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Bringing Home The Big One

by Trevor Freeman

It is 10:05 P.M. and I’m drunk.  I’m real drunk.  I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t banking on grammar and spell check to step it up a notch right now.  I got home at 5:30 and all I’ve been doing is rifling Yuengling. The person who said drinking never cured your problems has never tasted the beautiful amber ale that only Pottsville, Pennsylvania can produce.  
Why am I pulling a “Leo McGarry” and getting loaded by myself you ask?  Well…as I write this column my grandfather is negotiating with God in a Northern California hospital as he is suffering from a combination of lung cancer, diabetes and pneumonia.  As I’m sitting here racing through the thoughts I have of him in my life, one thing sticks out at me.  My grandfather never watched his team win the big one.  He has never seen his beloved San Francisco Giants bring home the World Series.  

Last year I spoke about the sports Gods and how it was beyond cruel that the Oakland Athletics could be left at senior prom searching for a dance partner yet again.  How of all the teams left in the October Classic, Oakland was the team that most deserved the title belt.  That this World Series was our right after suffering through nine consecutive losses in series elimination games….all of which were more devastating the one before.  What I never revealed is the true fear that lingers inside me.  That fear is that I will never watch my favorite ballclub win another World Series…….and it scares the daylights out of me.

College Basketball is my favorite sport to watch.  NFL Football is my favorite sport to follow.  However baseball reserves a sacred space in my heart.  Maybe it is the history of the game….the way the legends are revered by an older generation.  Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Stan “The Man” Musial, Rickey Henderson.  Willie Mays gets his own sentence because my grandfather says he is the greatest player to ever play the game of baseball (for those who care he offers that “Teddy Ballgame” was the best hitter).  The Oakland Athletics are without a doubt my favorite ballclub to follow and it really isn’t that close.  I think baseball’s great history is the main reason behind this.  The amount of time I spend on the Scout.com message board following posts by “Oaklady” and “ToddyBaseball” or on athleticsnation.com reading “Blez” borders between pathetic and grossly pathetic (before I get started on the next paragraph…….”Blez”…..I love you….I do….so for my sanity….between you and me….tell me you called the Angels the odds on favorite just to adjust expectations).

The thing about offering an unconditional love towards your sports team is that you open yourself up for so much more hurt than you normally would.  I can just imagine what Red Sox fans must have gone through while having to live through the 86 year water torture which was the time they went between championships.  How many kids saw their grandparents die…knowing full well they never saw their team dance with the prom queen.  How many kids grew up into adults fearing that they would never get to watch a champion?

Being a fan of a sports team is the one aspect of life that you can love but cannot control.  You can’t control Jeremy Giambi not sliding.  You can’t control Dennis Eckersley not getting the ball up against Kirk Gibson.  You can’t control Ken Macha hanging Huston Street out to dry against the Tigers.  All you can do is watch and pray for the best.  In every other part of your life, you can do better than praying for the best.  If some girl cheats on you………you break up with her.  If your job doesn’t give out a raise……you find a headhunter and get a new job.  In my grandfather’s case he couldn’t control Felix Rodriguez giving up a three run dong to Scott Spiezio.  All he could say was “Scott Spiezio….are you goddamn kidding me…..we are going to lose the Series because of Scott goddamn Spiezio”.  Now, he’s a Christian man so I’m sure he didn’t drop the G-word in vain.  However that had to be exactly what he was thinking.  In the end, he could control what happened in his furniture store or what he was bringing home for dinner.  But he couldn’t control a hobby that cared the world about.  He could not control the centimeters it took from making Felix Rodriguez’s pitch a good one.

It almost boggles my mind that the San Francisco Giants never got him one.  I have always considered them to be a worthy adversary.  I cherish the rivalry my Oakland A’s have with them.  I have never missed a Bay Bridge Series game and that is saying something since I now reside in New York.  I mean here is a franchise that had the Willies, Juan Marichal, Orlando Cepeda, Will “The Thrill” Clark and a young Barry Bonds.  Maybe having watched them struggle is what scares me into thinking that I may never see my Oakland A’s get another one.  No franchise in baseball has had the kind of talent my A’s have had over the past decade.  When you look at the players that have come and gone, it is a virtual who’s who of baseball.  Jason Giambi, Miguel Tejada, Tim Hudson, Barry Zito, Mark Mulder, Johnny Damon, Jason Isringhausen, and Frank Thomas have all spent time and left.  When you look at those names and realize that the Oakland A’s probably have the second best roster in all of the American League you have to wonder if the door will get closer to closing.  You have to wonder if our load has been spent.

Now I know what a lot of you are saying.  “Trevor you got your World Series…..did you forget about 1989 you jackass.”  I would argue that in the history of sports no team has ever had to apologize more for winning the Series than us that year.  Between the earthquake and then the blowing of the 1990 series, the celebration that should have commenced was subdued.  

Bringing home a title isn’t a birthright.  It is a gift for perseverance and it is the payoff for love.  To those who take it for granted…….just now there are those out there who wish they could have been there once.

If you have any questions or comments feel free to contact me at [email protected]    

9 replies on “Bringing Home The Big One”

awesome Exactly my fear about the Philadelphia Eagles.  I am afraid they will just never win a championship.   That it’s a curse that will not be fixed in this millenium.  

By the way you did get your World Series jackass!  If a natural disaster hit Philly the day we scheduled the parade for the Eagles, we’d still be dancing in the streets.  It’d be that kind of relief and joy.

Thank you The problem was that since San Francisco got decimated by the earthquake it was considered bad form to truly celebrate and loudly rub it in.  Plus I hadn’t started drinking yet, so I didn’t get to exchange high fives, get wildly intoxicated, and order shots of Tequila while boldly calling whatever A’s team that won the greatest team in baseball history.  

so if the earthquake had decimated oakland more, then it’d have been ok to celebrate?

i think at this point, the next championship will just turn all of us adults into a crying mess and all the kids will wonder what the hell is wrong with us.  

World Series title I guarantee you I will cry when Oakland wins the World Series.  No doubt in my mind.

If I could write like that trashed… I’d probably treat the Betty Ford clinic like an apartment. Very well done.

Also It reminds me quite a bit of a roommate I had a few years ago, whose father was a die-hard Chicago White Sox fan who passed away during the 2004 World Series… one year before the White Sox won their first Series in damn near an eternity.

Garrett and Matt Thank you both for your comments!  I won’t lie.  The next morning I went and reread it and I was really concerned about grammatical errors.

Baseball It really seems that baseball is the sport where you see teams that never get to the top of the mountain.  Where you see the most tortured sets of fans.  The Giants have never won in San Francisco, the Cubs, the Mariners, etc.  And that’s after both set of Sox won the Series.  It’s almost like being tortured is a part of baseball tradition.  

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