I have almost never discussed baseball around here since launching Camels With Hammers last June. But when I first began blogging back in 2006, baseball was the one of two primary topics that I would blog. The other was Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers. I also talked a little bit about Nietzsche but no atheism issues beyond those that came out of Nietzsche talk.
Anyway, I’ve been without cable for over a year now and so missed out on most of the 2008 season and all of 2009. I didn’t watch a single game on TV. The only two and a half baseball games I saw all year were live games. My head just hasn’t been in baseball given the other academic pressures I’ve been under and the other interests I’ve been absorbed in pursuing.
But nonetheless, one cannot be a baseball fan in New York—even a barely aware sort—and not have a keen sense of how good the Yankees were this year. As far as I was concerned the Twins had no hope against them. Now, maybe that wasn’t true—I know nothing about the Twins’ current constitution. But I know that a Yankees-Twins ALDS has always been a lopsided Yankee victory in the past and just assumed that we’d see a reenactment of past Yankee atrocities. And we did apparently. So, I didn’t bother to even hope or root in that scenario. And, mercifully, I didn’t see a single moment of any of the games.
But now, even though I have hardly followed baseball at all this year and even though I am not connected to the games and even though I know barely the first thing about any of the emerging storylines, the old pit in my stomach is back. It’s that time of the year when the Goliath emerges and threatens to take the baseball crown again and I have to desperately pin all my hopes to whatever Davids are sent their way with slingshots. The day the Yankees get eliminated every year is an annual holiday for me the last 8 years. I love watching with Schadenfreude as the Yankees suffer when their season ends. It’s the little space in the universe where I let the dark hateful impulses play, since it’s only baseball and it doesn’t really matter. Far better to hate and gloat over one’s enemies in a symbolic athletic contest, rather than in real things that matter.
But this year I fear the Yankees more than I have since 2003. Maybe it’s because I haven’t been watching and they can grow to even more invincible proportions in my frightened imagination than they are in reality but they sure sound scary this year.
The Angels are one of my favorite teams in baseball, I fell in love with them in 2002 and have stayed rooting for them ever since whenever I pay attention. They’re probably my third favorite team. I have a team in every division who I root for every year. In my heart I’m a Mets and Blue Jays fan. In the other divisions, I root for the Twins, Angels, Padres, and Cubs. After that my favorite team is whoever plays the Mets‘ closest rivals, and then whoever plays the Yankees, and then I root for underdogs, and then finally I root for whoever plays the Braves.
And fortunately, the Angels are famous Yankee killers. The only team in the American League that exudes a strange power over the Yankees. The only team that managed to play the Yankees to an even or better record consistently during the Joe Torre years. The only team to dispose of the Yankees twice in their last 7 postseasons.
Unfortunately this means that if the Angels win, it will only heighten Yankee fan euphoria. But it also means that if the Angels can pull off a third victory over the Yankees this decade, their mystique and legend as heroic Yankee killers will only continue to grow.
Let’s see the latter. Let’s go Angels.
Your Allegiances? Your Thoughts?