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Saturday, September 23, 2006

What Good Does It Do Now for the Last Place Ms to Beat the World Champ Chicago White Sox?

Posted by on September 23 at 10:29 AM

It does a lot of good, according to my brother Billóbut mostly for bitter Cubs fans. My brother is a college prof, a baseball historian, a Cubs fan, and a world-class Cracker Scholar. He wrote to share his thoughtsóand his thanksówith Ms fans…

To add to the Slog conversation about sports, I’d like to extend thanks from the North Side of Chicago to the Mariners, for their help in playing spoiler against the White Sox.

Folks who don’t get sports (hi, Gurldoggie!), and even some who sorta get it, just don’t understand that it’s not all about winning. If it were, sports fans would all go mad. There are lots of things to enjoy about a game or a series, even if your team is mired in last place in a crappy division, like the Mariners are right now. They have no chance whatsoever of winning anything meaningful, so why watch?

To watch them prevent someone else from winning something meaningful, that’s why. While teams detest the terms “spoiler,” that’s what a last place team beating a team in contention for the playoffs is, one team spoiling another’s chances. But the essence of competition demands that teams play this role: professionals want to win every game they play, and they don’t want to be on the field when another team clinches a playoff spot or championship. Pennant races are often determined by last place teams: in 2003, the Cubs only made the playoffs because the last-place Brewers beat up on the Astros, allowing the Cubs to win the division by one game.

Over the last two days, the Mariners have trounced the White Sox, moving the White Sox closer to elimination from post-season play. By a combined score of 20-6, they took Thursday and Friday’s games, and over the next two days (depending on what the Twins and Tigers do) could drive the final nails in the coffin of the White Sox and their fans’ dream of repeating as champs. As a Cubs fan, I am risking cosmic payback by even talking about this before the Sox are actually eliminated, of course, but I’m willing to take that chance.

So, Seattle sports fans, watch the Mariners and enjoy the bitter taste of being a spoiler. It’s one of the things that makes sports great.

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Dan, didn't know your brother was a prof! You come from an accomplished family. People who don't understand sports are assholes. Baseball and Football are what make America great. As long I can kick back with a beer and watch American Corporate Sports on television, I know the islamo-fucks haven't won. Thanks for the great sports coverage in The Stranger.

It's "M's" not "Ms" that's Gloria Steinem's magizine.

They DID have another one in the bag today, leading 7-2, but Joel Pineiro came in to pitch and decided to do what he does best: shit the bed. 11-7 White Sox in the 9th.

Also, the field's in crappy condition thanks to rain and the game should've been called after 5 innings, but whatever.

Pettiness, thy name is cubs fans...

Sure, I'll take the bait.

National sports in general (and football in particular) encourage folks like the Savages and millions of other people to dispense with their own identity for the sake of some regional or national collective. "We win!," you shout when the multi-millionaires in green shirts defeat the multi-millionaires in white shirts.

Sorry to burst your bubble, but all you've won is an opportunity to spend another 25 bucks on a useless bobble-head doll made in China, or to drink another 9 dollar beer with the green-shirted date-rapist sitting beside you at the stadium. The teams want you to identify with their heroes for only as long as it takes to empty out your wallet.

The whole enterprise is completely irrational. To be a Mariners or White Sox fan is to love some team and to hate the enemy. You're being manipulated by a huge propaganda machine that serves only to make themselves richer while turning you in a dedicated robot of unwavering support. Any anyone who disagrees with your arbitrary identification (ie., a Cubs fan) is a heretic or worse.

I'm sorry, but the whole thing reeks of fascism. And the more you say that there is something profoundly "American" about all of this claptrap, the more you prove my point.

Wow, that's pretty extreme. Surely not ALL Ms fans are date-rapists (I'm not). Surely not ALL Ms fans spend vast sums on trinkets (I don't). Surely not ALL M's fans are "robots" (I'm not). My support wavers as many as 25 or 30 times an inning, in fact.

I'm not a fan of the corporation, I'm a fan of the GAME. I don't shout out Howard Lincoln's name when Bentancourt snares a hot one and fires to first in time or when Doyle bangs one off the top of the wall.

Criticisms of baseball that fail to take in the action on the field don't make any more sense than criticisms of art or literature or music that fail to account for the art or literature or music. Are readers of Pale Fire robots because it was published by a corporation?

Economics are a factor too. I go to Mariner games because I can get a bleacher ticket for $10-14. I don't go to Seahawks or Sonics games because they want $25-50 for a ticket.

Everything Gurldoggie said could just as easily be applied to TV, mainstream concerts or movies. It isn't exactly fair to single out sports when making such an argument.

I go for the beer and the boys, both of which pre-date corporations by thousands of years and tens of thousands, respectively.


Umm...anyone going to Slog on the Clinton interview on Fox?

2: "Ms" is a perfectly legitimate contraction. "M's" implies possession.

Moyer (4-2) wins again for Philadelphia on Sunday. Amazing what a pitcher can do with a little run support. Thanks Mariners!

