Tennis legend Billy Jean King once said, "Sports are a microcosm of society." It is plain to see why this is true. In the case of a few hours, a sporting event can exhibit both the best as well as the worst of human nature. On the field alike will see teamwork, camaraderie, laughter, or excitement. When things do not go our way, we feel anger, sadness, and frustration to the point of tears.
Baseball in particular has always appeared to fit Ms. King’s quote especially well. Baseball, like life and society is a grind. Every win feels amazing, every loss feels devastating, and like life, there is rarely any time for the emotions to linger because there is almost always a tomorrow to look forward to that is capable of giving new hopes or new frustrations.
Come postseason, that nature changes. That long grind has slipped away, replaced by a mad dash to a now-visible finish line. This final sprint has been incredible. At the time of the All-Star break, who would have guessed that the A’s, who at the time were by far the best team in baseball, would collapse so badly that they would barely take a Wild Card spot and then quickly lose the sudden death game? I cannot begin to imagine how frustrated the Oakland fans must have felt to see their team fall apart in such a manner. It also raises an amusing exercise to think how our fanbase would have reacted had that been the New York Yankees. Yankee fans are not known for handling losses very well, so it is likely it could have gotten really ugly.
On the flip-side, who would have guessed that the Royals would have been able to make it to the World Series? Every year, the media likes to proclaim a "team of destiny," and every year, those teams seem to wilt, well before making it to the big dance, but this Royals team is as special a group as I can remember ever watching. It is almost frightening at how well they hit, pitch, and field. It is also incredible to see how every move, even boneheaded decisions, such as having your hottest hitter sac-bunting, have seemingly worked out.
Unlike the American League, the National League race has not been nearly as exciting. I would be a hypocrite to say that I despise seeing the Cardinals and Giants face off with one another, but neither team has been all that entertaining. Madison Bumgarner and Adam Wainwright are two pitchers I will always stop to watch, but save for that, there was nothing that really grabbed my attention. Regardless of who wins the World Series, I hope that it continues the trend of exciting baseball.