The Braves got shellacked in the first inning last night and lost. The Dodgers took a lead late into the game only to see their manager’s choices and their relief pitchers woof it, sending them to defeat as well.
Which was worse?
Both modes of defeat bring with it a certain form of misery.
For my part I sat, as a Braves fan, and watched my team cough up ten runs in the first inning, secure in the dreadful knowledge that the game was already lost. Most people could just turn it off, I suppose, but I felt it necessary both out of professional obligation and out of a certain sense of, I dunno, mourning, that I had to keep the game on for the next three hours. Because I’m also perpetually online it led to a rather extreme sort of nastiness on Twitter and in comment sections with recriminations, complaining and all other manner of ugliness being hurled about. It was a pretty dreadful experience.
Still, I can’t help but think that that was way better than being a Dodgers fan, watching your starter pitch wonderfully, only to see your manager make two really bad calls to the bullpen with both your team’s generational superstar and a guy they brought in via free agency to “fix” the bullpen just implode, while the hero for the other team turned out to be none other than one of your own team’s former players. It was a gut-punch, heart-ripped-out-of-your-chest defeat, made all the worse by the specifics of who was doing the punching and heart-ripping.
If you had to choose your own method of execution, and your only two choices were (a) drinking a glass of poison that you know would bring certain death, but only in three hours time, allowing you to reflect on your impending demise for that entire time; vs. (b) enjoying your life to the fullest, only to have someone, at a time unknown to you, dropping a 16-ton weight on your head, I’m guessing most of us would pick (b).
In sports, though? I think it’s the opposite. Especially if you’re not a moron like me and you have the good sense to turn off your TV after the first inning, go outside and take a walk.