Saturday, October 04, 2003

A Plea to the Baseball Gods

In a few hours, Boston may be eliminated from the playoffs, and the issue rendered moot, but right now, as I write this, it is still possible for the Red Sox and Cubs to meet in the World Series. All sports fans should hope this happens, but not for the reason you may think.

The most cited rationale is that such a matchup would guarantee that one of the teams would finally, after decades of heartache, win the championship for which its fans have so long pined. My rationale is that such a matchup would guarantee that those fans would finally have to shut up about not winning the championship for which they've so long pined.

Every year, as the baseball season gets underway, one hears the same sob story about the Cubbies and the Sox. Ernie Banks and Bill Buckner, the Amazin' Mets and Bucky Dent, Harry Caray and the Curse of the Bambino -- every year, the same old nuggets of history get dug up and displayed in preview after preview. It's as if they're the only teams in the history of professional sports to break their fans' hearts or endure more than a few years of failure.

The support garnered by the Red Sox and the Cubs in the face of their numerous collapses has been admirable, but after a while you just wish everyone would give it a rest. Remember how tired you NHL fans got reading about the New York Rangers and their decades of futility? Remember how those stories stopped appearing once they won the Stanley Cup about 10 years ago? Remember how great it felt that everybody stopped caring about Rangers fans after that?

Should Boston and Chicago escape their divisional series -- an iffy proposition, given Oakland's 2-0 lead in its ALDS with the Red Sox -- and make it out of the League Championship Series, one of those teams will win the World Series. And one of those teams' fans will have to spend the next year dealing with the mind-blowing fact that they can no longer complain that their beloved Sox/Cubs haven't won a World Series since Woodrow Wilson/Teddy Roosevelt was president. And the rest of baseball can rejoice at having only one team whose fans' frustrations have been overhyped to the point of insanity.


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