Congratulations, to begin with, to all Red Sox and Cubs fans, who burnished their reputations as lovable losers, with their teams both snatching defeat from the jaws of victory in dramatic fashion. There is a lesson for them in the plight of the Rangers fan. For decades New York Rangers fans had to endure the mocking chants of 1940! 1940! — the last time they won the Stanley Cup — until 1994, when they finally won it again, only to relapse almost immediately into the mediocrity in which they are still mired today. Now the Rangers fan has no mocking chants to endure, because no one cares; the Rangers have just become another average team that hasn’t won for a while. If you can’t always win, next best is to always lose, which is a distinction. I suspect that many Red Sox and Cubs fans secretly root for their teams to lose, or better, almost win.

Last night’s Yankees-Sox game was certainly thrilling (note to Floyd McWilliams: I’m not listening), although I took advantage of the break between the top and the bottom of the 11th to take out the trash and consequently missed Aaron Boone’s game-winning home run. But at various points Fox showed two players and several fans with their hands clasped together, as if in supplication. Yes, the big bearded man in the sky apparently concerns himself with whether the Yankees rally against Pedro in the bottom of the 8th. Aristotle had the first word on this subject:

[F]or while thought is held to be the most divine of things observed by us, the question how it must be situated in order to have [divine] character involves difficulties. For if it thinks of nothing, what is there here of dignity. It is just like one who sleeps…what does it think of? Either of itself or of something else; and if of something else, either of the same thing always or something different…Evidently, then, it thinks of that which is most divine and precious, and it does not change; for change would be change for the worse, and this would be already a movement…Therefore it must be of itself that the divine thought thinks (since it is the most excellent of things), and its thinking is a thinking on thinking.

Aristotle, Platonizing, makes God sound rather like Wittgenstein, but you catch his drift. Spinoza is blunter:

For the reason and will which constitute God’s essence must differ by the breadth of all heaven from our reason and will and have nothing in common with them except the name; as little, in fact, as the dog-star has in common with the dog, the barking animal.

And the last from a god, who ought to know, Dr. Manhattan of Watchmen, chastising Veidt for trying to kill him (note to Jim Henley: I am too a comics blogger!):

I’ve walked across the sun. I’ve seen events so tiny and so fast they hardly can be said have occurred at all. But you…you are a man. And this world’s smartest man means no more to me than does its smartest termite.

Surely God, if He can rouse Himself to intervene in human affairs at all, will find beneath His dignity anything less than the World Series.

Aaron Haspel | Posted October 17, 2003 @ 6:21 PM | Philosophy,Sports

4 Responses to “Prithee”

  1. 1 1. steve

    So much for Billy Beane’s ‘Mummyball’. It’s a routine line drive over your head..don’t move up on it, Trot.
    Before the game, the only thing everybody on ‘Baseball Tonight’ agreed on: "Torre will use anybody tonight except Mussina."


  2. 2 2. Eric

    What if the history of human suffering is not so much evidence of an uncaring or uninvolved god, but merely a god who has strange priorities?


  3. 3 3. Aaron Armitage

    But if God’s reason and will differ so much from ours, what reason would we have for supposing His perspective grows distant as ours would?

    (BTW, as a Cubs fan, the series is between the team I’d like to shoot and the team I’d like to stab, so I don’t really care what happens.)


  4. 4 4. Ken Goldstein

    By the way, if you mention Plato and Aristotle, you’re not really Sports-Blogging. And Yanks/BoSox Game 7 is of far higher Import to any half-decent Almighty, especially given that said Almighty has apparently spent the last 85 years keeping the BoSox from the Promised Land.

    And continuing our conversation: Lyle Lovett’s "Stand By Your Man."? Jimi Hendrix’s "All Along the Watchtower."?

    See http://www.coversproject.com for more ideas.


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