Well, this is awkward. The Yankees might already have stumbled off into the sunset, but eight teams are still alive. While the rest of the baseball world is gushing about the drama — the drama! — of October baseball, here we sit. About a month ago I ran into an acquaintance of mine who happens to be a Dodger fan. We hadn’t seen each other in a few months, so after we exchanged pleasantries he slid a knife into my kidney. “I guess you’ll have some free time in October since the Yankees won’t be playing.”
There was a hint of smile on his face, just enough to make me wonder if he was giving me shit or stating a fact. It didn’t matter. If I’m being honest, the silver lining of this cloud is that my life right now doesn’t revolve around the vagaries of Major League Baseball scheduling or Aaron Boone’s bullpen management. I know my friend suffered dearly on Saturday night as Clayton Kershaw self-immolated on the Dodger Stadium mound, and there was part of me that was grateful it wasn’t Gerit Cole and the Yankees suffering a similar fate. It turns out there is freedom in mediocrity.
But there’s also bitterness. I couldn’t be happy for Minnesota fans who got to watch their team win a playoff series for the first time in forever, so instead I wondered aloud why the Twins were celebrating as if they’d just won the World Series. Look away; I am hideous.
Because the baseball, I’m told, has been brilliant. Carlos Correa (sorry) continues to craft a postseason résumé that screams Cooperstown; Bryce Harper still rounds third like a man possessed, making all of us wish he had run through Hal Steinbrenner’s stop sign and into Yankee pinstripes all those years ago; the Arizona Diamondbacks have looked the Dodgers dead in the eye and wondered why they’re supposed to be scared.
It’s October, and it’s baseball. It just ain’t us.