Congratulations Giants and Giants fans! And, what a game! That was the quintessential pivotal World Series game kids act out when they pretend. Bottom of the ninth, the hot closer of the post season takes the mound, facing the heart of the opposing team’s line up and plows through the first three guys to save a two run squeaker, following six innings of an epic pitcher’s duel. Seriously, what a game!
Given my reaction to last night’s game, it was really odd to read the comments on my FaceBook page and listen to my coworkers griping about it this morning, and not because they’re Rangers fans either…and only five among the dozens are Dodgers fans ;). “Wow, I feel like the baseball season didn’t end this year, it fizzled.” and “Rangers and Giants? Wasn’t that the little league World Series?” and “With these teams, I just couldn’t bring myself to care.” were among my “favorite” comments. Really people? Were we watching the same post season?
I have read enough of all of your blogs to know that these sentiments no more describe everyone’s feelings than they do mine. However, the television ratings certainly indicate that a lot of casual baseball fans do feel this way and that annoyed me. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but today’s complainers are the same people who, in my experience, would be griping “Not again! How unfair!” if we had enjoyed a Yankees/Phillies match up instead. (And, if a few plays had gone a different way, we would have. Both the Yankees and the Phillies played great ball this year.) I know this to be true because, prior to the conclusions of the NLCS and the ALCS, the complainers in my hearing were already engaging in a little anticipatory “Not again! How unfair!” griping – not that this is any more fair or reality based a complaint than the others.
Clearly, the casual baseball fans in my general vicinity do not know what would entertain them. All snark aside though, this helped me realize that enjoying baseball for baseball’s sake takes context. You have to know the teams and the players involved in order to appreciate the strategies and stories within each game. Diehard fans always have context. Casual fans may or may not have context, depending on the match up. And, the most casual of fans must always have a very broad, surface context provided for them – it’s a subway/freeway series, one or both of the teams is one of the most storied franchises in baseball, one of the teams involved experienced a recent tragedy that made national headlines, etc. Given this, it’s no wonder my complainers didn’t enjoy the Series. If the only context they have is the broad, surface context, they can never appreciate a World Series like this one and aren’t really giving other World Series match ups the appreciation they deserve either. As if we didn’t know this already, it really is so much more fun to be a fan!