Top 4th, runners on second and third, nobody out. The Braves had just taken a 3-2 lead on the Dodgers on a single by third baseman Austin Riley, and were in a prime position to bust the game open and put the Dodgers into a precarious hole. Instead, in only a way that the bumbling Braves are capable of doing, they turn a scenario that has a high probability to score some runs into one where they commit three outs in mere minutes in a game where every single one of the first four innings felt like Star Wars trilogies in themselves, they took that long.
After Austin Riley got tagged out for the second out of a bang-bang botched run down, and then the Braves completed the colossal fuck up by harmlessly grounding out to end the inning, this is where I knew that the game was effectively over. I’ve watched enough baseball in my life to recognize that when you give away opportunities to score runs that don’t cross the plate, Murphy’s Law dictates that the opposition will definitively, cash them in instead. What probably should have been a 5-2 or a 4-2 score to end the 4th inning instead remained at a paltry one-run 3-2 score, which the Dodgers would easily grind away and overcome, while the Braves literally went three-and-out in every single inning except one throughout the remainder of the game.
The fuckup on the basepaths undoubtedly sucked all the wind out of the sails of the Braves, ruined all of their swagger and confidence, and most importantly, planted the undefeatable seeds of impending defeat into their minuscule brains. The remainder of the game after that tragic sequence was all but a formality, and a contest of when, the Dodgers would eventually take the lead.
Frankly, the only reason why I watched the entire game was that I was hoping that the Dodgers would go to Kenley Jansen to close the game since he’s been pretty awful throughout the season and he would be the best chance for the Braves to maybe make some late-inning heroics as they’ve done numerous times throughout the year, but it turned out that the Dodgers didn’t trust Jansen in this critical game, and instead rode the hot hand of Julio Urias instead to close out the game himself.
Naturally, I’m sure anyone of my zero readers can see through the façade I put forth of being the world’s worst baseball fan when it comes to the Braves, and I spare a lot of words and drivel bemoaning them and deriding them, as if I had the mutant power to tempt fate to prove me wrong with writing, but in reality, there’s nothing more I would’ve wanted than to see the Braves actually not fuck up for a change, defeat the Dodgers and actually go to the World Series against the Tampa Bay Rays of all teams.
But most importantly, I wanted more than anything than to be validated of the mythical oddity that I’ve been calling Baby Magic, as friends of mine whom have had children and also like baseball, have had birth years where their children came into the world coincide with their teams winning World Series. I mean for god’s sake, the eternally cursed Chicago Cubs won the World Series in 2016 and my friend’s newborn child would always be able to know that their team won a championship in their lifetime. And then just last year, one of my closest friends brought twins into the world and just months later, lived the dream of listening to the Washington Nationals cap off of World Series season while holding his own new children.
I wanted such a magical story, more than anything. I wanted to watch the Braves overcome all of the bullshit that makes them the Braves and ascend to the top of the heap, and become World Series champions, in the year that my daughter was born. I didn’t care if it was a season that really shouldn’t have happened in the first place. I didn’t care if most of the teams in the playoffs probably shouldn’t have been in there in the first place. A championship is still a championship, and considering the Braves last won a World Series in a shortened season in 1995, it was fitting that they’d do it again, along with validating Baby Magic.
I daydreamed about the posts I’d make that detailed Baby Magic, along with the hundreds of words poetically waxed about how one of my life’s ambitions would be fulfilled, and how I’d basically be absolved of having to give a fuck about baseball seriously ever again for the duration of my life. How I could always take a second major victory in the year of 2020 that everyone but my wife and I have bemoaned as being the worst year in history, because the year of our daughter’s birth will never be seen as anything other than a glorious year, no matter how many people have died due to coronavirus, no matter how much bullshit America was capable of, no matter the results of the most polarizing presidential election in history.
But none of that is going to happen anymore. Baby Magic has been debunked; as powerful as I’d believed it could be, having uplifted once-hapless franchises like the Cubs and Nationals, the Braves’ inability to get over being the Braves is just too overwhelming that not even the pure innocent magic that of babies cannot overcome it. It just sucks that it just so happened to be my own child in which this theory had to come to an end against.
So with this atypical Braves loss, all aspirations of happy things are shot and dead and it really is no surprise at all, but doesn’t change the fact that I, along with all Braves fans out there are left disappointed. Yes, I know it’s silly to put so much stock into the Braves and any other sports team, because it’s no secret that winning championships in sports is among the biggest crapshoots out there, but if I didn’t fall into such perils from time to time, that really wouldn’t make me who I am.
I’m never not going to have hope for the teams that I root for, no matter how shitty and pessimistic of a fan I can become, but damn does it really suck because the Braves came closer than they ever have come before in the better part of the last two decades, but as is often times the case with the franchise, they just fall short.
The last thing that chaps my ass is that awaiting the Dodgers in the World Series is the Rays, who are a franchise that’s a lot like the Braves in numerous respects in that they are a franchise run by cheapskates that never spend any money, are perpetually always convinced that they can survive on internal candidates, development and only pick up free agents once they’re over the hill and for only one-year deals. Except that the Rays have played the poor cheapskate game way better than the Braves do or have, and in what could’ve been a World Series of two poor cheapskates who caught lightning in a bottle, instead we have the cheapest team in baseball (unsubstantiated, but also very likely) in the Rays versus the most expensive team in baseball in the Dodgers whose payroll is probably somewhere closer to $300M than $200M but I’m too lazy and agitated to bother finding out numbers.
I thought that if the Braves were to make it to the World Series, the Rays would definitely have been a beatable opponent as opposed to the Astros, but we’ll never find out what could’ve been now. I’m sure MLB is over the moon that a top-market squad like the Dodgers are there, because they seem to believe there’s a correlation in ratings and large market team success, which there very well could be, but in a season that really shouldn’t have happened in the first place, a World Series between the Braves and the Rays would’ve seemed very fitting.
If I had to pick, I’d hope the Rays win the World Series, because if the Braves can’t do it, I’d rather see the cheap-ass Rays win it all and cry poor all the way to the Commissioner’s Trophy, while the Dodgers can take their egregious payroll and crawl back into the runner-up circle where John Smoltz can wax poetic more about how their window should be closing but the power of the almighty dollar keeps it open longer. Regardless, I have zero intention of finding out nor caring what happens because for another year I’m disappointed and over the end result of a baseball season, and I’ve got a long queue of shit I’d rather spend my time watching over a World Series I have zero stake in.