It’s late October in the USA and that means it’s time for the World Series, the Major League Baseball championship, for those of you just moved here from Pluto or beyond. Now, talking about baseball might seem a bit out of character for this blog, given the fact that we are only two weeks away from what may be the most historically significant Presidential election in American history, challenging the election of Abraham Lincoln for that honor. And talking about baseball may seem trite seeing as how this country, and the world pretty much, is in the throes of a recession that shows no signs of not becoming a full-blown depression. But both the election and the economy are the reasons why talking about this World Series is neither trite nor irrelevant to the themes of this blog.
Like this year’s election, neither team playing in the World Series can be considered a perennial contender, one of those teams like the New York Yam that almost always seems to be playing in the championship series. Both teams, like both candidates, more or less. do not fit the stereotype of World Series champions. Both teams have their own unique personalities and their own non-stereotypical style of doing things. Maybe that is why Tampa Bay and Philadelphia are playing this week instead of the Yankees, the Dodgers, the Red Sox, or even my beloved Cubs.
As I said just a paragraph or two ago, this year’s election will be quite historic, no matter who wins. the Democrats win, we will have elected a non-Caucasian President for the first time in history. If the Republicans win, we will have elected the oldest first-term President ever and it will be the first time a woman was on the winning ticket. Also, from all the reports I’ve seen on new voter registration, we may quite possibly see the largest voter turnout in American history, both in raw numbers as well as percentages.
This year’s World Series could be equally as historic should the Tampa Bay Devil Rays win the World Series. Te Rays are a very young franchise, having been established in 1998. The Philadelphia Phillies are one of the oldest franchises, over 125 years old. In their first ten seasons, the Rays have won 70, out of162, games only once. The other nine years they have won fewer than 70. Last year they were the worst team in baseball. This year they are in the World Series, only the second time in history a team has gone from the worst team one year to the World Series the next. No team has ever gone from being the worst one year to winning the World Series the next. The Rays have a chance to make history.
a Major influence on the economy is the mood of the people And, of course, the economy has a major influence on that mood. That’s part of the reason an economic turnaround in hard times is so difficult. The relationship between the mood and the economy becomes a vicious circle, a self-fulfilling prophecy
but people don’t like being depressed, so they will grab at any feel-good story to counter all the bad economic or political news. Sports, and especially events like the World Series. can do a lot to help alleviate the doom and gloom, especially when the event involves teams like Tampa Bay and Philadelphia, both of who have a recent history that is as dark as the mood of the country right now.
I’ve already cited the history of the Rays. The Phillies, who, as I said above, have been around for a long time. yet have only won one World Series Even my Cubs have one more Series championship than that and several franchises much younger than the Phillies have more Series rings. But what makes the Phillies story this year even more compelling from a mood standpoint is that no Philadelphia professional sports franchise has won a championship in the last 25 years – mot hockey, not football, not basketball, and, of course, not baseball. Philadelphia fans have a lot of gloom and doom, sports-wise, that a Phillies World Series championship would remove.
So, although there are no famous names involved this year, this year’s World Series has much to commend it to sports fans everywhere. And I think it is safe to say that many of the “unknowns” playing in this Series will not be “unknowns” after the Series is over. I think we will see some serious legend-making, both at the individual and franchise level. in this series.Like this years’ election, this Series should be one for the history books. So, if you are a history buff, even if you are not a baseball fan, follow the Series to watch history in the making.
Finally, if you are feeling doomy and gloomy, and who isn’t these days, this Series will be the feel-good story of the year, if not the decade. You don’t have to be a sports fan or a history buff to enjoy the good feelings that will come out of this Series, no matter who wins. I grew up a Phillies fan, so I am rooting for my home boys to win, but I will relish the emotions of a Rays win almost as much.
So, settle back and enjoy this October classic. It will be one for the ages.