It usually doesn’t work like this in baseball. Oddly, some would say that the beauty of the game is that the big bats can fall to anyone. They don’t always fall for a team’s star player, and in fact they rarely do. Competitors often come up with a strategy to make sure they don’t.
And it’s not that Bryce Harper needs this series to reinforce how good he is or how important he is to the Phillies. Even before he broke his thumb, he, and all of his supporters, could easily have claimed that Phitins wouldn’t have made it to the knockout stages without him. And they won’t. He’s so good. That’s what the Phillies paid for, that’s what their deal promised.
However, when a team signs a free agent like Harper, or a similar deal for Juan Soto that San Diego activated this season’s deal deadline, Sunday is the day they’ve been dreaming of. Inside, they weren’t sure it was going to happen, maybe even suspected that they would get such a weird moment. You contract with Bryce Harper for what you get over six months, year after year, and you sit back in November or December, look at the stats and be amazed at what he does. brought you. It’s hard to notice them mid-season, or just know how significant they are, as they accumulate. But there is always the unquenchable hope that it will all come to an end at some point in the fall. That baseball once could work like a basketball.
But damn, it’s not sweet to see something like the end of day 8 in game 5 of the NLCS? A beautiful moment can make the fans, especially the bureaus and owners, of most other MLB teams save three or four jealous and angry, because any team has can have him. All he has to pay is money. Everything he does costs money, and Phillies is the one paying for it.
And their fans get a memory they will have forever. Even if they get overtaken by the Astros in the World Series (and my hunch is they probably will, but baseball could very easily be baseball), Phillies fans will be talking about Harper raving. with beer and barbecue and at the end of the wedding reception and wake up and with their kids or neighbors or geeks on SEPTA for the rest of their lives. Isn’t that the damn point? Isn’t that why we do this? As for the memories and things that bring us together and something to share with the most random people we can think of? Fuck, I remember Brent Sutter’s goal against the Red Wings in game 4 of the 1992 Norris Division final and that was 30 years ago and the Hawks were completely beaten in the final that year and I don’t care very interested. That is why we are here.
Imagine how meaningful the moment could be in Pittsburgh or Kansas City or Milwaukee or either side of Chicago or Arizona. We can do this forever. That’s all the fans and any of those teams could have offered. Instead, they all choose to cling to money that their owners will never realize. That’s what baseball means, but it doesn’t make sense to us.
Many offices will use Phillies as an example of “all you have to do is get in”. But that’s not really what they are. They signed Harper and Castellanos and Schwarber and Wheeler. They probably think they’ll run with the Mets and Braves all season. They definitely want to.
Even if the regular season turns into a six-month wait for the playoffs, and even if the playoffs become devalued the way many of us see them as they are, it won’t have its fading moments. as pale as Harper’s homer. It’s sad that the teams used the World Series championship as a license to burn it and simply watch the tests on TV.
The Cubs, Royals, Nationals, the latest Red Sox champions, all use the World Series title to justify their subsequent ways of profiteering. It seems that creating those memories for their fans is a nuisance best avoided in order to get down to real business.
The Phillies let the 2008 team run as far as they could, even as those around shouted that it was time to give up. They tried rebuilding, it didn’t work, so they went the other way instead of trying a whole new series for students via commerce and drafts maybe…maybe working in 2028 And they were rewarded. This is how it should be.
Sign big players, let your fans dream. Sometimes, they actually come true.
Won and Dunn
I commented on the stark difference between the regular season and the MLS knockouts, and how much fun it was to witness dramatic moments in those rare games that mattered in the league. That’s not exclusive to them, as the NWSL’s regular season seems a bit pointless given their playoff system. It also means that their playoffs can also produce fundamental moments:
There are a lot of layers to this, aside from sending the Thorns to the NWSL finals. Dunn has only recently returned from maternity leave at the end of the season. Portland has been at the heart of all the problems the NWSL and its players have had to go through throughout its existence, with their fans being the most vocal about the change in the team that they have ever seen. they love. When Dunn is dropped home in this fairy tale, one can feel the catharsis part. Again, look at the undulation the crowd becomes once seeing this goal. It’s rare to see that in NWSL, and perhaps only in Portland, which has the sport’s most passionate fanbase. It’s heartbreaking that some of the biggest crimes of the league happened there. But this is continuing, in the most emphatic style.
Should have stayed at home
In the end, I chuckle that this is what Tom Brady chose. He just retired and returned so he would watch the admiration come to him twice during the season. He had to whistle all the praise as he left, and then realized that he felt like nothing without it and that it would go away if he stopped playing. He’s only here to serve himself, and he’s serving himself a mouthwatering treat as the Bucks stumble to win if not the outright bad season. He did this to himself, it will cost him a lot more than the physical damage, and all because he just has to hear people talk about him more. This is the only thing we’re going to get over Tom Brady, so drink it up.