Monday, March 17, 2008

Hope Springs eternal


It's a time of renewal, a time for new hope. It's when fans of the Cubs and Indians say things like, "this is the year. This year the [insert team name here] are gonna win it all."

On the surface, it might seem a little ridiculous. There are twelve franchises in Major League Baseball that haven't won a World Series for at least 25 years (some of the teams haven't won since their inception as long ago as 1961...the Texas Rangers/Washington Senators). For Cleveland it's been 60 years and this will mark 100 for the Cubs. As the saying goes...when the sun comes up every morning, you come to rely on the fact that it will rise the next morning.

The Cubs perennially seem to find a way to blow their championship opportunities. The Indians haven't exactly fared much better.

Why should these teams, the fans of these teams hold out hope? Fans of the Cubs, Indians, Giants, Rangers, Astros, Brewers, Nationals, Padres, Mariners, Pirates, Phillies, and Orioles will all have differing levels of hope based on personnel, management, and ownership of their respective teams.

The fans of the Cubs and Indians hope to be this season's 2004 Red Sox, breaking a Championship drought that spans generations. Fans of the Orioles hope for a chance, in spite of the past incompetencies of Peter Angelos' ownership.

Why do they continue to hope, in spite of years of heartbreak?

Why, when there are teams that, on paper, that are better? Teams like the Red Sox, Mets, and Tigers.

It's simple really...

It comes down to two things. One is faith.

I've talked before about the religion of sport and the teams being the different denominations. It's no more evident than at the beginning of a season when, in spite of all proof to the contrary, we believe that the team we root for will be the one standing at the end of the season...whether on the diamond, the court, the gridiron, or the rink.

But the second is a little more tangible.

We watch the Red Sox break an 86-year drought to win two World Series titles in four seasons. We watch a Colorado Rockies team that wasn't even supposed to be a contender sweep its way into the 2007 Series. We see a Cardinals team that barely played over .500 ball during the regular season in 2006 win that year's championship.

We see these things and think about our teams, "why not us? Why not this season?" And we believe.

Ultimately, we believe because we're fans.

Go Sox.


Suldog said...

Being a fan in Spring entitles you to all of the hope and faith you desire. I remember absolutely believing that the Sox would win the pennant in 1965 and 1966, no matter what my Dad told me. In '67, I finally was right :-) I've been a faith junkie ever since.

Kevin Smith said...

It's no coincidence that author Philip Lowry published a book entitled Green Cathedrals about ball parks.

I remember sitting in my parents living room in 1986 when the Sox were down to their last strike against the A's and my mother said, "I guess they're not going to make it again."

I said to her, "no. There's something different about this team." And then Hendu launched that shot that propelled the team into the series against the Mets.

What a year that was.

sugarshane024 said...

It's great being a fan, isn't it?

Chris Stone said...

Eh. you guys are making me wish I was into baseball. But ya know, the great thing about football is its once a week, 4 months a year.

Come to think of it, that's the problem too!

David Sullivan said...

I fucking love baseball!!!!!