Saturday, October 28, 2006

Cardinals Win World Series on Behalf of the Mets

During the (just-ended) World Series, I was asked by several people whether I had a rooting interest, given the fact that neither my beloved Mets nor my hated Yankees were involved.

I long ago developed a method for judging such questions that is analogous to the approach some elderly Jews take toward analyzing any news event. They ask, "Is it good for the Jews?" It's a straightforward criterion to apply when the event in question is something like a suicide bombing in Jerusalem (obviously Bad For The Jews) or Eliot Spitzer's rise to prominence in New York politics (Good For The Jews). When you're talking about something like Madonna's attempt to adopt a boy from Malawi or Korea's detonation of a nuclear device, it requires a more convoluted chain of reasoning--but, hey, the people who gave us the word "Talmudic" are certainly up to the task.

In a similar vein, I ask about any event in the world of baseball, "Is it good for the Mets?" On this basis, I give the Cardinals' five-game victory in the World Series my thumbs up. The Cardinals were the team that eliminated the Mets in a seven-game NLCS. Now that they've won it all, I can console myself through the winter by saying, "Oh well, at least we were beaten by the best team in the world." It makes it easy for me to harbor, at least privately, the belief that this makes the Mets the world's second-best team--not a bad perch for a franchise that was wallowing at the bottom of the NL East a couple of years ago.

In addition, I'm pleased that the National League representative won the Series. All season long, purveyors of conventional sports wisdom kept asserting that the American League was vastly superior to the National League, making claims like "Seven of the eight best teams in baseball are in the American League," "The best team in the National League would have trouble competing in the American League," and offering the Mets' powerhouse offense backhanded compliments like, "The Mets have almost an American League lineup."

Once this meme had sunk in, it was possible for anti-Mets propagandists like Mike Francesca and Chris Russo on WFAN radio to practically treat the Mets' dominance of the National League as a cute but meaningless feat, like finishing first in a Little League tournament.

Maybe the Cards' easy demolition of the Tigers--the team which, let's remember, easily demolished the mighty Yankees just two weeks ago--will put a big dent in the myth of American League supremacy. I hope so. After all, that would be Good For The Mets.

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