Saturday, September 21, 2013

red sox nation

Last night the Red Sox clinched the American League East.  The celebration on the field and in local taverns is another illustration of how sports can be thrilling regardless of any monetary factors. I wrote in an earlier blog how I was excited watching a college basketball game once and a fellow asked me how much money I had riding on the game. I told him I had none, just thought it was thrilling to see how a team (Syracuse) had defied predictions and was excelling in the Big East tournament.  The fellow doubted me. He said nobody gets excited like I was without some money being involved.

Very wrong.  I was in a tavern when the Red Sox clinched last night.  Half of the bar watching the game on television gave the Red Sox a standing ovation.  And this was nothing compared to the shenanigans at Fenway Park where the players and fans acted like children dancing and shpritzing everyone with champagne.

The Red Sox were not supposed to do well this year. It was two years ago when all heralded the team in April as likely champions. The team then was loaded with high priced talent.  The Red Sox did not win that year collapsing like a cheap tent in a hurricane during September.  And last year the Red Sox despite some sluggers on the roster, played like the American Legion teams that practice in the park near my home.

How come this team was so successful. They currently have the best record in the majors. Really only one slugger and just a couple of players batting over 300.

Sometimes, even in an individual based game like baseball, the whole can be greater than the sum of its parts.  A positive culture and climate can result in batters and pitchers concentrating more. Players run the bases intelligently, make sure they don't miss signs, bunt when necessary--just work harder when the culture is more supportive. And of course winning helps nourish that culture.

I was one of those applauding in the tavern last night. I did not get up and join the standing ovation, but I clapped heartily.  No money on the line.  Just enjoy sports.  And I cannot be the only one. Advertisers do not support ESPN and the plethora of dedicated sports radio and tv stations if I am alone.

One more bit of evidence. See if you can catch on Sportscenter the reaction to the Tampa Bay victory over Baltimore in 18 innings last night. And then tell me if this was about money or the joy of playing the game.

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