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Friday, November 16, 2007

The World Series in review (written 11/4/07)

So the Red Sox won the World Series again, the World Series of North America, anyway. Only Canada and the US have teams in this League, so the “World” label reflects our distinctly American way of ignoring the fact that the real World Baseball Classic was won in 2006 by Japan, with the US not even making the semifinal round. Well, my prediction last week of a 5 game Sox win was too pessimistic, as we won in a complete and total 4 game sweep. Once again, the Sox managed to peak at just the right time, and rode a palpable tide of emotion to their second Series win in 4 years. It certainly looked like the Rockies were rusty after an 8 day layoff, giving credence to the notion that streaks can grow cold and momentum can run out of steam if the players are not re-energized every day or so by actually playing.

The Sox finally put together a lineup that had some real consistency – batters one through seven were finally all hitting reliably, and feeding off one another in a way that wears out pitchers and builds hitters’ momentum; there’s no weak spot in the lineup that gives pitchers a breather. The crowd energy was great in both cities, though as an outsider I wasn’t too clear on the real meaning of the white handkerchiefs that Rockies fans were waving. They reminded me of the white flag of surrender, and I’m guessing that at some subconscious level the Rockies’ fans were also getting this message. And from the way things went, surrender was looking like a good idea.

No RNG measurements were made during the playoffs, since I ran out of luck/synchronicity/chutzpah, and no World Series tickets fell into my lap. But at least we’ve finally had a chance to analyze the RNG data from the September 12th regular season game, and it looks like we caught a doozie. That was the next-to-last game of the year, the one when the Sox clinched the home field advantage for the playoffs when the Yankees lost that same night. The game itself ended at 10 pm, but the biggest spike we’d ever recorded occured just before 11pm that night,

The computer printout showed a surge of coherence at 10:56 pm, a surge that was 3 standard deviations from the norm (meaning the odds were 200 to 1 against it ever happening by chance). But 10:56 just happened to be the moment when the Red Sox players came back out onto the field from their clubhouse celebration and began squirting champagne on the crowd. Somehow or other, the euphoric subjective experiences of those remaining 5000 fans got translated into the physical reality of a computer readout. As I’ve said before, I have no idea how that sort of mind/machine interaction works. So rather than spout pseudo-scientific mumbo-jumbo about quantum entanglement and scalar waves, I’ll just say that it’s another key confirmation of our theory and our technology. Kudos to Scott Wilber of Comscire for devising this software – its potential uses are unlimited.

Some other thoughts:
1. I noticed that I wasn’t nearly as excited by this win as I was in 2004. In fact, my Buddhist son (and viewing companion for Game 7) wondered if I had attained the much-desired state of equanimity, where no strong preferences are felt towards either side of a duality (hot vs. cold, light vs. dark, Good Guys vs. Bad Guys). It’s the state of mind where happiness doesn’t depend on any particular outcome of events. There was some truth to this explanation: I’d had my fair share of championship joy in 2004, so I felt content to let other teams have their turn. So it might not be enlightenment, but merely my Inner Oldest Child at work: being a good boy and sharing with my younger siblings - after I’d gotten mine, of course.

2. This victory feels distinctly unfair, and it has to do with money. Our local press was honest enough to point out the huge disparity in resources between the Sox and the Rockies. Our player payroll was $143 million in salaries this year, while the Rockies total was $54 million. That’s right – we could afford nearly three times as much in salaries, which meant that we could afford to hire more of the stars who command such high contracts. In fact, just four of our regulars (Ramirez, Drew, Schilling and Ortiz) earned more than the entire Rockies’ team! So Boston was beginning to resemble the Yankees – ready, willing and able to spend whatever it takes to win. Not a good wholesome feeling for a fan base that used to enjoy its underdog status, and another reason for Major League Baseball to set team salary caps, as is done in pro football and basketball. Otherwise, baseball will just mirror American capitalism, with its ever-widening gap between the haves and the have-nots.

3. No rest for the weary – this afternoon is the football “game of the century”, a regular season meeting between our undefeated NE Patriots and the undefeated defending Super Bowl archrival Indianapolis Colts. Should be a great one, with sportswriters already comparing the rivalry to Yankees/Red Sox. Which makes me wonder , as I acknowledge a little bit of dread about having to get geared up for yet another epic – what is it about rivalries and competition and the Good Guys beating the Bad Guys that continues to captivate people? How do people keep getting pumped up for all these contests? Don’t we have enough sectarian strife in the world alread?

More on that in the next post, but at least we’re not bombing the evil-doers of the sports world – hearkening back to the famous quote about sports being the moral equivalent of war. And a healthier outlet, that’s for sure. So what have I done - transcended duality, finally grown up, gotten too old to care, or all of the above? Buddha only knows.


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The Joy of Sox: Weird Science and the Power of Intention is produced by 2 Cousins Productions and Pinch Hit Productions. © 2006 The Joy of Sox Movie LLC. For more information, contact info@thejoyofsoxmovie.com.

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