MLB General

The Enemy of My Enemy is My Friend: Choosing Sides in the 2008 World Series

“There is nobody as enslaved as the fanatic, the person whom in one impulse, one value, assumes ascendancy over all others.” -Milton R. Sapirstein

There are few things more aggravating than trying to escape mushrooming media hype of a story you just don’t want to hear. The internet is a demon the day immediately after your team blows Game 7, or your idolized all-star is caught in salacious mischief, or your star QB’s season-ending injury is documented in 14,000 different photo angles.

You’d think that New York City journalism would be so overwhelmed with news that it could avoid spinning out the same stories over and over. But as it stands, the only thing transpiring in Manhattan is the election. And the World Series. And trying to decide what’s less interesting is like trying to pick between sharing a cell with Omarosa or Andy Dick.

Philadelphia Phillies

Hoping for the end of the world

The Tampa Bay Rays are in the World Series. First pitch is in about 5 minutes and then it will be official. They are the Cinderella team, the feel good story, the team that went from worst to first, winning the AL despite one of the smallest payrolls in the majors. They have a storied franchise history that has reached double digits. They have fans that have followed the team since the first George W administration! That, folks, is dedication.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the ledger, we have the Phillies, the losingest franchise in all of sports (Washington Generals aside), a team that harkens back to the 1800s, a team that has something called tradition — you know, little things like keeping the team name the same, not changing up uniforms like the new spring fashion line, not having a ridiculous manufactured theme song (“Feel the Heat! Rays!”), etc. A team with a fan base that can make more noise with towels than all of Tampa with cowbells. A fan base that would actually appreciate a World Series and understand what it means.

And since we all know that (Sports) God is dead and/or hates Philadelphia, there is no question that the Rays will win the 2008 World Series. At 2:3 odds, they are a bargain. Go ahead and bet the farm.

Tampa Bay Rays

The Curse of Caroline

A weird thing happened.  Two weeks ago, the Tampa Bay Rays were on top of the world.  They were the cute story of baseball’s first half – even getting a bandwagon all to themselves.  This latest development made me gag, but before I was even done heaving, something had changed.  The Rays seven-game winning streak didn’t just end; it got obliterated.  Tampa Bay limped into the All-Star break like Lieutenant Dan, losing not only seven games in a row – but also the lead in the AL East.  In the middle of this unpredictable slump, I tried to figure out what had changed.  My father had a pretty good suggestion – so let me share a short fable with you.