As I was watching last night's game, at some point in the eighth inning I said to Liz, "The Sports Guy must be losing his mind right about now." Sure enough, he was: Paradise lost, again. I'm not a fan of either team in last night's game, but I definitely know how he feels. This part of his column describes how I feel about the Pittsburgh Steelers, and sometimes the Pirates and Penguins:
"Hey, this is my team. I came to grips with that a long time ago. They're part of my life. Sometimes they lift me to a higher place. Sometimes they punch me in the stomach and leave me for dead. There's no rhyme or reason. And there are thousands and thousands of diehards just like me, all trapped in that same bad marriage, united by our experiences and memories."
Every year, when the Steelers lose in the playoffs, or don't even get there, I swear it's the last year I'm going to root for them. Liz gets mad at me when I change the channel when they're losing. But I always change the channel back, and I always come back to them every autumn. They're my team, and I can't stay mad at them for long. I'm still bitter about the Pirates losing game 7 of the 1992 NLCS to the Braves (they've never recovered from that one), but every spring, I follow the team hoping that this year they'll find some magic and get to the playoffs. The Penguins won a few championships when I wasn't a big hockey fan, but I still keep the faith that they'll get another one soon. When they've played marathon playoff games and lost, it hurts in that numb way that only a loss by your team can. So I know exactly what it feels like for Bill Simmons to watch his team lose again to a hated rival in the biggest game of the season. There's always next year, but the pain of losses like this lingers for a long time.
And he's right: FOX's baseball ratings are about to go straight into the toilet. A Cubs-Red Sox series would have been a ratings Goliath, but Yankees-Marlins only excites people here in New York, a handful of die-hard fans in Florida, and no one else. I think it will go to the Yankees in six games, which means that we'll have another ticker tape parade up Broadway in about ten days. But I won't be watching the games to see how it happens.