In what is becoming almost an annual occurrence, the Yankees won again today, wrapping up the ALDS against –
What? They didn’t? Really?
Wait…be straight here? Two years?!?
In that case, I guess it’s safe to say that this year’s October baseball is nothing but typical. Not typical for Royals fans, at least, who, after not playing a postseason game since 1985, have won 6 straight. Not typical for Braves fans, seeing as they – finally – missed the playoffs, to which I respond, in absolute sincerity, “ha ha, you suck.” Not typical for Yankees fans, after their team – this bears repeating – missed the playoffs for the second year in a row. The common consensus is that the Yankees missed the playoffs because a combination of bad long-term contracts given out and poor in-game management, so, dispensing swift justice, the Yankees – why not? – rehired their general manager, held on to their manager, and fired their hitting coach, who apparently committed the sin of revealing that several 38 year olds were in fact around 38 years old.
But I’m not here to talk about the Yankees. Who cares about them? We’re here because it’s OCTOBER BASEBALL.
The Royals, after winning game two today against the Orioles, have won nine straight postseason games, going back to 1985. I don’t know how much longer their underdog status will stick, but there’s nothing to do but enjoy it while it lasts, because these Royals are a fun team to watch. Somehow, it seems like every year, the team that comes out of the A.L. is a fun team to watch, mostly because we haven’t been watching them (lately, anyway) come to Citi Field multiple times a year and beat the low-cost stuffing out of our Mets. Unfortunately, besides last year, the last few World Series have been less than pleasing for devoted fans of your favorite debt-ridden ballclub.
2013: Red Sox. Fun team.
2012: Giants AGAIN? And with our guy Angel Pagan, no less?
2011: Damn it, Cardinals.
2010: Giants? Nothing special
2009: Who do I root for, Satan or a slightly lesser Satan? Also, which is which?
2008: Oh, you mean that year we should have made the playoffs? Go ahead, Phillies, rub it in our faces.
2007: Red sox. Fun team. We could have beaten them though.
2006: Wait, were we not there? DAMN IT, CARDINALS!
2005: A sweep? In the world series? Really, Astros?
2004: Red Sox. Fun team. Cardinals, you suck. Yankees, ’nuff said.
So, of the ten World Series that have taken place since 2004 – since David Wright’s MLB debut, in other words – only three have brought Mets fans almost universal happiness, while four to six have brought this rugged band – rugged enough not to constantly scream in frustration about these men, at least – outright frustration. But we persevered, didn’t we? We picked ourselves up after 2006…and 2007…and 2008…and 2009. We endured less harmful – if not exactly pleasing – results in 2010…and 2011…and 2012…and we were rewarded when the Cardinals finally lost to the Sox in 2013. Is it much? No, it’s not – especially when the last time we finished in second place, Brett Favre was quarterbacking the Jets. But hey – it’s fun. And there’s no reason not to have fun while October baseball is winding down, unless you find yourself stricken with anger about Jose Valverde or something.
These Royals? They’re a fun team. They remind me of the Mets – they’ve got a manager who can’t tell a baseball from a bass clef, a young group of pitchers, and lots and lots of heart. The Mets have that – I like to believe that they do, at least, and from what they did in the second half of this season, who’s to say I’m wrong? Now, I’m not saying the Royals sudden dominance is an auspicious sign for the Mets. Anyone who looks that deeply for similarities is either kidding themselves or making excuses – Sandy Alderson, in other words. But seeing a team like these Royals winning, it gives you some hope, doesn’t it? That’s how baseball was always supposed to work – the team with the heart, the grit, and the sheer determination gets it done. Here’s hoping that the 2015 Mets, with some luck, can make baseball work that way again.