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Being Fuji
I see where the betting professionals have installed the Chicago Cubs as the favorites to be the World Champions of baseball in 2016. While it is true that the Cubbies look very good on paper, it must be remembered that the game itself is not played on paper.

Grass is the preferred surface, and when it comes to those contests, that cursed team, though lovable, is almost certain to lose. Again.

Let me be clear. I bear no ill will toward the sad inhabitants of Wrigley Field. I root for them, in fact. I am pleased to see that they now boast the best record in baseball. But the Cubs, as I have said, live under a curse. That psychic whammy will triumph over mere numerical probabilities, and it cares not a whit for the human longing of Cubs fans.

No, the Cubs are out. Who, then, moves up the ladder as the real favorite? I am sorry, but with one exception all the other divisional leaders, both in the National and American Leagues, have the mark of the loser upon them. I feel no rancor for these teams, either; I merely report what I see. The exception I mention, interestingly, has the lowest winning percentage among this group. You know who I’m talking about. The San Francisco Giants, despite their record, must be the pick this year to become World Champions.

This is a new phenomenon. For the first time in recent memory, Los Gigantes were not an underdog heading into the season. This time, they are expected to win. As a fan, I take that as a good thing. High expectations will not weigh on these seasoned winners. I believe that they will meet those expectations and embrace them. Indeed, they will be lifted up by them.

Still, they will need my help. That is, after all, the central conceit of pulling for a team — one must believe that one’s efforts, no matter how remote from the game itself and the players in it, will help them win. According to this view of the universe, rooting matters.

Once we accept that premise, it is incumbent upon us to find an appropriate approach to our rooting. What should our stance as fans be for the season? What is our rooting posture?

I find that visualization is very helpful in these matters (just as it is for the players themselves). Since we are the favorites, shouldn’t we assume the strongest possible posture? Shouldn’t we stand, for example, like Mt. Fuji? Are we not immovable, unconquerable, and certain in our destiny?

Up here on Mt. Fuji the view is long and clear. We are visible to all, and we could see them, too — if they weren’t so small. And do you see it there, up ahead in the distance and visible over the curvature of time? That is another Fuji. It is ourselves in October, serene and unassailable and victorious. It is written, and so it will be.

So Godspeed to the Cubs. Let them have their Spring of hope and a Summer of excellence. Let them dominate the Cardinals in the fall and banish the Dodgers from the playoffs. Let them yearn for glory…until the very end. For when that day comes, it will be the San Francisco Giants, as expected, who stand apart from the rest, a towering presence above all of baseball.

I declare this to be my rooting posture this year. I am resolute, I am sure, I am Mt. Fuji.

Please Note: Tim Eagan will read your comments but he is currently not publishing them.

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No "new normal" for me, this shit ain't normal.
~ MS, Truckee