Some Uneducated Observations About Baseball

Steampunk-styled image of Texas Rangers baseball players
[AI-generated image via DreamStudio]

I readily admit to being woefully unqualified to hold — let alone express — any opinions about professional baseball (and, to be honest, any other sport with the possible exception of cycling, which pretty much nobody but me and Jason Gay and some French people care about). I’ve watched precisely zero minutes of baseball this season. It wasn’t until I read that the Houston Astros and the Texas Rangers were playing for the American League Conference championship that I knew that the Rangers lost their division (to the Astros) on the last day of the regular season. Well, I think that’s what happened.

As it turned out, losing the division was a Very Good Thing for the Rangers, because it made them the visiting team in the playoff series with the Astros, which obviously meant that the Astros were the home team. Even I know that in a best-of-seven series, the home team gets to play four of those games in its home stadium, which was a Very Bad Thing for the Astros because when it comes to playing at home, they — pardon my French — suck. OK, I know that only because my pal Tommy, an ardent Astros fan, told me so.

I did some in-depth research and analysis involving up to one Google search and verified this conclusion: the Astros — oh, and by the way, I’ll not ever refer to them as the ‘Stros, not out of respect but because Safari’s autocorrect insists on turning that into strop (if lower case) or Soros (if uppercase), neither of which have anything to do with baseball, although that could be yet another thing I get wrong in this post — lost more games at home than they won (40-47, including the playoffs) and they were pretty amazing on the road (56-30). By contrast, the Rangers ended up at 48-41 on the road, including playoffs.

Of course, as in the stock market, past performance is not a reliable indicator of future results, except when it is. In this case, it was. As we all know by now, this was the first time in recorded human history that the visiting team won every game in a best-of-seven playoff series. OK, maybe there was one other one, but Astros fans prefer not to dwell on that one.

Now, while I don’t watch sports, I do follow the significant matches after-the-fact so that I can pretend to be engaged and knowledgeable before Sunday School, and the ALCS is no different in that regard. From what I read online, via the NYT (yes, I have an online subscription…feel free to retire to the closest available fainting couch) and my Facebook feed, the Astros fans and the Rangers fans will not be sending each other any Christmas cards this year.

Meme - The Hate is Strong with This One - Yoda wearing a Houston Astros ball cap
Et tu, Yoda?

OK…time out. I know that you, dear reader, have extremely high journalistic standards and your expectation that the Gazette will meet (or exceed!) them, while misplaced, is fair. So, let me be honest and open about my allegiances in this area: I couldn’t care less. I think it’s pretty cool that 50% of the teams vying for the World Series slots are from Texas, and it’s a shame that they came from the same division and couldn’t fill 100% of those slots. But if the Astros had won, I would [silently] pull for them in the Series, and likewise I’ll [silently] pull for the Rangers. I kinda get the impression that most Astros fans don’t share my Switzerlandish stance in this matter. [Now…if there was money or my weight in dark chocolate Snickers on the line, I’d admit to a very slight bias toward the Rangers, having spent seven years of the early part of my career in the Metroplex. Also, for some unknown reason, the Rangers, along with the Dallas Cowboys, were always the preferred team by most people I knew growing up in far West Texas. And, finally, I tend to pull for the underdog. That’s part of the genetic makeup of being an Aggie.]

Where was I? Oh, yeah…the hate thing. I feel strongly that the Astros fans were to blame for last night’s loss, and I based that on science, as explained in the historically-accurate paranormal documentary, Ghostbusters II.

Still from Ghostbusters II - The river of evil slime
The River of Hateful Slime running beneath Minute Maid Park

As every public school educated child knows, The City That Never Sleeps Except During This Year’s ALCS was almost destroyed by Vigo the Carpathian, whose primary weapon is a river of slime that is activated by the hateful emotions of Houston Astros fans New Yorkers. Once the intrepid Ghostbusters determine that hate is the driving force, they manage to defeat Vigo by teaching the jaded New Yorkers to sing Kumbaya under the watchful eye of an 800-feet tall Statue of Liberty, thereby love-bombing the enemy into lasting defeat, or until the next sequel, whichever comes first.

It’s only logical that if the Astros fans would have thought of Adolis Garcia as Vigo the Carpathian, and greeted him and his team with love instead of hate, the outcome of Game 7 would have been vastly different.

Well, as we Aggies have tattooed in various parts of our anatomy, wait until next year. It’s sure to provide a better outcome for the denizens of the Bayou City (Motto: “It’s not really like living in the mouth of a dog”). In the meantime, can’t we all learn to get along as we’ve seen the House of Representatives do so often, and pull for whatever Texas team is in the World Series (which, incidentally, is a bit of an ego-trip for North America, if you think about it)?

Now, if you excuse me, I need to find some Rocky movie references to explain why the Philadelphia Follies will make it to the Series. I did get that right, didn’t I?


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