I’m not gonna lie to you. I’m totally freaked out. I’d be way better off if the Braves were already eliminated. As anyone who has suffered profound grief can attest, the shock, denial, anger and bargaining stages are harder to get through than the depression and acceptance part. Or not. I don’t know. I’m just trying to grasp on to anything here.
OK, I’m overplaying that. In all honesty, this is about as wonderful as baseball gets. Partially because there’s the possibility for the horrible. If you’re a Red Sox, Rays, Braves or Cardinals fan tonight, your stomach should be doing flip flops. It’s good for the soul in some strange way. Unless your happiness is way too closely tied to your favorite team’s performance you should appreciate that the all-or-nothing aspects to this make it thrilling.
Sure, I want my team to win and I want the Cardinals to lose. But I’d be lying if I said that there wasn’t a part of me that wants a game 163. And that, even if it kills another part of me, I think the Cardinals winning the wild card would be a good thing because it will be a neat happening to consider.
OK, maybe not a good thing, but certainly an interesting thing, and interesting things make life better. Interesting things are of just as much if not more value to a person than some vicarious triumph of someone we consider to be part of our tribe. I mean, the Braves don’t know who I am and don’t care about my happiness beyond how that translates into support they can quantify. Fandom is almost always one-sided. If we as fans value the interesting as much as we value the rah-rah stuff at least we’re being repaid somehow.
Not that I will abandon the rah-rah. I imagine — if my stomach allows me to anyway — I’ll be on Twitter tonight cracking wise and scared and happy and angry depending on what the Phillies hitters are doing to poor Tim Hudson. I’ll say something like “Yay! Go team!” if the Braves win and something like “Oh drat” if they lose. But then I’ll wake up tomorrow and know that we have the playoffs and the offseason and the spring and then another summer ahead of us when everything is reset and begins anew. And then I’ll realize, nothing truly permanent was lost, even in defeat.
But seriously: screw the Cardinals. I hope they get no-hit by Brett Myers tonight and that Tony La Russa pulls a muscle during his 19th pitching change.