Bob Schwartz

Tag: Cleveland Indians

Cleveland Indians Win and Win and Win

It appears that I haven’t published a baseball post this season. It also appears that while I wrote about the 2016 World Series before it began, what I didn’t write about was the Cleveland Indians missing winning the World Series last season in the last inning of the last game.

There’s always next year, which is this year. It is nearly the end of the regular season, before the playoffs and World Series, and yesterday the Indians won their 22nd game in a row.

If you’re interested (and some of you probably aren’t, not being sports fans, and if you are, not being baseball fans), you can read and watch lots about it elsewhere, because it is a very big deal (22 Fun Facts About the Cleveland Indians’ Historic 22-Game Winning Streak, Inside Indians’ 22-game win streak).

Consider any high-level competitive setting in any field. Consider that you are up against some worthy competition, many of the best. Consider the ups and downs of the typical journey, even if you are very, very good at what you do. Then consider having to bring 25 people together, each with their own individual ups and downs, to make sure that over the course of about three weeks, nobody beats you at that thing you do so well.

If it ends today, it ends today, and the awesome achievement stands. And if it doesn’t end today? A lot of people, me included, have been saying, “Well, you gotta lose sometime.” But what if you don’t?

World Series I Ching

world-series-2016

The rope fails to raise
Water
From the Well.
The pitcher is broken.
Calamity.
From Hexagram 48 – Jing/The Well

The World Series begins tonight. I am consulting the I Ching about it, and I will explain my purpose carefully.

As I’ve written before, in my view the I Ching is not a predictive oracle, a divining tool, a crystal ball, though it began that way thousands of years ago and is still used that way around the world. It is an insight tool, and an unsurpassed one, offering vision into circumstances and situations so that we may act more knowingly.

Which itself would be useful, if I was Manager of the Indians or Cubs. I could use it to help determine the lineup, or to decide when to pull the starting pitcher. And if I was a pitcher, I could use it to help figure out which pitches to throw, or as a batter which pitches to expect. I’m none of those.

The point here is to look into the attitude a fan might have as the Series proceeds on its roller coaster.

My lifelong love of baseball necessarily includes these ups and downs, measured in innings, in games, in seasons. Or in the case of the Cubs, who have been waiting 108 years to win a World Series, in centuries.

The I Ching is all about ups and downs. It is by title and essence The Classic of Changes. So why not ask it about the changes we are about to experience, as the Indians, this season’s little engine that could, defy the odds. Starting tonight on a very cold but still green fall field in Cleveland.

Some brief excerpts from I Ching commentaries on the received hexagram follow. As for interpretation, feel free to consider it all as the Series plays out.

hexagram-48

Hexagram 48
Jing/The Well

The structure of the gua is Water above, Wood below. This image gave the ancient sage the picture of a well. The water in a well was practically an inexhaustible resource. It was in constant use yet continually refilled. It was the source of life. The image also suggests that the roots of a plant draw water from the soil to nourish the stalk and leaves.

Decision

Neither loses nor gains.
Coming and going, drawing, drawing.
Nearly out of the well,
Break one’s bucket—misfortune.

Commentary on the Decision

Nearly out of the well,
The achievement has not yet been fulfilled.
Break one’s bucket;
There is misfortune.

Commentary on the Symbol

In correspondence with this,
The superior person encourages the people at their work
And urges them to help one another.

Judgment

At the Well.
The rope fails to raise
Water
From the Well.
The pitcher is broken.
Calamity.

On the Image of the Hexagram

Water above Wood,
The True Gentleman
Comforts the Folk;
He gives encouragement.

Life Lessons from the End of the Regular Baseball Season

MLB Standings
The 162 games of the regular Major League Baseball season are over. Now the League Championship Series begin. For those who don’t care about baseball—or who think it a stupid waste of time—some generalized random thoughts about life lessons we can learn.

Cleveland Indians: The Indians closed the season with a ten-game winning streak. 10-0. That itself is a big deal. A bigger deal is that it came at the end of the season and kept them in the running for a spot in the playoffs.

Life Lesson: Winning streaks are good, well-timed winning streaks are better.

Boston Red Sox: Up until 2004, the Red Sox were one of the two legendary non-winners of World Series (Chicago Cubs are the other). Some attributed this to their selling Babe Ruth to the Yankees in 1919. Prior to that, the Red Sox were one of baseball’s great teams. After, the so-called Curse of the Bambino took over. They did get their mojo back, winning the World Series in 2004 and 2007, and having another great season this time around, with a 97-65 record—the best in baseball.

Life Lesson 1: Hang in there.

Life Lesson 2: There is no Curse of the Bambino.

Miami Marlins: The Marlins have the strangest history of any modern expansion team, maybe of any major league team at all. A rich guy owned them when they began in 1993. He bought a lot of talent, which led to their winning a World Series in 1997. He got rid of all the high-priced players before the next season, and so the World Champions had a record of 54-78. He sold the team to another rich guy, who would later own the Boston Red Sox. Before leaving, that rich guy set the stage for another World Series win in 2003. The current rich guy, who had previously owned a team that is now defunct, bought the Marlins just before that championship. He has subsequently changed his approach to baseball every year in a style that can be described as either whimsical or self-serving. To entice the leaders of South Florida to spend hundreds of millions on a new ballpark, he beefed up the team with lots of expensive talent for the 2012 season. He got the park, but the talent fizzled there, with a record of 69-93. He got rid of the talent, went for cheap and mostly untried young players, and the Marlins finished this season at 62-100. The most infamous upshot of his profitable penny-pinching was trading Miguel Cabrera to the Detroit Tigers in 2007, because he knew he could never pay what Cabrera might one day be worth. Cabrera is now almost certainly the greatest hitter of his generation, so it may not be the Curse of the Miguelito, but it’s close.

Life Lesson 1: When Eve complained to her nemesis in the Garden of Eden, the legless one who convinced her to break bad, the reply was simple: What are you complaining about? You knew all along that I was a snake.

Life Lesson 2: It’s all fun and games, but business is business. Not being cynical, just realistic. Whether you’re a fan of politics or music or baseball or whatever, enjoy the show, but don’t forget that.