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By Eric

The Major League Baseball playoffs started yesterday. I’m not unrealistic; I know this is completely meaningless to the majority of people in the world. I, however, am not one of those people.

As a rabid, irrational and, some may say, overly obsessive Twins fan, I revel in this time of year. Between intensely meaningful Twins games, cooler but not cold weather, and Vikings games to fill the time between intensely meaningful Twins games, October is one of the best months of the year.

(Did I mention the intensely meaningful Twins games?)

Anyone who doesn’t really follow sports is probably rolling their eyes right now. (Admit it, you are.) How can a silly game be “intensely meaningful?” You’re watching grown men in silly little matching outfits, try and hit a little ball with a bat. Where’s the meaning in that?

In every imaginable technical sense, this is correct. It’s just a game. Nothing else.

The reality, however, is that to so many people baseball is so much more than a game. Maybe not to the majority of people, but to a certain group it is. Just like how to some people football is more than a game. Or a certain band is more than a band. Or pieces of literature aren’t just words on a page.

This is the part where I unleash a diatribe about the cosmic significance of baseball. And the importance of each little strike, ball, out, hit, error, run, etc. Or this is the part where this post takes a decisive turn for the worst, because I wrote the first 200 words before the Twins lost last night, and the next 600 after they lost. And, as you can tell from looking back on my, um, “colorful” tweets from last night; the game was an emotional roller coaster.

While I sit here finishing this post, I am pissed. Plain and simple. My team just lost. In no uncertain terms, this makes me angry, frustrated, sad, etc. The fact is, however, now I will regroup for the next game, because there are at least two more. (Round one of the playoffs is a best of five series.)

And, really, that is the point I am trying to make. The first thing I ever wrote on this site was, “I’ve been spending a lot of time trying to find the metaphorical significance in mundane things lately.” And the fact is, because baseball has played such a large role in my life, I have always tried to figure out the metaphorical significance in the game.

And that’s because it’s not just a game.

What baseball provides for me can take on so many different forms. Sometimes it’s an escape. Sometimes it’s so much a part of my life that it feels like it represents everything around me. And sometimes (like tonight) it spends about four hours kicking me in the groin and I sit here wondering “why?”

So I spend some time cursing the wrong-doers, nitpicking what went wrong and why, and placing blame upon anyone I can think of.

The fact is, however, tomorrow I will be back rooting on the Twins again. They’re my team, and I would never walk away from that. In fact, every year once the Twins season ends, someone will ask me, “who are you rooting for now?” And my answer is always the same, “nobody.”

Most people find this strange, which is a fact that I find strange. Why, after 162 regular season, and however many postseason, games would I suddenly switch my allegiance? For a phony high? To pretend I am connected to something? Why?

I am a baseball fan, but the Twins are my team. Once they are done, I no longer cheer for a team. I cheer for a moment or a story. To proactively root for someone else would be dishonest. Disloyal. Untrustworthy.

Maybe that’s overblown. Maybe I care too much. Maybe I get a little too worked up during games.

Sometimes, however, a game isn’t just a game. Sometimes it means more. To me at least. And while I can’t make you understand that, and some of you may still be rolling your eyes, it’s true. It’s part of my life. Just like there is some seemingly insignificant something in your life that means a little bit more to you. Whatever that something may be.

On the same night that my team lost, Roy Halladay of the Philadelphia Phillies pitched a no-hitter. To many of you, that means nothing. And, in terms of the Phillies winning, it means about the same to me. But the no-hitter itself, something that has only happened twice in postseason baseball history, meant something. It was special. It was a moment.

You might not understand why this is important, and I probably can’t explain it, but to me it makes perfect sense.

And that’s exactly why it’s not just a game.

By Adam

It helps to boil things down. Thundering through my life, a lot of details drop through the cracks, and the time to remember all of this shit is theoretical. For me, it’s got to be in terms I understand.

photo from the Telegraph

Take this Israel-Palestine situation, for example. So someone attacked a ship carrying aid and someone is calling someone a terrorist and yadda yadda. You know how I see it? Lowest common denominator, that’s how. The Middle East is like Magic Johnson, and Israel and Palestine are AIDS. Now, you can’t beat AIDS. That’s just science. But like Magic shows us, you can live with it and make a living being the next Charles Barkley. And then, you’ve got people trying to cure the AIDS—I guess that would be Iran?—okay, listen. I’m not sure what I’m advocating here, but it helps to look at things in black and white.

You know how everyone is pissed off at the president for his response (or lack of one) to the oil spill? This is hilarious. What are we expecting here? “Air Force 12—A highly sophisticated shrimping boat codenamed ‘JENAY’—trawls the Gulf, helmed by Captain Barack Obama and his merry crew of cabinet men and one loveable retard, administering soggy justice to the oil and the nefarious British scalawags that market in it.” He’s the president; he’s supposed to wear a suit and sound smart and be every white guy’s “one black guy I know.” Oh, I have another idea! We can use Obama’s white-hot rage at the recovery effort to set the Gulf aflame, saving drunken southerners and Vietnamese people a job. That’s the kind of change I voted for.

And of course, there’s that Detroit pitcher who snatched a one-hitter from the jaws of a perfect game with the help of an umpire. What am I even supposed to say to this? It’s 2010! Who gives a fuck about baseball? If you’re an adult and still follow baseball fervently, you are either an autistic or a fantasy baseball aficionado, and I don’t know which one is worse. At least you can have a conversation with an autistic person.

I read an article on CNN today about this guy—this executioner—promoting the firing squad as a means of capital punishment in Utah. To this I give a hearty “hell yes.” If you absolutely have to kill someone in front of a crowd of witnesses, go Wild West on them. There’s nothing humane about the lethal injection: it’s fucking boring for everyone. I’d rather watch a documentary about a man that collects championship-related hats than watch a lethal injection. Do you understand this? I’d rather watch an artful tracking shot of rare NFC Championship game loser hats than watch a man fall asleep and then not wake up. It’s a function of entertainment.

Over-thinking things has brought on almost all of the problems now facing the world. Just remember: the end times are now, so let’s just enjoy it. The alternative is painfully boring.

Compiled by Ryan

The links:

-Perhaps the most interesting thing to happen to the late-night landscape would be a daily Oprah talk show.

-A friend pointed out how behind the game this NYT article about Conan’s web presence makes their team seem.  Choice quote, when talking about cross-promoting TV and Web: “We could be the first to bridge the gap, if we’re smart to engage it.”

-An upcoming Steve Carrel/Ryan Gosling film just added a former America’s Next Top Model contestant to what was an otherwise talented cast, including Emma Stone.

-Finally, in honor of opening day, the origin of all 30 major league teams’ nicknames.

New music spotlight:

Jakob Dylan Women + Country

Jakob Dylan’s 2008 solo album, Seeing Things, was one of my favorite listens the last few years, due in equal parts to the sparse production (by Rick Rubin) and the classically folk lyrics.  While Women + Country is a departure from that formula, it’s still an interesting album:

Jakob Dylan – “Nothing But the Whole Wide World,” from Women + Country, out now on Columbia