While the unthinking cosmos turns in its splendor around us, and our national soul is rent asunder on the political stage, it is always comforting this time of year to know that we can turn our careworn eyes to sports to find ourselves reflected in its warming glow.
But this warmth comes not from the beer-soaked artificial grass of the football field, with the communist NFL teams each vying to be more average than one another and the slaveholding plantations of College Football using computers to see which one gets to discriminate against the Mormon colleges. Nor do we see ourselves in the vast array of minor sports, from lacross to hockey to basketball.
No, I speak of that truest of American sports: Baseball.
Baseball is a microcosm of life, capitalism, and truth: rich teams like New York or Boston are able to shower players with money, thus allowing them to hold a competitive edge that can never be erased. This is good, and right, and completely American. Who wants underdogs succeeding when we have rich, cocky favorites to support?
You see this attitude rightly reflected in sports film. When I saw the first Rocky, there wasn't a dry eye in the house when cocky champion Apollo Creed finally put the common street man in his place. Once again sanity reigned, and the favorite won out over the plucky underdog. This is why Rocky is a successful movie that won a screenwriting Oscar, the first ever awarded to a functional illiterate.
Who among us cannot help but smile when the rich, elite private school that recruits players from out of state wins out over the small, rural public school in the local sporting levels? This is right, and good, and the way that the world should work: underdogs should lose, because that is why they are underdogs.
There are signs of hope in the NFL that this mediocrity might finally begin to fracture, and we could once again have the elite and the scum, which is the way of the world. Everyone I know is praying for an uncapped year, so that we can finally see football teams vastly overpay for fading stars at the tail end of their careers, just as we so often see in baseball.
Because as the old joke goes, what's the difference between Lehman's CEO buyout package and Carl Pavano's contract with the Yankees?
The Lehman CEO wasn't a part-time employee.