The postseason's here and you need a team? Here they are
The Guardians, having trotted out their new name, have put together a nobody-expected-it-regular-season doing some very old-fashioned things
In my head, it’s very simple.
Football’s the most popular sport in this country.
Baseball remains the national pastime.
No, I can’t explain it a whole lot better than that, but it’s got something to do with baseball cards, black and white newsreels, Pete Rose, Johnny Bench, the ’70s Dodger infield of Garvey, Lopes, Russell and Cey, Mark “The Byrd” Fydrich and the night Reggie Jackson hit three out in three swings, clinching the 1977 World Series.
Nothing was bigger.
Baseball can take you back, too.
The Cardinals mean so much to so many people in so many cities and states in this nation because for more than half a century St. Louis was the major leagues’ western-most outpost and, broadcast by radio superstation KMOX, they were not only Missouri’s team, but the entire Midwest’s and Southwest’s, too.
If it’s the Dodgers’ year, fans will connect it to Tommy Lasorda and that legendary infield, to Vin Scully, who broadcast them almost 70 years, from Brooklyn to Los Angeles, Jackie Robinson, Sandy Koufax and Duke Snider to Kirk Gibson, Mike Piazza and Clayton Kershaw.
If the Phillies do it, the City of Brotherly Love will look back fondly upon the 2008 Phils, who topped Tampa Bay at the World Series, and still more fondly upon the 1980 squad, managed by Dallas Green, led emotionally by Rose, in the field by Larry Bowa, at the plate by Mike Schmidt, on the mound by Steve Carlton and in relief by Tug McGraw, Philly legends all (but for Rose, whose legend already resided in Cincinnati).
The NBA doesn’t do that.
The NFL doesn’t do that.
The NHL does some, but hockey’s the national pastime and most popular sport, both, in a whole other country and only fourth on these shores.
Baseball has forever, and still there’s a problem.
If you’re younger than 50, did not play as a kid and grew up without a team, or even one or two of the three, decent chance you had no idea the first day of MLB’s postseason arrived Friday.
Also, though 12 teams reach it, including eight in four best two-of-three wild card series, the top two division winners in the American and National leagues receiving byes, you may not have a team.
That can be fixed.
If non-aligned, one team deserves your temporary fandom and it’s not close.
The Cleveland Guardians.
Oklahoma Columnist, by Clay Horning is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a paid subscriber.
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial
Subscribe to Oklahoma Columnist, by Clay Horning to keep reading this post and get 7 days of free access to the full post archives.