Anyone who reads this Blog with any regularity surely knows how much I love baseball in general and the World Series in particular. The fact that the Red Sox are playing this year makes it all the more awesome. But, I have noticed something lately about sports and sports fans that fascinates me, that is this strange notion that if one’s preferred team loses, it is always the result of either incompetence, or treachery.
Last night, for example, the Red Sox lost game two. They had a 2-1 lead going into the 7th inning. Manager John Ferrell removed his starting pitcher with one out and two runners on base. He replaced him with a left handed relief pitcher who had pitched brilliantly throughout the post season. This time however, the Cardinals pulled off an audacious double steal, then scored a run to tie the game on a sacrifice fly and the another on two errors on the ensuing play. By the time Ferrell removed his left hander, St. Louis was up 4-2, which is how the game ended.
This morning, a friend of mine on Facebook made the observation that the Sox had “blown it.” Others have blamed the loss on Ferrell’s quick hook of starter John Lackey. No Red Sox fan I can find has thought to credit the Cardinals for daring to attempt a double steal, down by a run. No one has lauded sore-ribbed Carlos Beltran’s clutch single that scored the insurance run.
Listen, I’m a Red Sox fan, but I’m sorry, they didn’t “blow” the game. They got beat. This is baseball. Stuff happens. Teams don’t always “lose” games, sometimes they just get beat. It’s no one’s fault. Give the Cardinals credit for a gutsy comeback.
Read your newsfeed the day after a big Virginia Tech game or a Redskins game. If either of them lost, you will be treated to a laundry list of reasons why they got hosed by the officials, or how stupid a coach’s decision was, or how horrible so and so is because of a fumble or an interception. The other team’s performance never has anything to do with the outcome of a game.
I suppose it’s a natural reaction of fans, short for “fanatic.” And yes, sometimes my teams do lose because of ill-conceived strategy, or dumb blind bad luck. But more often than not, it’s just…..baseball. Last night’s game was every bit as fun to watch as game one for me. It’s October, and I’m watching great baseball. I have a sneaking suspicion that whoever wins this World Series will deserve it.