I Now Pronounce You

(2007)(162) + 1978/14.5 – Pi = Baseball Karma

Posted in Uncategorized by inowpronounceyou on September 20, 2007

Part of what I love about baseball is the way that it mirrors life. Oh, the way it mirrors life. I think that’s what ultimately lead me to love it so…

See, it’s not about the instant gratification of cheap thrills. Baseball, like life, is all about individual confrontations and situations, but is ultimately a team game. The season is loooong, and that makes streaks more likely to be exposed as flukes than realities. You can’t dive right in to the warm tempting water of a nice 10 game streak. You have 162 games in baseball…I mean, that’s more than a full NBA and the NFL season combined. The long haul means that you can’t freak out over short term statistics and start making calls…if you do that it means you aren’t looking long term enough and you’re sure to get burned. But you also can’t completely ignore streaks, because occasionally they turn in to trends and hard core realities. Sometimes that crappy first baseman gets hot. Sometimes he gets better. There’s a difference, so you have to strike a balance.

Heady stuff, this baseball.

There are ways you have to look to actually see. It’s borderline voodoo to really, truly get what’s happening and what’s going to happen next. Baseball’s superstitians become de facto realities all the time, and sometimes having no residual karma is better than having a life time of it…don’t think so? Ask the Cubs and Red Sox. Then ask the Diamondbacks and Marlins.

In baseball’s history you can see all kinds of events, trends, and streaks that because they have happened before, they will happen again. It’s like graphing Pi…it’s spirals out further and further, but the point is that it spirals…it’s cyclical…it doesn’t go in a straight line and constantly reinvent itself.

It repeats.

Baseball embraces its history because it knows that it will play a role in its future, because it’s always connected directly to it. Shouldn’t we all learn from that? (And by god if you’re getting that from the NBA you’ll have to show me how)

To that end, I give you the Boston Massacre of 1978 and why I’ve said all year that it ain’t over for the Yankees…cuz this has alllll happened before, and in all too similar ways.

In July of ’78, the New York Yankees trailed the Boston Red Sox by 14.5 games. Everything that could go wrong for the Bronx Bombers that year did go wrong. I mean, to be behind by that many games? You pretty much had to be either (1) a bad team or (2) playing like crap with every break going against you…

But, if baseball teaches us anything about life it’s this; if it ain’t talent or effort that is the problem, things will start to even out. Anomalies don’t hold up over a season. And that’s exactly what happened in ’78. Suddenly, the Bombers started winning, and the Sox? Well, they started losing.

So it was that on a beautiful weekend in September with three weeks to go in the season the Yankees came to Boston for a 4 game series trailing the Sox by…wait for it…4 games. In those four games the Yankees absolutely crushed the Sox and that series became known as the Boston Massacre.

After 3 more weeks of back and forth baseball, the Yankees, who had played so poorly for so much of the season up until September 7th-10th and the Red Sox who had played so well, finished the season…

Tied for first.

This meant they had to have a 1 game playoff in Boston to decide who went to the post season. In that game, much like the season, the Red Sox jumped out to an early lead and, to hear Sox fans tell it today, the game was over. I mean, they were up 2 in the 7th inning!

Had they learned nothing?

Didn’t the season itself teach them?

Of course, then Sox fans will say to you the words that live in infamy in the Rivalry to this day.

Bucky. Fucking. Dent.

Bucky Dent, a light hitting shortstop for the Yankees hit a 3 run, go ahead dinger for the Bombers. Wanna know how much that hurt? Just say the name to a Sox fan and see. Of course, what people forget is that Reggie Jackson’s home run later on actually won the game…

From there, by the way, the Yankees went on to win the World Series, beating the Dodgers for a second year in a row.

So this year, when the Yankees were down 14.5 games to the Red Sox, I didn’t hit the panic button. Ask anyone. I said all year long that it’s far from over, and that calling it a season at the mid way point was just foolish. In fact, I said to Southie (a member of the nation) “Gee, why don’t we just mail the WS trophy to Fenway now, I mean, after all, it is June“. He didn’t want to hear it.

“It’s over. You can’t catch up! You’re not even going to get the wild card! Call me when you get to 7 games back”.

