This post was inspired by a comment I made on a post called “No Baseball Beyond This Point” over at The Baseball Bloggess. If you’re a fan of baseball, you should check out her blog. She has a very interesting series of posts she’s recently started, writing stories about baseball players that were born in the state of Virginia, where she resides. She also interviewed me last year about baseball; you can find that post here. I have edited and added some words to the original comment to make the post “flow” a bit better.
At 12:47 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time on Thursday, November 2, the 2016 Major League Baseball season came to a thrilling end. As just about everyone knows by now, the Chicago Cubs defeated the Cleveland Indians 8-7 to win the World Series 4 games to 3. For a sport whose television ratings were said to be declining, this Series proved the opposite. Ratings were up throughout the seven-game series, with the final game being watched by over 40 million people. The games even beat the great NFL in television ratings when the games were on at the same time. However, with the final out of the final game, the baseball season, and what a season it was, is over.
Yes, the season is over. But this was fun to watch. A sarcastic shout out must go the MLB Network, for being the first place to remind me that the last team to match the Cubs’ feat of winning Game 6 and Game 7 of the World Series on the road were the “We Are Family” Pirates of 1979. So, the postseason began and ended with bad Oriole vibes. (The Baseball Bloggess’) mention of the Baltimore Orioles’ relatively piddly 33 year drought between championships was also a wee bit painful to remember too.
Despite that, I enjoyed watching this World Series. I am something of a baseball softy, so when I saw those Cub fans tearing up and expressing their long-suppressed happiness that their team finally got the job done, I teared up a little. Baseball was the game I first loved, and it was also the game that gave me my first cry. I’ve seen the Ravens win two Super Bowls, and I can’t remember shedding a tear for either victory. Happy as all get out, sure, but tears of joy, no. The Orioles make the playoffs in 2012 after wandering in loserville for a mere decade and a half? Waterworks.
Baseball is such a great sport, full of drama (and the last game did not lack for drama, especially late). It allows us to second-guess managerial moves (or non-moves), bemoan sloppy play that leads to unearned runs, and rue bad pitching from starters and relievers (especially the ones on your own team). And yet, it draws me every year, and it doesn’t even have to be the Orioles; I’ll watch any two teams just because I love the game.
That first cry occurred when I was six years old, but the Orioles weren’t involved. The team that moved me to tears was the Cincinnati Reds. I was rooting for them to win the 1972 World Series against the Oakland A’s, but the Reds would lose in seven games. As they went down to defeat in that year’s final game, I bawled. I remember my mother chuckling in the background, whether it was because she was rooting for Oakland or because she was tickled that I would get so invested that I would be moved to tears that the Reds lost, I don’t know. But that was the first, and definitely not the last time, I would watch the game with soft eyes.
Chances are, if Cleveland can come back next season and end what will be a sixty-nine year break between baseball championships, all it will take is some pictures of long-suffering fans letting their emotions out and I’ll probably tear up again. And if the O’s can somehow get over the hump and end their own championship drought, you can bet that I’ll have another case of soft eyes.