I’m laid up today with a sore back and I was sitting on my couch watching TV when I saw a banner come across the bottom of the screen advertising a baseball game between the Boston Red Sox and the Kansas City Royals. Suddenly I had a flashback to my youth.
I was just a kid back in the mid-fifties when my love for baseball began. And back in the mid-fifties, Kansas City’s major league baseball team was the Athletics, not the Royals. Back then there were only 16 major league baseball teams, eight in each league. Today, there are 30 MLB teams, 15 in each league.
I was curious about how many teams of the original 16 had moved to different cities, so I googled “1957 major league baseball teams” and I got a list of the final standings of the 1957 season.What I noticed was that, in addition to the Kansas City A’s now being the Oakland A’s, the Milwaukee Braves are now the Atlanta Braves, the Brooklyn Dodgers are now the Los Angeles Dodgers, and the New York Giants are now the San Francisco Giants.
In addition, my then hometown team, the Washington Senators, moved to Minneapolis and became the Minnesota Twins. A few years later, the “New” Washington Senators moved to North Texas and became the Texas Rangers. The current Washington team, the Nationals, are the relocated Montreal Expos.
And for a fascinating bit of baseball trivia, the Cincinnati Reds were known as the Redlegs back in the mid-fifties because America was going through a “red scare” at the time. In 1954, the team’s name was changed from the Reds to the Redlegs due to the word “red” having a political connotation related to Soviet communism. In 1959 the team reverted back to the Reds.
So this is what happens when an otherwise articulate and erudite person becomes housebound due to a minor back injury. You know what they say about idle minds, right?
If I don’t have a horse in the race (i.e., a favorite team that I follow closely), I will generally root for the underdog.
Take this year’s World Series, for example. The two remaining teams to meet in the fall classic were the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Houston Astros. I am not a fan of either team. I would be hard pressed to name even one player from the Dodgers or Astros without Googling their team rosters. In other words, I couldn’t care less about either team.
But I am a baseball fan and I do keep up with the sport, so even though my teams were not involved in the World Series, I watched the games on TV.
The Dodgers were the favorites, which is why I decided to root for the underdog Astros. Because that’s just who I am.
It turned out to be an exceptionally exciting World Series, with the two teams duking it out in the best of seven series. When it was all over, the underdog Astros defeated the Dodgers, four games to three, to win its first World Series in franchise history.
I’m hoping that one of my favorite baseball teams will make it to the World Series next October. But if not, you can catch me rooting for the underdog once again.
Written for today’s one-word prompt, “underdog.”
Game one of the World Series starts tomorrow night. It pits the storied Los Angeles Dodgers against the upstart Houston Astros. And despite the fact that I’m a baseball fan, I couldn’t care less which team wins the best-of-seven series.
That’s because — at the risk of mixing metaphors — I have no horse in this race. I didn’t last year, either, but because the Chicago Cubs, who hadn’t won a World Series in a thousand years, were playing, I was pulling for them.
I closely follow two Major League Baseball teams and both of them went down in flames this season. One lost close to 100 games and was never in contention. The other, despite winning its division, crapped out in the first round of the playoffs. Oh well.
In the meantime, there’s football and basketball to keep me at least somewhat interested in professional sports until baseball resumes in the spring.
And, as I say at the end of almost every baseball season, “maybe next year.”