What is the Sound of One Shoulder Shrugging?

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(photo from Yahoo! Sports)

Guess all those people who predicted that Houston was done were wrong. Turns out Albert Pujols’s titanic blast in Game 5 wasn’t really the death knell to Houston’s season after all but rather just a hiccup in the road.

Guess the ‘Stros had no intention of going down without a fight. Good for them. And so, we are left with, as Annette said, a World Series that includes a “never been versus a haven’t been since two years before they threw the thing on purpose. Interesting.”

And yet, in all of this, I keep thinking of Cardinals fans and the Cardinals themselves and how I honestly believe they’re a better baseball team than this and they don’t deserve this sour runner’s up trophy that’s seemingly been handed to them. I mean, look, no one’s gonna argue with the assertion that the Cardinals are a good team. No one’s gonna say that they don’t belong in the playoffs. This is not some barely peaking at .500 Padres team here. The Cardinals are a good freakin’ baseball team and I’d be willing to bet that if most of us who appreciate fundamentally sound baseball had geographical and genetic restrictions lifted, we’d gravitate towards the Red Birds. They’re just solid. So what the hell is going on here?

As a Red Sox fan, I’m surely not going to give them back any of the four games from last October. Those are ours and we get to keep them…forever. But I realized as I was watching Game 5, wherein I didn’t previously think I had a rooting interest, that I was cheering for the Cards. Maybe it’s because, having played them recently, I’ve come to like many of their players. The Astros were largely a big bag of NL mystery to me. I mean, I like Ausmus and Lidge. Berkman looks like a hockey player, or alternatively, like a lumberjack and who can’t get behind that? And Bagwell and Biggio have been playing since I was crimping my hair and proudly wearing a flourescent pink Minnie Mouse fanny pack. But I’m probably still a little pissed off at Roger Clemens, petty as that might be, but you break my heart, especially my earnest and trusting 15-year-old heart and I’m going to remember it.

But in the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t really matter to me. Major League Baseball has yet to make me commissioner – I have no idea why – so I don’t get to choose these things. Perhaps I’m just nostalgic for last year’s postseason which, though it nearly killed me multiple times, was such an adrenaline rush. If last year was a ride on that crazy-ass 420-foot, 120-mph, 90 degree roller coaster in Cedar Point, this year’s postseason was like the kiddie ride at Canobie Lake. They’re both fine and entertaining but only one of them makes you pee yourself with excitement and fear. And only one of them will have you bragging to your grandkids in 50 years about how you survived to tell the tale.

Obviously, I’m biased. I don’t pretend not to be. You have your own team in the mix and it becomes a matter of life and death. I can see how this World Series is exciting for White Sox and Astros fans. And I have no ill will towards either of them. Two World Series virgins is a good way for things to sort themselves out. But my point, which I’ve belabored for far too long, is that I’m not going to lose sleep over this. At least emotionally, I’ve moved on from baseball for the year. Yes, I’ll still watch the games and I’ll appreciate good plays as well as boneheaded maneuvers, but I can’t lie, the vast majority of my sporting subconscious is going to be thinking about the Patriots, and what they can do to turn things around, Tedy’s return, the Bruins sad excuse for a defense and whether or not Sidney Crosby is as advertised.

So congratulations White Sox and Astros fans. Enjoy the ride. There’s nothing like it.

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