The Giants won the World Series. No small feat. The baseball season is long. Not including spring training or playoffs, there’s 162 games. Every season bodies and reputations are destroyed.
While most people have heard of the superstars, your Derek Jeters and whatnot, most major league players are utility shortstops, struggling left-fielders or questionable bullpen arms. The average career is 5.6 years long, 1 in 5 players only play a single year and, at every point in a player’s career, there is an 11% chance that it will end. Although they’re the very best in the world, most of these players are not quite good enough.
The same goes for teams. Baseball has some of the longest championship droughts in all of professional sports. The Blue Jays have not sniffed the playoffs in about twenty years. The Chicago Cubs have not won the World Series since 1904.
No matter how hard you work or talented you are, it’s almost impossible to make it to the major leagues. Every struggling scrub at this level is the best player their town ever saw and ever will see. That doesn’t mean they can hit or throw a major league breaking ball.
Even if you get to The Show, it’s hard to stay. Over a long enough period, it’s impossible. Even Babe Ruth was garbage by the end. Most players, no matter how good, fail to escape with their dignity. Almost no one goes out on top. They get hurt or can’t perform.
Winning it all? Well, that’s one hell of a thing. No one can take it away.
Congratulations, San Francisco Giants. You’re the best team in baseball, 2012.
The baseball season is over. While I’m sure the bulk of my twitter followers are happy to hear this and it means you won’t have to put up with another baseball post from me for at least five months, it always leaves me a little cold. One suddenly loses a shared psychic space with strangers.
While it’s nice to have a few more hours in my day, it’s also terrible to flip through channels and see the sort of things people usually watch. The personal catastrophe competitions, the communal activities like baking cupcakes and singing turned into warfare.
I like sports. Not everything needs to be one.
This is the sound a city makes when it wins The World Series.
The entire hive buzzes with joy. But within that hive are hornets.
Any large gathering or celebration brings out some nitwits. San Francisco was no exception. The city convulsed in a cathartic display of exuberance. And some people don’t know what to do with that feeling. These people burn couches in the street. Some people just want to see a couch burn.
Within two hours of the World Series ending, I was watching an Occupy stream of riot cops and people throwing bottles while chanting “Fuck Detroit.”
A frankenstorm of Occupy, Buster Posey, and riot cops. Mix in a lot of booze, serve in a drone and enjoy the last months of 2012.
— Ryan Oakley (@thegrumpyowl) October 29, 2012
And that’s not even what bugged me.
It’s the tone some people take about this sort of thing, drawing a clear connection between sports and riots. Yet all of The Giants fans I follow in the city went out, had a good party then went home. Like reasonable human beings. It’s not sports. It’s just large gatherings. And not even all of them.
Music has caused riots too. No one would say it should be done away with.
And, fuck’s sake, it’s a little disconcerting to hear the claim that the police should have locked the city down from an Occupy stream narrator. It sounds as bitter as it does stupid. If your gathering wasn’t responsible for the drug and sanitation problems it experienced, how is a simple game responsible for a few drunken jerk-offs burning some couches? It sucks. But it’s life.
Get over it. And let’s all try to get along.
On Wednesday, I’ll go to San Francisco for the first time to see the World Series parade. This will bring about a million people into the city. There’ll be no riots, no burning couches. Just a good time and a city-wide party. Local businesses will make a fortune. People will be working.
High fives, hugs and handshakes will be exchanged.
If you’re going to blame sports for the assholes, you can also thank it for that.