On the Radio: Why Sports Beats Politics

Well, the Rangers had a great season. Not even a disappointing World Series can take that away. They just ran up against a much better team that was really on its game.

By the way, listening to saddened Rangers fans during this Series clarified something for me, something that’s been nagging at the edge of my mind for ages.

For decades, I’ve heard Dallas Cowboys fans, who are among the world’s sorest losers, excuse away defeats with lines like “We didn’t play our game,” and “We didn’t do what we’re capable of doing.” For the most fervent fans, the Cowboys never lose;  they just fail to do the expected things that produce victory. The hidden assumption is that the Cowboys could have won any game had they not perversely refused to follow the fool-proof formula. In other words, they were in charge, they were capable, but they idiotically squandered their chances and lost.

But wait. Watching the Rangers  brought me this blindingly obvious revelation: Teams lose because the winners prevent them from doing what they do best.  They take you out of your game and make you play their game, and when that happens, you lose.

“We just didn’t hit” is a semantic confusion which seems to leave the power of choice with the batters,  who, presumably, could have decided to smash a double off the wall instead of dribbling out to first. But  it would be more accurate to say, “Their pitchers made sure we didn’t hit.” The batters had no choice. The pitchers’ choices overwhelmed them.

Wow. How do I figure these things out? That’s why I get the big bucks!

Well, as another public service, here’s my KERA/NPR commentary explaining why sports are so much more lovable than politics. I had about ten more reasons, but this is all I had time to include. Have a listen here before you go vote today.

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