Wednesday, October 04, 2006

on feeling out of place here in october

tigers, meet october. october, tigers. been a while.

thanks to some sudden storms in new york last night, i found myself in the law school lounge today with my lunch, headphones plugged into the laptop and listening to detroit sport radio and trying to contain my anxiety. when verlander wiggled his way out of the bases loaded early in the game, i was giddy and ready to yell, but quickly noticed all the popped-collared 23-year-olds around me yelling at their laptops.

being a midwesterner in dc, i know i'm out of place. even more so where i go to school. but i felt a more profound difference click into place. after game one, i did a little research and had discovered that the yankees' payroll (as of april) was $194.6 million. the tigers: $82.6 million. the tigers' payroll is 42% the size of the yankees'. every starter in the yanks' lineup has been to the all-star game at least once (in fact, the only guy who's only been once is batting ninth). when you buy an all-star team, how are the rest of us supposed to compete? it's elitist. and it's not right.

elitist. now i've been accused (perhaps rightly so) of being elitist ... but it's somehow different. i realized that if i had engaged any of the popped collars about the difference in payroll and how that was just fundamentally unfair ... i don't think i would have been well-received. maybe i'm a work-ethic elitist. i think that money shouldn't get you places, hard work should. i just don't think it's authentic, and what i love about baseball is that it's - authentic. largely unchanged by technology (steroids notwithstanding, another scolding blog to come another day). genuine. unpredictable. at the whim of the baseball gods or karma or (sometimes i believe) how determinedly i can cross my fingers and hope.

the tigers, of course, took the day. back to detroit for two games, needing only those two to send the dynasty money built back to the bronx. who can say what will happen. but as i sit in class with the students whose parents have bought them beemers and are footing the six-figure law school bill, private school from age 5, never having known what it's like to know their parents can't pay the mortgage (i'm looking at you, catgirl - you too, R)... the fact that sometimes midwesterners with strong work ethics and no pedigree can hang with the popped collars - it wasn't lost on me.

p.s. not sure why it's saying i posted this yesterday. i'm not psychic. the date is just wrong.

1 comment: