Though these questions are all worthy of exploration (and answers*) the one question that dominated was: if a season ends without certainty about our postseason fate, will the fans care?
To be sure, we cared about the game. We didn't like the whole "wasted opportunities in the early innings" thing. We definitely liked the whole "Royals can't seem to throw the ball from first to second base" thing. But we also became obsessed with the score down the first base line. The one that read: CLE 1-CWS 0, then, CLE 1-CWS 2, and finally, CLE 1-CWS 5. And through it all, we watched and hoped and heard those around us saying: "c'mon Cleveland, get some runs...".
When the final score flashed, and we knew for sure that it would not be over today, we went back to wanting one thing and one thing only: more runs. Two was not safe, not any more. But with the addition of two runs on a Delmon single, and two more on Joe's triple (triple?really?you're a catcher, man...you should not run that much), it was over and we were still ahead.
But we now have no control. Only the hope that the Tigers will take tomorrow's game seriously and/or that the White Sox will again be distracted by delicious delicious cake. And so, we were happy, but not ecstatic; pleased, but not satisfied.
So, the answer to the ultimate question is: of course we care about the end of the season. But, the uncertainty sours much of what could be sweet sweet victory.
*The answers to the other questions are: Denard, Justin, Brendan and Carlos (as John, Paul, George and Ringo respectively), because that would be silly, yes...if 5'10 is l'il, no good reason, and we could...but probably would be charged with child abuse*
K takes over:
Even though this game wasn't really the climactic deciding moment that a final game of the season in a ridiculously tight pennant race should be, it was still a great day at the ball park. I was again reminded why I love September baseball... in football, every game is vitally important. In baseball, fans (not excluding myself) take a more lackadaisical attitude all through May/June/July, and then suddenly as the season draws to a close, we seem to suddenly realize "Oh...this game actually does matter," and the atmosphere becomes electric. We also come to realize that even though there are 162 games, each one really is potentially season-deciding. As my smelly colleague pointed out...if we'd won even *one more game* this season, we wouldn't be in our current position of limbo. One measly game. It could have been yesterdays game, or one of those games we lost to Seattle when they swept us, or ANY of those games in August when we should have won and the bullpen blew it. We don't see the importance of these make-or-break moments until they've passed us by.
And now, here we are with our fate in the hands of the Detroit Tigers.
Two years ago, we watched in suspense as the Tigers were defeated by Kansas; we took the division championship and Torii Hunter sent the Royals a case of beer. Now, in 2008, we lose a series to the Royals and tomorrow we'll be cheering on Detroit against Chicago. Fickle alliances are formed and re-formed.
On a completely different note, today was Children's appreciation day.
In addition to showing our appreciation for children by wishing we could use a trebuchet to launch them into the outfield, we made good buddies with the two little kids sitting behind us, who appeared to love shenanigans.
Partway through the game, I started to notice little specks of popcorn landing on and around me. "Where are these mysterious popcorn chunks coming from?" I wondered. After being hit by a somewhat larger piece, my blogger-in-crime turned around to the two giggling smartasses sitting 2 or 3 rows behind us. "Were you....throwing popcorn at us?" he asked.
"That looks like a lie," I said to the kid.
As it turned out, he was blowing popcorn pieces at us through a rolled up poster, like a dart gun. The genius of their plan was that they weren't actually lying when they said they weren't throwing things. I think their mother found it less amusing than we did.
So back to the point. Baseball.
As cool as it was that we won, I wasn't sure how to feel afterwards. Should I be ecstatically happy? Confused? Stressed? Sort of mildly OK with life? All of the above? I'm still not sure.
Tomorrow we will go back to work, and we will sneak glances at the game in Chicago, but regardless of it's outcome we will care, tomorrow, the next day, and ever after. No matter what happens - it sure has been a great season.