Friday, October 7, 2011

It Felt Good

The headline in this morning’s Detroit News was TEXAS BOUND, signaling that the Detroit Tigers had overcome the Elephant of Baseball last night in a fifth game of the series in a 3:2 victory, in Yankee Stadium yet! Enormously tense although the battle had been, it felt very good. And the bonus was that victory came with the strike-out of A-Rod. All right. A-Rod had been slumping, but it still felt great!

If statistics hadn’t been invented in the seventeenth century by such giants as Blaise Pascal and Pierre de Fermat, it would surely have been invented when baseball dawned in the 1850s. Therefore this post will feature stats. Herewith a bar graph showing World Series winners:

Chart updated to show 2013 results.


The Yankees outrank all other teams by a mile (27 World Series victories to runner up St. Louis Cardinals’ 10). I’ve marked in red the teams we have been rooting for over the years, and they fall way, way below the top tier. We’ve also lived in the Washington, DC area—but there was no baseball team there then, the Washington Senators (1901-1960) had by then moved to Minnesota and become the Minnesota Twins. So we are linked. The second Washington Senators (1961-1971) moved to Arlington, Texas, and had become our next hurdle in the 2011 season, the Texas Rangers.

When you move about a lot, you acquire multiple teams to love—and what goes around comes around. Speaking of Texas, we almost became Texans back in the 1950s, and had we done so, this next battle, for the American League title, would produce the same kinds of inner conflicts that arise when the Tigers battle the Twins.

Here is how we almost became Texans. Our immigration sponsor was a Texas businessman. Such sponsors guaranteed the immigrant a job on arrival. That gentleman died unexpectedly as we were on the ocean, New Orleans bound—and New Orleans bound because we were Texas-bound. His son declined to assume his father’s sponsorship commitment, and the immigration officials then frantically searched for a new sponsor for us. She turned out to be an old friend of ours who lived in Kansas City—and we became Kansas City Royals fans instead.

Chance and circumstance. Hidden links and local loyalties. Skills and commitments—even in our pastimes. Odd thing, life. But it felt rather nice to be on the winning side last night. As for the Texas Rangers, they will be a difficult nut to crack. They’ve never won a World Series title and only a single AL Pennant—to the Tigers’ 10. In their eyes we will be the bad guys who must be overcome.

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