Archive for October, 2012
Excuse my logic but as both a baseball purist and as a human being the way this Major League Baseball (MLB) season has played out has delighted me and restored my faith that the game still has an element of sports about it.
I think the ultimate story is the triumph of the Detroit Tigers. Despite having one of the worst records of all the teams to make the playoffs they emerged victorious and are now in the World Series. Miguel Cabrera won the first triple-crown since Carl Yastrzemski did it more than 40 years ago. This achievement alone is a once in a lifetime event for many fans to see. Yet what overshadows Miggy’s accomplishment is what this season can do to uplift the spirits of the people of Detroit. Just two years ago or so, I recall reading how in that city alone, some 9,000 properties were in foreclosure. The total acreage in foreclosure was equal to the size of Manhattan! It was suggested by some in the media that many professional athletes might not even want to play for a Detroit team in any sport for fear that people there couldn’t afford to go to professional sporting events. What professional athlete wants to play before a half full stadium or arena?
Yet here are the Tigers now, at the pinnacle of baseball success. Detroit needed this shot in the arm badly and Jim Leyland and company delivered it to them.
There were other feel good stories in MLB this year. The Saint Louis Cardinals lost their franchise player, one Albert Pujols and their veteran manager Tony La Russa who had guided them to two World Series championships in the past decade. As well, they like the Tigers had the lowest winning percentage of any playoff bound teams. Yet they made it to the National League Championship Series and almost knocked off the San Francisco Giants.
Then consider some of the other teams that made it to the playoffs. The Washington Nationals, Cincinnati Reds and Baltimore Orioles had all endured many lackluster seasons this past decade but found themselves’ in the hunt for the title.
Parity has at long last seemingly come back to the game. That juggernaut known as the New York Yankees has learned that the World Series trophy is not simply for sale to the highest bidder. Similarly, the Los Angeles Dodgers or Los Angeles Angels with all their money can’t just buy the championship either. Baseball has once again become a sport where the team with the most heart and soul can rise to the top.
For baseball, which was tarnished more than any other sport by admitted steroid use amongst even some of its most revered players the winds of change have been long overdue. MLB has gotten tough with dopers as evidenced by the suspensions, sometimes as much as 50 games handed down to users. Equally important though is the fact that it is truly a competition where anyone can win and true competition is the essence of any activity we call sports.
Copyright 2012; Greg S.