I am a baseball fan.
I live in a part of the world where people only care about football. The local National Football League team has been pretty good for a few years and has actually won a championship. One bad call away from another.
I’m not going to tell you where I live.
Our Major League Baseball team, by contrast, has not been so successful. After a short run in the late 90’s ending in 2001, the team has not even returned to the playoffs. I believe this is now the longest drought.
But I still love baseball. I love the tempo and the energy and the strategy and the fact that everything is not a euphemism for war like football.
And I love math and statistics. Baseball fans are crazy about their math. But don’t hold that against me. It’s only numbers and they don’t mean a thing.
Right now is the World Series.
The Chicago Cubs are the favorite and have not actually won the World Series since 1908. That was a good team. Tinkers to Evers to Chance. Mordecai “Three Fingers” Brown. I mean, it was a pretty good team.
And that goat kicked over the lantern that set the barn on fire and the team hasn’t won since. Unless I have my curses confused.
The Curse of the Billy Goat. I don’t know anymore.
The Indians, by the way, haven’t won since it was acceptable to be called the Indians. They should really change that name. As should the Braves and Redskins. None of your players are Native Americans, so why…?
The real answer is that the Indians haven’t won the World Series since 1948. You know, back when the Negro Leagues still existed.
The Indians, by the way, should have won in 1997. I remember this because my youngest daughter was born and I watched the World Series from the hospital. It was an ugly series. I was hoping Cleveland would win. Not the Marlins.
The General Manager of the Cubs is Theo Epstein. He was the GM when the Red Sox broke their curse in 2004. They had the Curse of the Bambino. I wish it still existed.
There’s something about the mythology of baseball. That curses exist. That a team can be so poor and we make up excuses like the Red Sox traded Babe Ruth and that caused them to never win a Series again. Until Theo Epstein.
If you are a fan like me, you have seen the near misses. The close games. The times that it seemed they just couldn’t break the curse.
My epiphany into baseball came in 1986 when Bill Buckner let that ball go through his legs. That was the curse. The Red Sox had this won. And a simple play went bad at the wrong time
I watched it on a tiny black and white television I received for my birthday that year. It had rabbit ears and I only received four channels.
It was still a great game.
I was 14 and that game. That play. It changed my view of baseball permanently.
Listen, we can run Markov calculations until the end of time, but what makes the game of baseball so great is the lore. The stories. I think of them like the stories of your religion.
Shoeless Joe was written when I was a child and there was a film based on it created not long after. It was called Field of Dreams. MLB Network still has players coming out of the corn.
The character that did not make the film version was the oldest living Cub. He didn’t make it into the version people would remember. He wasn’t actually the oldest living Cub. He had never played. Instead, his role in the book was to deliver the sermons of all sermons. It was actually a nice moment.
The Cub fans are some of the most unfortunate fans in the world. They really are.
But so are the Cleveland fans who had a gone over a half century without winning anything until this past basketball season. At least Chicago had Michael Jordan and that 1985 Bears team.
Cleveland had nothing. And they won’t have the Browns.
I hope the Curse of whatever goat tipping over lanterns continues. I need it.
I hate to believe that one guy can break two curses in his career.
And I need to revisit Shoeless Joe. It really was a good book.
That was a picture I took at AT&T Park last year when we went for a visit.
Baseball has that kind of aspect to it.
I’m rooting for the poorly named Indians and I hope they win. I then hope they change their mascot, because it is representative of poor decisions this country has made.
I then hope the one last curse continues.
I at least hope that the local Major League Baseball team can do something before that curse is broken.
We need a win.
And hope is crack for the brain.