LOL Moyer's going to the playoffs and the Mariners aren't. Go figure: that's how it seems to work (Randy Johnson and A-Rod with the Yankees every year, Freddy Garcia with the ChiSox in '05, this year, Carlos Guillen with the Tigers).

HEY, Mariners had the lead today too, when GUESS WHAT: JOEL PINEIRO came in and gave up a grand slam. ChiSox won.

Seriously, Dan, you could pitch better than Joel can right now.

If you were bullied or harassed by athletes in school, I recommend following sports as an adult. Because we get to heckle and harass them now, and there's nothing they can do about it. Throw syringes at Barry Bonds. Shout the name of the recently divorced pitcher's wife, just as he's going into his windup. If they lay a hand on one of us, it could mean their careers. They're our meat now.

Of course, I want my team to win, and any player who lets me down is a bum. Baseball is the best sport, because over a 162-game season "any player who lets me down" is all of them.

There's nothing more American than beer and sports. It's a fucking great way to spend time with your buddies. The islamo-fucks have not stopped American Baseball so we've won. Dumbass anti-sports lesbians need to be fucked so they loosen up.

Crappy division? The AL west is the toughest in baseball. The cubbies are in the crappy division that is currently led by St. Louis (80 wins) Houston is in second place in their division and they won 77 games, compared to the M's 75 who are dead last. The NL central is crap.

The A's, the Angels, and the Rangers? Hardly a crappy division, if the M's were in the same division as the cubbies they would be in it still.

The M's need pitching next year and they need it bad. They also need fans to start booing( Philly style) and they need to go after Barry Zito and give him a huge contract and 600 virgins. And while theyre at it, they need to bring back Ken Griffey Jr. as a DH.

Keep Putz, but send the rest of the pitching staff to the Royals for a 6 pack of rolling rock, and Bavasi needs to have a massive heart attack and Hargrove needs to drown.

first of all, Josh, when you open your mouth, you sort of prove gurldoggie's point.

second of all, everyone knows lesbians like softball and lady basketball. duh doi

third, my favorite fuck you to the Mariners was when John Olerud was traded to the Yankees, then in his first appearance in Seattle as a Yankee he won the game for the Yanks with a home run.

The Ms make it really really hard to root for them

Gurldoggie -- I think a lot of people find the struggle to play well together as endlessly fascinating because of how difficult it is to do. The most difficult thing about a team sport is getting the coalescing flow of good play among various players to be consistent. That's the whole trick. That's what fans are really rooting their team on for. If you've got it today, you might not tomorrow, if you have it right now, you may not in a minute. That's where each individual's effort -- mental and physical -- refocuses constantly.

Is rowing an 8 at the Windermere Cup any different? Or your kid playing a High School soccer game? You pit your skills against others' and you see what you can accomplish together. That's team sports. Either that kind of thing is your cup of tea, or it's not. Simple as that.

The corporate and price criticisms -- sure, they're intrusive on many levels, but they're just a means to an end: the marketing of a popular product. And I don't buy into the Nazi or Robot thing. I fancy myself as neither.

Drink Coke!

Is reading 'Pale Fire' any different than watching the Dallas Cowboys break someone's spine on Network televsion?

Is your kid's high school soccer game any different than a grudge match during which 400-pound steroid-laden animals are paid millions of dollars to sell sneakers?

Are these comparisons for real, or are you all pulling my leg?

Maybe I'm wrong, but Russian literature doesn't seem to command the kind of extraordinary mass-marketing machine that leads people to plaster their body with expensive advertisements.

And unless your kid goes to a really fucked up school, his soccer matches don't inspire the kind of violent devotion that leads to bar brawls, random attacks and threats of rape(Thanks, Josh!)

Obviously I'm not knocking the kind of sports where you hit a ball around with your neighbors. Clearly I've got nothing against reading books, watching movies or using a computers that are manufactured by a corporation.

What I have a problem with is the kind of mass manipulation that convinces you to subsume your own identity into some regional or national "team" which is really nothing more than a collection of manufactured salesmen who are paid to do violence to each other and sell products while getting your emotions fired up to a fever pitch. Despite all of your liberal bona fides, I really believe that the whole televised big-sports culture is dangerously nationalistic to the point of pathology.

GD: Pulling your leg would, no doubt, be a foul.

I take your point about aggressive marketing via sport players. It is a part of the culture and business that I don't like. It's marketing. But then again, I don't buy the products. That's what I do. I don't own Nikes, or "Body Armor" sports clothing, or buy domino's pizza, or a pick up truck - I'm not covered in merchandise, not identifying like that. You may be right to a partial extent regarding the level of frenzy of some fans. But I can speak for those of us fans who are in it for the sporting jollity of it, that there are many identities that remain unsubsumed.

So, I hear ya, but I don't feel ya.

Don't take this as antagonism, but 'hitting a ball around with your neighbors' is called Croquet. Croquet is not a sport. It's what couples who don't know each other well do at a bbq, due to lack of conversation.

Question for you: You ever play any sports? Any TEAM sports?

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