Sunday, October 23, 2005

 

World Series notes

Neel at Brevity has inspired me to think about a World Series I'd otherwise be inclined to ignore. I have very mixed feelings about professional sports, feelings that roughly track professional sports' own self-image of opportunistic ambivalence: "We are a national trust safeguarding an historic part of this nature's cultural heritage" versus "we are a business."

MLB honchos trot out the former when they want to extend their antitrust exemption or get sweetheart stadium financing deals, or generate fan interest, or get public support against the Player's Union.

They trot out the latter when they want expansion, or to threaten team relocation in order to bludgeon a city into a sweetheart stadium financing deal, or to charge ticket and concession prices that make it cost $100 for two people to attend a game and have a snack, or to squeeze every last dollar out of everything connected to the game.

To me, the Texas teams personify the "business" side of baseball. The Texas Rangers are a relocation team and the Houston Astros are an expansion team,* they seem to be owned by sleazier businessmen among the baseball ownership cadre, and the Astros originally sold the naming rights to their new ballpark to Enron. The Astros have historically had the most hideous uniforms.

So when a Texas team is playing, I find it an inherent turnoff that can only be overcome when a team I really like is playing against them.

Yet this World Series is interesting in that it features two cursed teams: one curse must necessarily end. Houston has partially ended the Texas curse, by being the first Texas baseball team to win a pennant. As I once blogged about the failure of a Texas team to win a World Series:
I call this the Curse of Bush because Texas baseball will not capture a World Series title so long as the Bush family continues to stain the public affairs of our nation.
Let's hope the Astros get no further.

_____
*Yes, yes, the Astros (nee the Colt 45s) joined the NL the same year as my beloved Mets, in 1962. But the Mets were an "expansion" team compensating National League New York fans for the traitorous defection of two teams, the Giants and the Dodgers, to California, in 1957-58 -- the darkest moment of "baseball is business" primacy in baseball history.

Comments:
I always thought the Astros were the relocated Senators. are you telling me now that's the Texas Rangers?

(and I thought your loathing of Texas teams began when they relocated our beloved Washington Senators [with their own curse] down to TX.) The relocation of the Washington Senators killed whatever fascination I had with baseball, because I didn't have a local team for which to root.
 
I've decided to root for the White Sox. Mostly because I prefer Chicago exponentially more than anything out of Texas. But also a little because my boyfriend wants the Astros to win, and I like opposing him.
 
I've been a baseball fan my entire life....and I agree with your theory of the Texas Curse. More power to every other team in the league!
 
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