Anyone who's familiar with my baseball interests knows none of my favorite teams made it to the World Series this year, but I was still more than pleased with the outcome. I'd been rooting for the post-season sensations Kansas City Royals up until they reached the World Series. Baseball is a game of momentum, and they blew away all their competition to that point. But I quickly realized the edge belonged to the San Francisco Giants, who last night won their third championship in five years.
Thanks to a guy named Madison Bumgardner.
This was an ace who powered through three games of the World Series, starting two and finishing out the last four innings in the final game, and he became a whole story unto himself, and that's the sort of thing you relish. By that point, who but Royals die hards wanted a different outcome? How was anything less than victory possible?
Watching something like this is a reminder of what makes baseball special. It's a game of determination, but it's also a game of patience. These days, what was once celebrated as America's Pastime is more often dismissed as something about as exciting to watch as bowling or golf. But who will argue that watching Bumgardner making history was anything less than thrilling?
Baseball is what happens when everything goes right. It's a chance for things that are normally screwed up elsewhere to actually work. Things like teamwork. Things like believing in each other. things like faith in the face of despair.
Watching World Series in the new millennium has been a consistent display of this. As a member of Red Sox Nation, the so-called "curse" that lasted eighty-six years ended and then we got three championships in ten years, and each of those teams matched the model the Giants exhibited last night, and I think the same is true of just about every team that has won since 2001, starting with the Arizona Diamondbacks. I think of the "rally monkey" Angels of '02, or the Cinderella Cardinals in Tony La Russa's final season as manager in '11.
It's hard not to be happy for Bumgardner and the Giants, winking Pablo Sandoval and everyone else. Better luck next time Royals.
And hopefully one of my teams will win next year!