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Hail to the Victors
I was elated, of course, when the San Francisco Giants won the Western Division of the National League this year. That feeling, however, is already a ghostly memory. Like all the other victories I have enjoyed this season, this one is merely another means to the far greater end of a World Championship. That outcome, as we know, is still uncertain.

Not that I am ungrateful for the ride. Running up the highest number of wins in team history was a thrill, as was hitting the most home runs ever by a Giants squad. And doing all that while nosing out the archrival Los Angeles Dodgers (the second best team in baseball this year) was certainly a pleasure. Furthermore, they did it all against the odds. And yet, even the luster of these deeds will fade if we do not secure that ultimate victory.

I only say such things because they are true. If we do not win it all, we can never fully luxuriate in remembering this year’s accomplishments. No matter how wondrous, they will submerge in the past without the honor that could have been theirs…if we had won at the end. Think of 1962, or ’89, or 2002. What do we recall of those seasons except for the loss at the end? Very little. Sad, but true.

Vince Lombardi (who, I am told, was a famous coach in some other sport) once said that winning is the only thing. I can’t go that far. If we were to win the World Series this year by taking out hits on all our opponents’ pitching staffs, I don’t think it would be very satisfying. I am confident that, even if the law and Jehovah Himself never caught up with us, the baseball gods would surely step in and deny us the ultimate prize. Even though winning it all is the only way to preserve our memories of this year, it will have to be done fair and square.

It has been a great season of baseball, and not just because my team has done well. The Giants/Dodgers rivalry has been honored with a hard-fought battle to the very end. So has the other premier matchup between the Yankees and the Red Sox (a conflict still to be decided as of this writing in a duel between Wild Cards). And more ferocious competition is yet to come, no doubt featuring feats of athletic heroism never before witnessed on the field of dreams.

At the end, though, the result will be the same. Only one team will come through with its precious moments fully enshrined in memory. For the others, a few bright inklings might glimmer for awhile, but everything else will be lost.

Oh, the losers will no doubt experience a measure of character growth from their experience. They will enjoy the warm feelings of camaraderie that come with good work toward a common goal. They will know friendship, pride, a heightened sense of self worth, and an array of other blessings from their participation in Major League Baseball this season.

But not glory. That is only for the victors.
Yes, voting matters. Polls do not.
~ H, Santa Cruz