Thursday, October 20, 2011

If The World Series Falls In The Forest ...

Raise your hand if you care about the World Series.

Okay. Now raise your hand if you used to care about the World Series.

If you're like TigerBlog, then you didn't raise your hand the first time and did raise your hand the second time.

There was a time that the World Series was a big deal to TigerBlog, as big as any annual sporting event. It didn't matter who the teams were either.

In fact, TB goes back before the World Series was played at night, to a time when they were all day games. His earliest memories of the World Series are somewhat romanticized, though not quite to the level of FatherBlog, who grew up a New York Giants fan in Brooklyn during the 1940s and 1950s.

One year while TB was in high school, one of his teachers - an English teacher named Mr. Ridley - allowed the students to pick one of the teams in the Series as part of a bet of sorts. If a student wanted to participate - not mandatory, but as TB remembers it, everyone did - then a team would be selected, and the difference in Series wins between that team and the other team would be added or subtracted from the next test.

TigerBlog bet against the Yankees - and it cost him two points on a test.

Game 1 of the 2011 World Series was last night, and the Cardinals beat the Rangers 3-2.

As an aside, the idea of allowing the league that wins the all-star game to have home field advantage for the World Series is nuts.

Anyway, as TB drove around yesterday afternoon listening to sports talk radio, he heard a lot about Rex Ryan's comments about how he'd have won two rings if he'd been hired as the coach of the San Diego Chargers when Norv Turner was or the merits of the Carson Palmer-to-the-Raiders trade.

He heard nothing - or very little - about the World Series.

Think it'd be remotely possible for the reverse to be true? Will there be hotstove baseball talk on the days leading up to the Super Bowl? Uh, nope.

This World Series is an intriguing one on many levels.

On the one hand, there's the Cardinals, one of the most venerable franchises in baseball history. They are led by arguably the best player in baseball, Albert Pujols, as well as a manager who is easy to dislike. They have gotten hot at the right time, have played some dramatic games in the playoffs and have had some unfamiliar players make a big leap to the forefront.

On the other hand, there are the Rangers, in their second-straight World Series - and second all-time. They have a very likeable manager and what appears to be a team of nice guys. They also have the most compelling story in baseball bar none - the resurrection from drug addiction of Josh Hamilton.

So why does nobody care?

Is it because baseball is past its prime? Because football simply dominates baseball? Because of the residue of the steroid era? Because of all of the other entertainment options out there?

TB spent years and years driving back from away Princeton football games listening to postseason baseball on the radio, usually from trips to Harvard or Cornell.

He's pretty sure it was the ride back from Harvard in 2003 when TB heard the accounts of Josh Beckett as he two-hit the Yankees in Game 6 to give the World Series to the Florida Marlins.

TigerBlog went on basically every football road trip from 1990 or so through about 2004. They are among his favorite memories of working here.

This even includes the time it took seven hours on a Friday to get to Brown, a trip that included a two-hour stop on a New York highway as the Pope's helicopter landed nearby for a visit to a church.

Traffic? Yes, TB spent hours and hours in it on Fridays, especially heading up 95 through Connecticut on his way to Brown or Harvard or Dartmouth. The goal was always to leave by 11 or so in the morning - but it never worked out that way.

Through the years, TB find every possible shortcut, alternate route, eatery and anything else along the various paths.

The Friday night before the game was often spent at dinner with the home team's sports information people, back when there was a greater camaraderie among the league's staffs, largely because of how much more had to be done in-person or on the phone, rather than by email.

Saturday mornings often included time spent at the tailgates, or possibly at soccer or field hockey if they started early enough and were at the same site.

TigerBlog won't be making the trip to Harvard this weekend, where the forecast is for 65 and sunny. It's a full day of Princeton vs. Harvard, with games in field hockey, football and men's and women's soccer.

It's the kind of weekend TB used to love. Lots to do, lots of people around. A chance to see everyone, enjoy the fall weather, watch some great games.

And then listen to the World Series on the way back.

Instead, TB has a busy day planned, and he'll find time to listen to the football game.

And maybe watch the World Series.

Or maybe not.

What's the big deal?


CAZ said...

Love the F. Scott Ridley reference... and see what betting against the Yankees will do to you!

Anonymous said...

Baseball is run by idiots. Over the past quarter-century, the World Series team with the home field advantage is 20-5. Only in baseball would a crucial component of naming the sport's champion be determined by an exhibition event back in July.

Half the teams in major league baseball have no -- none, nada, zippo -- chance of making the postseason. If I'm a player on one of those teams, do I even WANT my league's pennant winner to have home field advantage in the World Series? Probably not, as winning another championship just adds to the financial advantages held by large market teams such as the Yankees. Better that my All-Star team lose so that my real team is more competitive the following season.

Anonymous said...

I'm watching the World Series. Only because re-runs of the current season of The Office are, well, unwatchable.