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Confessions of a baseball 'traditionalist'Posted Wednesday, October 15, 2008, at 1:25 AM
For reasons I'm not even sure about, I'm probably as excited about this baseball postseason as any I can recall in the past four or five years. Why? I'm not really sure.
I think I'm even more into it than when the Tigers, who I love, went to the World Series two years ago. Of course, I think there is something nice about being excited without being too emotionally involved. As much as I love my teams, it's sometimes just difficult because of how nervous it makes you.
I'm quite sure this is a sign of unhealthy behavior. But what else it new in my life?
What originally got me so excited was that I genuinely excited about the possibility of a Cubs championship. No, I'm not a Cubs fan, but I dig history being made. I was totally on board in 2004 when the Red Sox finally broke their curse, and I hate the Red Sox.
I guess I just like seeing misery come to an end.
At the same time, though, as the Cubs' hopes dissolved (in record time), I was also laughing gleefully.
But now there are four teams left and I'm not sure where I stand. I've always fancied myself a traditionalist, but I find myself in a familiar position this year -- I'm rooting for a franchise that is much younger than me.
I was a sucker for the Marlins in 1997 (but not 2003, I hate Josh Beckett!) and the Diamondbacks in 2001.
I ask you, is that the behavior of a traditionalist? I didn't think so.
But I can't help it. I'm a sucker for the underdog. I suppose that's why I cheer for curses to end as well. That's also why the first two days of the NCAA Basketball Tournament will always be, in my mind, the pinnacle of the sports year. Keep your Super Bowl or World Series. There is no comparison to 13 seeds dropping overrated major conference schools like bad habits. None.
But I digress. (Again, what's new?) The point is, I can't resist this team. For those of us who don't care one bit about the Yankees or Red Sox, seeing another team win the AL East was outstanding.
Apparently the sun doesn't rise in Fenway Park and set in Yankee Stadium. I guess ESPN didn't get that memo.
The only thing that might have made me happier than the Rays winning this year's Series would have been the Dodgers and the Red Sox. There would be something hilarious about the Fenway Faithful seeing their old favored son return, knowing that their team is still paying him $18 million to hit homers for the other team.
But both of those teams look too far gone at this point.
Looks like Phillies/Rays to me. I can handle that.
So I guess we'll just chalk it up to my love of Cinderella stories. Longoria, Upton & company seem to be for real. I'm just going to sit back and enjoy the show.
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Jared Jernagan is a 2003 graduate of Wabash College and has been in journalism since 2005.