Ah, baseball playoff time again. Or, as I know it, the sports gods’ annual middle finger at me. I must have been a 1920s Yankee fan, or maybe I was in fact Shoeless Joe Jackson in a past life. Clearly, I did something to piss off the baseball gods, which is probably why I’m shackled for life to the Royals and Cubs. Not surprisingly, the ball always rolls back down the hill before I get to the top.
A brief and recent history for the recent baseball playoffs: Last year, against all odds, St. Louis won. Prior to that came the White Sox, the Red Sox, the Marlins, the Diamondbacks, and the Yankees (11 times or whatever). Every possible way to piss me off, the baseball god have found it. Unquestionably, my favorite World Series winner in the last 15 years has been the Angels in 2002, who I am completely indifferent to. Really, I’ve learned that the best baseball result I can hope for is mild bemusement.
This year, I am obviously cheering for the Cubs, and everything else is secondary. But, secondarily, the playoffs couldn’t have started worse for me. Cubbies lose, of course, but so do Philly and the Angels. I care about one of the 8 teams in the playoffs, and I can tolerate 3 others, and I despise 4 of them, and I am positive that all 4 teams I hate will win, and the two LCS Series will do nothing but piss me off.
Basically, I have little doubt that Boston, New York, Arizona, and Colorado will be advancing. I hate these teams, but for different reasons. My hatred of the Yankees, of course, needs no explanation. My hatred of the Red Sox, well, really that should require no introduction either. The Red Sox are really the exact same thing as the Yanks. They have more money than everybody else, and spend like drunken sailors overpaying for schmoes like JD Drew simply because they can afford to. I’ve felt this way about the Sox since well before their World Series, though I certainly hate them more since then. Sox fans were insufferable assholes before 2004, now they’re cocky insufferable assholes. I hope that if the Cubbies ever win it all that we never become like Red Sox fans, and that everyone who’s ever so much as changed planes at O’Hare doesn’t decide to write a book about the Cubs championship. So in a way, I almost hate the Sox more than the Yanks, because at least the Yankee fans are aware of their own evil. What I fear most in the AL is the seemingly eminent ALCS between these teams. Which will mean, 6,000 some miles west of LA, I still won’t be able to get away from this shit. Sports columnists that I enjoy and read religiously will abandon the NFL for 2 weeks and talk about Sox-Yanks exclusively. If this series happens, I might have to do the unthinkable and boycott espn.com, si.com, and others the whole time. By the way, I go to espn.com no less than 11 times a day.
On the flip side, I hate Arizona and Colorado for entirely different reasons. On top of that, I also hate the Diamondbacks and the Rockies. Mostly, I hate them because these are not real teams, and they don’t play in real cities. Denver and Phoenix are both places that nobody is really from, largely because both cities were founded some time in 1974. And, of course, both are 1990s expansion teams that came to be since the Royals’ last playoff appearance. These teams also violate several cardinal rules I have for liking a team. I don’t like any team that has existed for less time than I have. Also, I don’t like any team from Denver or Phoenix. And finally, and this corresponds with both rules, I don’t like any team named after a state rather than a city. Minnesota started this trend, but for years it was only them. Also, the Minnesota teams get a pass, because Minneapolis and St. Paul are similar in size, if not fame, thus it’s sensible there. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t like the Vikings or Twins, but I can tolerate their existence. But, it seems most recent expansion or moved teams tend to adopt this state model. I presume it’s because every city that matters already has a team, so the cities that get expanded to now have less cache in their name. That, or these new teams are founded by assholes. There is no excuse for teams called “Arizona” or “Colorado” because there is no St. Paul to Denver or Phoenix, Denver and Phoenix are the only “cities” in these states. Of course, the Carolina Hurricanes and Panthers are even worse, since they won’t even say which Carolina.
So, since the baseball gods hate me, we’re heading toward a Boston-Phoenix or a New York-Denver World Series. That, or the baseball gods will decide that this is the Cubs’ year after all, being that I live 14 time zones from Wrigley rather than 4 blocks away. Fuckers.