Even though we've been unable to watch all of the thrilling game 5 madness the last few days, Stinky and I have been reveling in the Midwest's October Glory.
For once, we don't just mean the fall foliage that dots the landscape of the upper midwest, though--certainly--writing this blog from a coffee shop in a quaint Wisconsin lakeside village, with elms and maples turning orange and golden and faded green in early afternoon light is pretty awesome. No, we mean the fact that our preferred play-off teams all managed to do pretty well. Sure the Rays got bumped off by the Rangers, but everybody else we were rooting for: the Cardinals, the Brewers and the Tigers, pulled out big series wins.
It's nice to know that our cheering for a team does not doom them to suckitude, and nicer still to know that we are blissfully free from three more weeks of "pinstripe mystique" and "four aces of the apocalypse" talk. Sure, some people will talk about low ratings and the fact that very few people beyond the Milwaukee city limits cares about the Brewers, but that misses the point.
The point is that, right now, the best baseball is being played in our neck of the woods. And it's being played by a bunch of guys who used to wear the Twins Blue and Red. So even though Delmon Young will be nursing an oblique through the ALCS, we'll keep chearing for the Tigers and our supractalicious ex-left fielder whose tattoos and glower seem to suit the hardened blue collar edge of the Motor City.
And even though the Cardinals have won more World Series' than any team whose name does not start with a "Y" and end with an "ankees", we'll cheer because there's little Nicky Punto scooping up grounders and flipping them to a glacier sized first baseman between the beer signs and the red brick facades of a classic old stadium in a classic baseball town.
And even though they're our border war neighbors, we'll keep cheering for the Brew Crew and the home run slide and Bob Ueker calling a World Series game, because last night there was our hyperactive ex-centerfielder careening across home plate with a giddy slide and popping up in a fit of glee to "BEAST MODE" it up with the vegetarian first baseman and goofily bearded closer.
Forget the big markets and the big budgets and the big names. Let's keep this ride going on to November! Let's relish the chance to see champagne corks get popped alongside bottles of Bud and buckets of cheese curds and gallons of axel grease. Let's root, root, root for fly over country and the parts of America where fandom isn't written off as a business expense and stars are nurtured over years rather than bought up during the offseason.
It's a great time to love baseball, and a great time to love the midwest. (Luckily for us, we love both!)