Fools. Every one of them. Baseball, by design, is a marathon. Sprinting out to a big lead means exactly nothing. This isn’t football, where you can blow your whole season with a bad start. It’s baseball, and bad starts have nothing on strong finishes.

So, when the Yankees started this year by losing the top of their pitching rotation (just like in ’78) to injuries and several key position players as well, I didn’t freak out. Ok, that’s a lie. I was livid. But I didn’t say it’s over. Hell, I never even conceded the AL East! I knew it was going to be an uphill battle, but I also knew it had been done before, and more importantly it had been done before by these same two teams.

With this same 14.5 game lead.

They say that to ignore history dooms you to repeat. This should be printed on the seams of every baseball, because nothing could be more accurate with regards to the game. To that end, last night the Yankees narrowed the once “insurmountable” lead of 14.5 games to 1.5. I don’t know why I even had to tell you so in the first place, to be honest…no one should be that shocked. It’s “shocking” when things occur that haven’t ever happened before…that no precedent or previously established Karma exists to cover. Like the 3-0 Comeback of 2004. That was shocking not just because of the numbers, but because of the history. I’d actually argue that for that very reason, it was far, far more shocking. Really, if say the Dodgers did it to the Braves? It wouldn’t have been as jaw dropping.

Don’t get me wrong…I woke up today grinning from ear to ear and smiling at my framed Maris and Mantle pic. I am ELATED. Then again, I know my history, and I’ve been waiting all season for this. Even if the Yankees don’t take the AL East, I love the look of fear that has suddenly, and deservedly, crept on to the faces of the once overly confident Sox fans. I say “deservedly” because in baseball and in life, you don’t ever, ever concede and you damn sure don’t take anything for granted. Even when you’re out of it and playing a team that is still in a race, you fight for that win because that’s how it’s done.

Come to think of it, maybe “doomed” to repeat it isn’t quite the way to say it.

Maybe “cursed” is more apropos.


24 Responses to '(2007)(162) + 1978/14.5 – Pi = Baseball Karma'

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  1. Heather said,

    I think I love you. Your writing is pure genius and every time I read your blog I learn something or gain a new perspective on something I already knew.


  2. Arjewtino said,

    I may hate your allegiance, but I admire your loyalty.

    I hope you guys fucking choke in October.

  3. Uhm … yeah. Yadier. Fucking. Molina.

    Got damn that still stings. Kind of like noticing HOLY FUCK the Phillies are 1 1/2 back! Not cool. So not cool.

  4. i like baseball….because of the hot dogs..
    sorry ..i havent had lunch yet.. or breakfast for that matter…

  5. Heather; Well thank you! That’s the nicest comment I think I’ve ever received!

    Arjewtino; Even if we do, at least we’ll be playing in October. ZINGAH!

    BB: Yeah, I remember that. And for the record; what did the Molina family feed those boys?! 3 CATCHERS IN MLB?! Whatever it is, that’s what I’m feeding my kids if I ever have ’em.

    Suicide Blonde: I could teach you to like it for more than the hot dogs…but not when you’re hungry.

  6. I-66 said,

    I may not follow baseball very closely until October, but I do respect the sport. I’ll respect it even more after the Nationals get the hell out of RFK.

  7. sweetescape said,

    Seems as though all that’s on INPY’s mind these days is baseballbaseballyankeesbaseballyankees. :p Rightfully so, of course!

    You know your writing is truly genius when it’s about baseball and completely and utterly sucks a non-baseball fan in. And by the way, agree with Arjewtino, I hope the Yankees fucking choke in October. 🙂

  8. i66; I can respect that, but you still have to work with me on this whole futbol thing.

    sweetscape; Thank you very much for saying that. (The compliment, not the choking thing) You know, I almost put a warning at the top of this post that said “THIS IS ANOTHER BASEBALL POST…BE WARNED”

  9. Bruce said,

    You can’t hear me but I am clapping right now. Very well done. There is nothing in the world like baseball, especially this time of year.


    get herpes sox

  10. Bruce; Glad you liked it. This season is starting to have that feeling…last night when the Sox were playing I just knew the Yankees were going to make up another game. And I love our odds of winning the AL East right now, playing Cleveland instead of Anaheim, and going to the Series.

