Somebody has to win

One team has to win and one team has to lose. That is the nature of the beast. And perhaps many of you will think me soft for even caring what Orioles’ fans felt right then. Except I (we) have been where they are. I remember how it felt after Dave Roberts stole that base. I remember that Gonzalez bloop over a drawn in Yankees’ infield. It hurt, man. It hurt so bad that words cannot express the disappointment and shock. And so a moment of sympathy was felt for the fans of the Orioles and later, those of the Tigers. Getting to know so many people on Twitter and to see them dying a little bit inside at the results make those feelings stronger. The souls of fans in other cities become real people and not just nameless blobs of humanity.

Of course, there is no way I would trade places with them. That was a most satisfying win for someone who sips from his Yankees’ coffee mug every single morning. Look, we Americans are a funny people anyway. We are the first nation of people that feels bad about our national conquests. It is doubtful that the average French family with Viking blood felt much sympathy for the English people when the Normans overtook that island nation. Conquest is part of our culture too. We conquered the Native Americans to stretch the country from coast to coast. And we don’t feel good about that. I’m not saying we should feel good about that. But such conquests have been a part of humanity since the beginning. We are simply the first people to care about the victims.

And, naturally, there are probably some of you out there who don’t care about the Native Americans and are really thinking this writer is some kind of sissy-butt. Do I reap the benefits of that conquest? Certainly. Will I deny myself the benefits of that conquest? Certainly not. But I still feel badly about how it all went down.

The same can be said for my feelings about the players and fans on other teams when defeat comes after victory seemed imminent. Somebody has to win and somebody has to lose. That is part of the deal. But so is knowing that one fan base is glowing with euphoria while another is waking up this morning with a pit in their stomachs. And, it is not over. Heaven help us if it is the case, but that could be us in a couple of days if the Yankees do not take care of business. Winning and losing goes beyond a team and it goes beyond a manager or a player. The impact is felt on the soul of a fan base. And that fan base is made up of people just like you and me.

But it sure was a heck of a win.

William Tasker grew up in Bergenfield, New Jersey but has lived in New England since 1975 and in the far reaches of northern Maine since 1990. Tasker is the author of nine (non-baseball related) books and, besides writing here for three years, has written for his own site at www.passion4baseball.blogspot.com since 2003.

10 thoughts on “Somebody has to win

  1. Nice post. A little empathy goes a long way and when the shoe's on the other foot

    • williamjtasker

      Thanks, Jonathan. That comment was reassuring.

  2. David

    William — I can always tell when it's you just from the first paragraphs of your posts. And that's not a bad thing. ;)

    • williamjtasker

      That is a high compliment, David. Good or bad, gotta have a "voice."

  3. Tommy

    Well written! At times, when the Yankees are out of the playoffs, I like to find and root for the team/player that failed in the past and gets a second chance. I find it more rewarding to see a goat win than an underdog. In the NFL, if my squad doesn't win the Super Bowl, I hope the Niners and the return-man Williams take it. After the beating he took in the social media world following his NFC Championship turnovers, he deserves a win. If the Yankees don't win, then I hope Lincecum and the Giants win (pure coincidence about San Fran). It's hard to pity a two time Cy Young winner, but man, I'd love to see him vindicated and back on top if the Yankees are not going to be.

  4. John

    Nice post Will. Always good to see someone who has empathy for the other fans. I don't have to look to know that most of the comments section on ESPN is filled with "Orioles suck!" posts. Real fans appreciate the moment. Fake fans can't wait to put the other teams fans down. Your article was very refreshing.

  5. ProfRobert

    William, excellent and thoughtful points about the other side of the coin. Of course we've all been there, over and over again. For the Chambliss home run in '76, there's Brett taking the Goose deep in '80. For the two Byung-Hyun Kim epic fails, there is Sandy Alomar, Jr., and Luis Gonzalez beating Mo. For Boone ending it in '04, there's Vasquez handing Johnny Damon a hammer and box of nails for our coffin. I'd argue that the lows make us appreciate the highs; without those failures and losses, the wins would not be as sweet. I don't hate the Baltimore fans, and like you, I empathize with them, and I'm actually happy for them that, after so long, their team finally has some success (though of course, as a Yankees fan, I want the Yankees to win this series and go on to win the World Series).

    • ProfRobert

      '03. Boone '03, Damon '04. I hope this is just me being tired from staying up late last night and not incipient Alzheimers.

  6. Patrick

    I understand what you're trying to say, but likening baseball/sportsfandom to genocide and the feelings induced by each is offensive and ridiculous.

  7. Patrick

    Even if you're not taking into account the severity/degree of the two things (which I don't agree with at all), in baseball and all sports there are mutually agreed upon rules and people play because they want to. There were no choices involved in the case of the Native Americans' land, lives, families, etc. being taken from them.

    I mean, would you ever say that a manager is working his players like a bunch of slaves on a Georgia plantation?

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