The Philadelphia Phillies beat the Washington Nationals last night, but the Atlanta Braves lost to the Pittsburgh Pirates. As a result, every Phillies' loyalist was forced to watch the 'Nats' wear the Eastern Division crown.
Before anyone jumps to conclusions, it should be known that I appreciate the game of baseball and everyone who is in it. I've even come to accept the New York Mets and their fans, which should put me on a path toward sainthood. (Don't misconstrue that bit of lighthearted humor.)
Because I've followed the Phillies since the 1970s, I've been fortunate to see numerous playoff runs and to hold two World Series' pennants in my hands. In consideration of that, I humbly salute what the Nationals have accomplished this season.
People who can't bring themselves to do that might claim to be baseball fans. In reality, it's possible that those individuals use sports as a cover to vent their overly dramatized frustrations with life.
Saluting the best
The Phillies won the World Series when they defeated the Kansas City Royals in 1980 and the Tampa Bay Rays in 2008. By all reasonable standards, fellow objective baseball fans would rightly say that they were the best team in baseball during those two seasons.
It's certainly fair to speculate that other teams were somehow better than whoever the World Series' winner was during any season. But, it's also never logically accurate. Those who are prone to push that point beyond modest debate know that their ideas are based upon assumptions that can never be proven.
The Nationals are the best team in the National League East. Whoever wins the 2012 World Series, be it that team or a second-place Wild Card winner, will then be the best team in baseball this year.
It's natural to use emotional logic in the world of sports. No one would claim that it's normal to sit stoically and watch your team win, or lose. It also isn't rational to behave like a petulant child during times of victory, or defeat.
Many of us played baseball on fields when we were children. A certain percentage of the adult
population grew up and then somehow surrendered all sense of sportsmanship, decency and common sense. Just look around during any sporting event and this point will be reaffirmed. Then consider the impact those destructive behaviors have on children and generational neglect becomes less of a mystery.
Anyone who believes that every game, series or season should be won has never moved beyond their earliest childhood days. Positive adult role models taught me how to respond to the world in victory and in defeat. I'm also thankful to currently be connected with other people who understand how to properly influence future generations of baseball loyalists.
Best wishes to all Nationals' fans and to the supporters of every other playoff team.
Sean O'Brien's professional writing career began in 1990, when he first began working in the Philadelphia Phillies' farm system. He was a freelance sports writer for five years and is currently a Featured Contributor for Yahoo! Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @SeanyOB and read his daily Sports Blog: Insight.
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