The San Francisco Giants, those three-out-of-five years World Series imperials from the Bay, pulled it out in seven. And they did it in the Midwestern ball yard of the Kansas City Royals who had just demolished them the night before with the spick-and-span and (we thought) terminal score of 10-0.
Two ‘Wild Card’ finishers in the Fall Classic were the subject of more than a few raised eyebrows and the blather of skeptical moldy figs. Never mind: we had been hoisted by the one of the more dazzling, postseason frenzies in the game’s history, a veritable Commissioner Bud Selig-storm, followed by a genuinely hard-fought Series featuring one club with mussels and the other with ribs.
Baseball is memory and numbers and faces and cards and wood and something your Dad said to you that you never forgot.
The 2014 World Series was hardly anticlimactic—it was a noble seven-game struggle happily devoid of “entitled” Yankees, Red Sox, or Angels. It was really a satisfyingly nerve-wracking see-saw conflict between two clubs that didn’t finish first anywhere but where it counts. This is part of what makes baseball so lyrical and timeless: the team that scores is the team that doesn’t have the ball. And whenever San Francisco’s astonishing pitcher Madison Bumgarner had the ball, the game reverted to a field of dreams.
The point is, you debated about it, even as you found the reality of a seventh, deciding game completely fortifying against the gathering gloom of November and a cold world without the national timepiece.
And now there is no baseball again till after the darkest solstice.
It occurred to me, as the stalwart Giants won Game 7: if this was the last day of the baseball season, then the grasses of time will again fold under and freeze. The winds will howl away hope till the thaw and buds of next spring. We will robotically pass away the frigid time under the gridiron charges of sinewy pigskin-men in helmets and our own holiday-driven neuroses, till pitchers and catchers and blossoms report and soften our hearts again.
The NBA, with its Bling-Bling human sequoias, is respectable enough entertainment, and everyone knows that football (when some of its muscle-heads are not in court) is what you watch to pass the long night between the World Series and spring training. Hockey, meanwhile, is some kind of refrigerated rink deal that melts outside of Canada and shamed itself anyway in this republic when it named one of its teams the Mighty Ducks.
Baseball is solar, clock-less, and remains the only game that celebrates a man’s ability to sacrifice and long for home. In no other sport does a team score with a “squeeze play.” Its rituals, superstitions, susceptibilities to rain and wind even in multimillion dollar stadiums, its men in soft caps—all speak to something deep within the bucolic essence in a way that no hyper-crushed goal line stand or methodical foul shot cycle or zipping puck can possibly replicate.
Baseball is memory and numbers and faces and cards and wood and something your Dad said to you that you never forgot. Light up the stove and let’s talk trades.
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