October Madness & Why We Love One & Done

I’d just turned on my car after leaving a rec league basketball game when I heard the radio voice tell me, “And Jim Leyland appears headed to his second consecutive championship series.” This made sense to me. Scherzer had been utterly dealing and the A’s very well may have been over matched in the series.

Now mind you, at this point I knew nothing of the score, assuming the Tiger’s were rolling. It wasn’t until after the commercial break and half-way home did I learn it was still a 3-1 ballgame. “OK, the A’s managed to keep it close,” I thought.

Single. Double. Double. Parallel park. Traffic dodge. Bag toss. TV on.

I’d been yipping and shouting alone in my car – a pedestrian indeed gave me a weird look which I inherently returned because it was your typical SF transient doing something odd – as Oakland mounted its comeback.

Coco then singled in the game winner, the Coliseum erupted, and I danced in some manner. It was October baseball at its finest. Magic.

It reminded me of why we love this stuff.

I’m not particularly an A’s fan – I own their green hat and no other MLB paraphernalia – but is there anything better than a team with their back up against the wall and prevailing? Here was a team with no other option than to win and they did. A tale not specific to these A’s, just the universal appeal of fighting to survive.

Sure we all bitched about the one game playoff for the Wild Card slot but it gave us the one-and-done appeal. Win or go home. It’s like that 68 team basketball tournament in March.

Dammit I love this stuff.

I’ve long since fallen out of love with my first love of baseball; but I will never lose my love for October. Or March.

My favorite part in the terrific documentary Four Days in October about the Red Sox’ epic defeat of the Yankees in the 2004 ALCS is a snippet of an interview with Spike Lee. He’s asked about game seven and how this sorta stuff correlates to his job as a filmmaker (paraphrasing), “Movies are fake. This kind of drama you can’t make it up. It’s why sports are perfect.”

Indeed they are and when the work of a year winds down to a single pitch, swing, shot or to whatever other minutiae you’d like to break down the difference between winning and losing, it’s real and pure. As real as it gets.

And today we’ll be treated to it. A pair of games (A’s – Tigers, Giants – Reds) in which all four teams will be fighting for survival. It’s going to be a near impossible work day. It’s going to be fun.

Long live backs against walls. Long live one-and-done.

Oh, and the road to March begins tomorrow. No big deal.

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