Dear Lou Piniella,
Cheer up! Not that you’re too down or anything. The Cubs just got caught in a cold spell. You and I both know it’s just another season and it won’t be long again ‘til the hot, dry Arizona air entertains the extensive professional warm-up we call “spring training.” The Cubs were the best team this year, and no decadent, hackneyed locker room champagne party thrown for the winner of television’s World Series is going to say otherwise.
You may find, as I have, that you can take solace in the most statistically sound method for determining the best team: the regular season. Postseason, schmostseason. The playoffs aren’t a big enough sample to tell anything, really. They’re just a few names thrown into a hat being drawn out slowly enough to enthrall a television audience. Eff the World Series, man. It’s just a name that doesn’t mean what it used to back when men were men and home runs were scarce.
Let’s face it: baseball, wonderful and patriotic though it may be, ain’t what it used to be. Never again will Ty Cobb jump into the stands and beat up a fan who has no hands. Never again will the field be so unkempt that Walter Johnson’s piddly ground ball hit a small rock in the infield grass and jump over the third baseman’s head, scoring the winning run in the last game of the now-defunct Washington Senators’ only World Series championship. Never again will a fat, hot-dog-eating, beer-guzzling patron of this good country’s brothels be the best player in the game year after year.
So what am I saying? Not much, really, except that the time when each league’s team with the best regular season record played in the World Series correlates to a time when baseball was funny and whimsical. Whereas the modern era, where four teams from each league get to play a special tournament, correlates to baseball players being fine-tuned boring machines made of steroids and listlessness. This means when a player shows any hint of quirkiness, he must be praised as being quite a character, even if this is only because he did a little jig in the middle of Fenway, as Jonathan Papelbon did last year. Me, I prefer Milton Bradley with his incensed, wide-eyed stare. Milton Bradley does not like his cheese moved. Milton Bradley will fight you. Did you see when he hit that grand slam that one time? He was mighty pleased with himself. He acted as if he had just slam-dunked a basketball against three clones of Wilt Chamberlain.
But Milton Bradley is just touchy. Ty Cobb was playing with the pain of his mother having murdered his father in cold blood with him watching. Milton Bradley will beat you up, but Ty Cobb would cold murder you and your family if they happened to be there that day. We need more players like that, don’t we Lou? Players like that make stories, and baseball needs more stories, because if there are no stories, there is no reason for Cubs fans to remember the 2008 season. Remember the Black Sox of 1919? Nowadays, no team would ever take money from gamblers to throw the World Series because they’re all so well paid. And what’s up with that, Lou? Why do these physically fit simpletons make so much damn money? If I had all that money, I’d spend it on better dog food for all our nation’s dogs. You should see some of the crap people feed their dogs. Table scraps? You really think the spaghetti you have every night is giving your terrier/Dalmatian/cocker spaniel/Labrador retriever mix all the vitamins and minerals it needs?
But I digress. Wait, from what did I digress? Well, so maybe I’ve just gone on a free-associative rant for the past 600 words or so, but here is what I do know: the Cubs were the best team in baseball in 2008 because 162 games is going to show that so much better than a tournament that exists just for the purpose of generating revenue. Think about it, Lou: A player only gets between four and six at-bats for every average nine innings, so there really needs to be a big-ass sample size in order for there to be any conclusive evidence of anything. That is my argument. Basically just here, in this last paragraph. What happened to our baseball, Lou?
Yours in no-sense no-nonsense,
Ernest G. “Wildcat” LoBue