  11. Christie said,

    INPY, I give you permission to talk about baseball, and the Yankees, whenever, and as often as you want.
    But, I would like the Yankees to come to Anaheim, for my own selfish reasons (mostly because I work 15 minutes from Angel Stadium, and you would be that much closer to an autograph)

  12. Baby Bien said,

    INPY, as your friend, I applaud your love for the sport despite the fact that we stand on other sides of the fence. I really respect that about you and it furthers my belief that some Yankee fans are good people.

    But then I read ignorant statements like this from other Yankee fans…”get herpes sox”. Bruce, if your team is that good and you are that confident, why must you act like the bully on the playground? It is people like you and many Massholes on my side that give this rivalry the bad name that has caused many outside of it to now hate both teams. I am not sitting here chanting “Yankees Suck” because I know that they don’t. I just happen to not root for them. I am sorry if some Red Sox fan treated you like crap when you were a child but you don’t need to take it out on the rest of the Nation. It doesn’t make your team any greater by putting down the Sox, but if that’s what makes you sleep better at night the rest of us that care about the sport of baseball will just ignore it.

    Just my two cents.

  13. Christie; You just GOTTA get me that autograph!!!

    Baby Bien; First, thank you. As I’ve said before though; Sox fans may be loath to admit it, but there are no more vulgar fans with the exception of maybe Philly in all of North American Sports. I have seen more Jeter Swallows, ARod Has Aids, etc Tshirts in Boston than I have seen anywhere else as part of any other rivalry. The hatred of the Yankees is like a badge of honor, and the lower you sink in Boston/New England, the more you “love” the Sox.

    Before anyone think that I’m taking Baby Bien to task, let me say this; I know him,and he’s a Sox fan who does NOT partake in that sort of thing. He’s a baseball fan, as I have come to know Bruce to be, too, through his blog that I read daily 567 Miles from Home. I think we all get a bit swept up in it sometimes, though.

    With the playoffs here, let’s all play nice.

    Unless the Sox win.

  14. Bruce said,

    Ok, maybe that was a bit harsh, but it was really just for comedic effect. I don’t actually want the entire nation to contract herpes (just Curt Schilling).

  15. See, we can all get along! Let’s hug it out, get a beer, and make fun of the Dodgers.

  16. Bruce said,

    Yeah, the Dodgers are like a walking billboard for herpes

  17. Baby Bien said,

    Actually, I think Schilling is a douche too. I can’t wait for him to pitch for Tampa next year. Sure, I love what he did in ’04 as an athlete, but I just don’t like him much as a person.

  18. Bruce said,

    I agree, I hate him more than any other player in baseball. When he isn’t talkng about how much he loves Bush he is out clubbing baby seals and running a dog fighting organization. In the interest of mending fences, I’ll admit that I’m not a huge Clemens fan.

  19. Baby Bien said,

    Clemens is a juiced up money whore. I say we send him back to Canada with Eric Gagne.

  20. Bruce said,

    Gagne has been a disaster for you guys. I really didn’t see that one coming at all. Francona really doesn’t have a choice though.

  21. Bruce said,

    Oh, and you are right about Clemens. I’m worried his arm is going to litterally fall off in the playoffs.

  22. Christie said,

    ouch, maybe that autograph is a little out of reach now. I know that the Dodgers and the Yankees are extreme rivals, but my brother just finished his first year of rookie ball for the Dodgers, so let’s make fun of the giants instead, k? 🙂

  23. inowpronounceyou said,

    Bruce and baby Bien; I can’t stand Schilling, but I felt that way before he was in Boston. As for Rocket, I dunno, I tolerate him more than Schilling, but his arm worries me for the post season.

    Christie; Whoa whoa whoa! That dodger comment was more a dig at my man, Arjewtino….don’t let that stand between me and an autograph! And, what’s the story with your brother? I smell a guest blogger apearance….

  24. Julie said,

    This post made me tear up.
    I know you haven’t given up, because with every game we got closer to the Red Sox… you would post a comment with the number back.
    Always believing…..

    Maybe I am just loopy because….
    It’s also the 13th effing inning and WE CANNOT SCORE A RUN HERE!!!!

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