playing ball

I seemed to have surprised at least one of my blog readers when I went off about ESPN a few days ago. Yes, I like sports, and I keep meaning to write an entry on my thoughts about the major sports in the US, but I keep not getting around to it. Ah, well. I do want to at least get out my thoughts on the baseball playoffs as I've been a baseball fan the longest and this year's playoffs are some of the best in recent memory. The games have been close and well played with a lot of history around all of the teams. But, I just want to discuss the four remaining teams. I will probably completely bore most of you, so be warned.

I'd like to root against the Marlins because their 1997 World Series championship is one of the low points in baseball history. It was probably the only time a team genuinely bought a championship, and they promptly dumped the team in the off season. It was horrible to watch and awful for the sport.

But, you have to appreciate the way the team has managed to rebuild itself and get back to this place. They are a fun young team, there is no denying that. Still, they are young team with little fan support, so its tough to pull of them. Especially with who they are facing in the National League Championship Series.

You have to like the Cubs. They are the classic underdog. Their fans have been waiting nearly 100 years for a World Series victory. For much of that time, they weren't a contender, either. They've had some great players and even better fans who are some of the most loyal in baseball. The current team are a great bunch of players, including one the game's best ambassadors, Sammy Sosa. Yeah, I know the cork incident, but he built up enough good will before and since that he deserves some lee way. The Cubs are just a good baseball team that's handled a lot of ups and downs in recent years and a lot of downs in their history. But, the fans stick through it. Hey, I know they aren't perfectly loyal and their are a lot of fair weather Cubs fans, but with what they've been through, I'll allow it. It would be great to see them make it to the series, and given that I'm a National League fan (I'm old school, like that) I'll happily root for them there.

Plus, they have the benefit of having Dusty Baker as their manager. Dusty was shoved out of San Francisco after taking the Giants to the World Series last year. He's one of the best managers in the game, and the Giants didn't show him proper respect. Now, the Giants lost in the first round of the playoffs, and Dusty is still there. I'd love to see him back in the series and take it home, too. I can be very loyal to players and managers in sports who I think do a good job and aren't respected by their teams. I love the idea of them sticking it to their detractors, and I would love to see Dusty go all the way.

Fans of the Yankees are some of the most spoiled in baseball. The Yankees are never far from a World Series and consistantly field a solid team. So, its easy to root against them. Especially given the idea most people have that they buy their championships.

But you know what? The Yankees don't buy championships. The win because they spend their money well. A lot of their money is spent keeping players, not buying them. Plenty of teams have money and go no where. Plenty of teams have no money and win. Yeah, the Yankees have money and that sure helps, but they also spend it right. They don't have a flashy team of super stars. They have solid players who play well as a team and pick up the slack for their team mate when needed. They also have a great manager in Joe Torre. I may not want to root for the Yankees, but I have to respect them.

Ah, the cursed Red Sox. Given that I live in Boston, you'd think I'd be a big Sox fan shouting "Cowboy Up" (long story, which I don't really get) at every opportunity. But no. Yeah, I know they are a hard luck story like the Cubs. But the Cubs fans were loyal through the lean years. The Red Sox never really had lean years. They weren't loyal out of devotion. They kept rooting because they LIKE losing. They like having something to complain about. I know that's getting cliche to say, but its damn true. Trust me, I'm hear. Red Sox fans are the most impatient, whiny, ungrateful, self-important fans in all of sports. And that's saying a lot given the sense of entitlement that you find in Yankees fans. They don't express their loyalty through fierce devotion, but rather through knee-jerk hatred of anything that isn't Red Sox approved. We are seeing that clearly now after the absurd antics at Fenway Park for Game 3 of their series with the Yankees. We saw Red Sox players act like complete morons as Pedro Martinez threatens Yankees and Manny Ramerez gets nutty paranoid and starts a brawl over NOTHING. But is that the story? Nope. They are blasting a 72 year old Yankee coach, who has apologized, for charging Pedro after Pedro taunts him. Oh, and they are also obsessed over the story about how two Yankees allegedly beat up a grounds crew worker who was behaving horribly unprofessionally by rooting against the Yankees from the Yankees own bullpen. I say allegedly, because the Yankees players insist they just asked him to stop taunting them and the guy picked the fight. Frankly, I believe them, because I know what dicks Red Sox fans are. But its important that I say allegedly because NO ONE ELSE IS. I swear, all of the media outlets around here are treating this as fact. Just another thing to add to the collective persecution complex found in Red Sox fans.

The Sox fans don't deserve a winner. They don't want one, either. I'm hoping they don't get it. So, weird as it is for me, GO YANKEES!

Okay, I'll try to avoid sports for a few days so I don't piss off all of my readers. hehe.

Oh, and a special shout out to my blog reader Aimee, who I hung out with yesterday. Woo hoo!

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