He was implying that Red Sox games against the NY Yankees some how count for more. An interesting observation.
I have another friend whose knowledge and baseball acumen I have a great deal of respect for. He played everything from t-ball to Legion Ball, was a Hhgh school starter and played in college for 4 years. He has coached baseball on the JV and varsity high school level and is now an athletic director. He was a prominent manager and winner in several of my fantasy baseball leagues. I trust his judgment in sporting endeavors, particularly baseball. We have had the discussion a number of times and he has told me that wins in April mean just as much as wins in August. To win 96 games in the long baseball season, you must win 16 a month, so yes they are all the same.
This, points to the metaphor of the baseball season being a marathon and not a sprint. Sprints can be lost in the first 10 yards, marathons are rarely won or lost before twenty miles is complete. If you have a poor start in a sprint, or lose your stride late, you lose. Have a bad start to a marathon or get some cramps mid race, you can recover and still do well. Yes, all things being equal, all baseball games are equal.
But my poor friend Bill raises an important consideration. He has been a Red Sox fan for maybe 50 years and has witnessed the Promised Land 2 times, with a mitt full of finishing out of sight. On the other hand, my team has a mitt full of World Series rings, but one major failure against the Red Sox. Yet we are in the same boat. No wonder the games take on so much more significance. For him, it is the symbol of failure, ineptitude, having the obvious waved in your face. For me, it is the world’s worse baseball moment, picked at like a big scab on the skinned elbow of life. Easy to forget and put behind you, but just one touch away from a bloody mess.
So, do some baseball games count more than others? Yes, yes they do. Wins and loses to rivals are more virtuous or more painful than to anyone else. Have your very own “Boston Massacre” in 1978, and enjoy the smiles for weeks, months, even years. Be there for the Yankee collapse in 2004, you have a scab to pick at any time you want.
I’m just glad that I have connections with such savvy, educated and passionate fans who understand the karma thing, who realize that what goes around, comes around, who are fans first.
Yes, I am talking to you…