I started to write this piece before Game 4, just to give myself some perspective when I knew that Cleveland will be trying to close out a series against New York either in a game 4 or 5.
The fabled Yankees. The 250 million dollar payroll against the measly 54 million. A big market team against Cleveland. This was David and Goliath. It wasn’t biblical, but christ if I couldn’t stop myself from thinking it was at least a mirror to the world we live in. Goliath winning would be a reflection of a cold Capitalism, spending money to make money to such a degree that you can count the dollars stolen, and likewise double an opponent’s home run total, have a guy break the AL single-season Home Run Record, split 2 games at home, and still come on over to Cleveland to try and reassert a perceived dominance, all while polluting our minds with their grandiosity, their gross bat flipping mid-game, their bastardized version of what baseball never was and not at least what it could be. A Goliath like New York losing, with their utterly useless fanbase (who would dare boo a man in a 3-day slump after he just hit 62 regular season Home Runs; or throw bottles at opposing outfielders when their own team has just walked it off mid-season) and an ownership who are perpetually hellbent on spending and spending and demanding wins, clean shaven faces, and a presumed Yankee Pride…them winning would be like a day out of step with my entire personal outlook on life right now. I thoroughly believe in David. So much it makes me cry when he wins. Because it isn’t every day that he does.
I don’t cry when the winners win. I sit back with a general distaste in my mouth, knowing full well that those who rule the world — in sports, in theatre, in government — are not the truth we cling to in times of trouble. Every day I wake up and I am nearly certain we as a People have little chance to win a life as we’ve never known it: a time for peace and reflection, loving an extended family, and trying to live right in a world all wrong. Most days do not allow it. Yet I still wake up every day. I open my eyes. I read the news to make sure the world hasn’t ended, get up, make coffee, smoke a cigarette, and basically reset for another in a long line of days. I have trouble doing it sometimes. I think we all do. But when David wins, it’s worth it.
David and Goliath is an interesting story. In no small part because David does not beat Goliath with Goliath’s own weapons of strength. While Goliath tries to pulverize David, David simply sits back, fires a stone, and stands up in victory for himself, the everyman, the blessed Sisyphus, the down and out, the ridiculed, the Never-Won-Before. David does what he has to to survive, to triumph, to stand victorious before every perceived foe and claim, “By God, I really did it didn’t I? Well did you have any doubt?” Even in all my fatalism, in my pessimism, in my complete succumbing to the notion that We will never Win, I still hold out hope for that stone to find its mark.
And here I am, a man alone in a house, watching baseball, the Guardians, that David of a Baseball Team, lose to those fabled Yankees.
Well, It’s the bottom of the 8th. But it’s 5-1 so let’s be realistic for once.
Yet of course, I don’t want to be realistic. I want the underdog to win, goddamnit. I am so tired of the Mighty. They can mostly — in sports, in society, in government — fuck right off, with their big man boasting, their bat flips mid-game, their machismo. The Guardians wanted to win. The Yankees expected to win. And there is a difference.
For all my idealism, my romanticism, I am, as the whole of the Cleveland Guardian fanbase is, tired of this.
“Who’s Your Daddy,” they chant as the Guardians begin to walk the short step to the bottom of the staircase. Josh Naylor made a fool of himself. But either way, it was just a bunch of weak contact not placed well enough to just run their asses off. Easy outs, loud outs. They’re all outs. And as the audience at home is told the Yankees only hit .182 against Cleveland pitching this series, I fear my point is well made. David once turned those supposed outs into runs. Goliath with their one-two punch and the power behind it showed very well how baseball games are played anymore. Just shit loads of strikeouts, popups, and home runs. What a drag.
Even so, we cannot linger too long on why this sucks, because that is to diminish what the Guardians showed us this year. In a land of teams in dire straights, always losing without the long ball, this team hit and ran and stole and downright tricked everyone into losing to them 96 times out of 169. Remarkable. I mean, we got our home runs, and some big ones too, but in all that was working against them, a small market team proved they could win with those thousand little paper cuts. And even as you might need a shiv in the playoffs when Goliath is playing with knives, the overall look to the game is shifted. I do not at all like and even am 100% against the game the Yankees play. Bronx Bombers? Gross. I want seven singles in a row. Earn it.
Oh well. I am a bitter loser tonight. I watched almost every game this year and while they weren’t always well played games, this team had a heart and a chemistry that I’ve never seen on any team in any professional sport in my lifetime. They were nothing short of miraculous. I am damn proud to be a fan of them. And holy shit. Next year is going to be incredible. Just one pebble thrown. That’s all.