That's What the Games Are For

Major League Baseball's incredible postseason has provided an escape ... from ourselves


This is going to sound like something Aaron Rodgers might say after emerging from a darkness retreat where his only friends were his imagination and the four walls that seemed to close in tighter by the moment but here's where I'm at. It feels as though we've hit a critical mass when it comes to opinions, specifically the type that are delivered as though a broken person has unzipped and is pissing in a communal punch bowl. Everyone has a platform and too many have given into the dark side where they forage around for something to bitch about or fix to end up sweaty, tired and dissatisfied — completely immune and oblivious to the brilliant ombré skies and vibrant hues assailing them from above. Sports were once an escape from our mundane lives but the human urge to make the amazing mundane through trivial grievances and a slave-like devotion to making perfect the enemy of very good has taken hold and it is profoundly sad.

We observe in our internal Slack almost daily the remarkable ability of the masses to complain about literally anything. This has leaked into to sports and I fear too many people are bleeding out, numb to the abundant joy they could be experiencing instead. The negativity and whimpering lameness takes a psychological toll on even the most optimistic simpletons who fall into the trap of getting triggered and giving engagement. Recently my lifelong marriage with sports has been on the rocks — not because of anything going on between the two of us but because of the incessant opinions from the peanut gallery weighing in on the home we've built together. It sucks to admit this yet it's true.

As the Arizona Diamondbacks — an amazing side that is overachieving and playing with the unbridled passion and poise of a collegiate team on a stunning run to Omaha — put the finishing touches on their upset of the Philadelphia Phillies last night, my cursed social media timelines was filled with people being miserable about the supposed random baseball postseason and lamenting that Fox Sports executives might not be able to buy a vacation property in Sedona because ratings won't be great.

There may be some validity to the first point and Major League Baseball could ultimately shift gears to make the regular season more of a reward. They could engineer something that gets the best team for six months to the Fall Classic with more regularity. But what they are fighting against is beautiful. They are fighting against sports, which involves two teams deciding things on the field. They are fighting against the unpredictability of man and the crushing weight of pressure. They are fighting against the best drama in the world because there is no script, the very thing that has caused so many of us to give these entirely meaningless competitions our hearts, souls, and time. People should think long and hard about their willingness to be an ally in this war and if it's just or misguided.

As for ratings, well, how to put this? Who gives a flying fuck? Unless your finances are somehow tied to that number, it will have no impact on your life. And I'd suggest that your life will be a hell of a lot better if you stop consuming sports like the most boring, most unimaginative person wearing a quarter-zip in their C-suite. No one wanted to be the type of person who cared about the fleeting, transient bottom line for a mega corporation that doesn't want to sign their paychecks when they grew up. It must have taken a series of missteps and an erosion of wonder to land in this place, but for them there is still hope.

Because what I've realized during an October full of the unexpected and underdogs slaying the top dog is that the actual games are as exciting as ever. That they can serve as an escape not from the non-stop annoyances of everyday life but from the non-stop annoyances of online life and the expanded universe of takery that ultimately takes away from the best part of sports. Texas and Arizona earned their spots by taking the hardest roads. They each went on the road and won Games 6 and 7, something that had never been done in both series in Major League Baseball history. The action was incredible and inspiring and a testament to a beautiful game that is at its best during the most important moments.

In short: it ruled. Blustery winds of minute discontent should not work to flood this sunshine with dark clouds. It's okay to just enjoy a nice day without wondering how many other millions are also looking up at the sky. And yeah, maybe I'm a simpleton who just doesn't get it. At least I'm having fun.