This has been a good sports week for the Hoak household. Last Saturday, UK beat LSU, the number one team in the country. Of course, most of us missed the end of the game because we were at the wedding of somebody or other. Kind of fuzzy on the details, but I think I heard the words “man and wife,” so I assume everything worked out all right. Anyway, you don’t get to beat the top-ranked team every day, so that was very cool.
Also, the Cleveland Indians are one game away from the World Series. After losing the opening game of the ALCS to Boston, they’ve won three straight and are playing fabulous baseball. It’s fun to watch the fans going nuts, towels waving, every pitch important. They’re hitting well and pitching has been great the last two games.
Here’s what’s cool about this, and I’m picking up on a point Bill Simmons made in a column last week. It’s not just that your team is winning, although that’s a huge part of it. It’s that they’re still playing when other teams are at home watching television. It’s that you log onto ESPN.com or SI.com and see your team as the front page story. All of a sudden, everyone across the country is talking about guys you’ve been following all year. They’re finally noticing how good they are and how much fun they are to watch. It’s exciting to go through the day, thinking, hey, my team’s got a playoff game tonight and I can’t wait to watch it. It’s exhilarating to be walking out of the aforementioned wedding in a huge crowd and everyone is going, “Did you hear? UK beat LSU!!!” National columnists suddenly have opinions on your favorite players. The whole country is watching. There’s something extra in the air. Your team is in the Top 10 and ESPN is broadcasting their weekly GameDay program from their campus. There’s a possibility, however slim it is, that you could go watch your team in the World Series. The World Series. You send e-mails, make phone calls, read all the stories. And you wouldn’t get to do it if your team were at home or in the midst of a losing streak like so many times before. But this time, this year, is different.