World Series: Baseball Lessons from Texas and San Fran
I find it interesting that, in the week leading to election day, the two teams competing in the World Series come from areas that stand on opposite sides of the political arena. The Texas Rangers, from arguably the most conservative state in the nation, wear red jerseys on occasion. As red states go, it doesn't get much redder than Texas.
As for the Giants two words: San Francisco.
Red vs Blue, Tea Party vs Green Party, Flyover Country vs The Left Coast, Limbaugh vs. Olberman. Okay, we get it.
But here's the thing. I have yet to hear Giants fans accuse Rangers fans of being Nazis, or Texas accuse San Francisco of rigging the series. Neither team has denied their record, claimed to have won games they actually lost, or suggested that baseball will be ruined forever if the other side prevails.
With apologies to Tom Hanks, there's no lying in baseball. You win the game by scoring the most runs - period. You don't win by losing, then claiming you really didn't lose because your opponent should have scored even more runs. Or that you had more hits, fewer errors, or were more popular with the fans, and that should count more...this time.
Corked bats? Tampered baseballs? Steroid use? Yes, cheating happens on occasion, but the fans (voters) have no patience for any of it.
Baseball is about winning fairly, and not crying foul every time you lose.
The New York Yankees, despite a surprise loss to the underdog Rangers, did not launch a write-in campaign to force their way into the series. They didn't switch leagues hoping for a better shot in the National League. The Yankees didn't drop three dozen lawyers into Texas by parachute, challenging the Texas victory in court and demanding every play be reviewed by a judge. They lost. And if they want to win next year, they need to play better.
There's a reason baseball is still considered America's pastime. If a pitcher takes a no-hitter into the 9th inning then implodes, fans from both teams will likely stand and cheer his effort when he's pulled for a reliever. We cheer the upstart phenom who throws 105 mph heat, the aging veteran who hopes this season won't be his last, and the manager who's making the most of a second chance.
To be sure, baseball has its moments: the brawl that clears both benches, the manager kicking dirt on the umpire over a blown call, Robin Ventura charging the mound and getting pounded by Nolan Ryan. We love all of that too, because it's real emotion - not contrived and focus grouped.
We love baseball because we expect it to be pure. In fact, we demand it. We applaud the struggle for victory; with no apologies for wanting our team to win and the other guys to lose.
If only politics were the same.
My prediction: Rangers in six.
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