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