lundi, octobre 10, 2011

The "what-if" game

The Red Sox, the Yankees, the Phillies...I'm still shocked that none of these teams made the second round (at least), of the playoffs.

Like many other fans, I play the "what-if" game. What if the Yankees had beaten the Tampa Bay Rays? What if the Sox had beaten the Orioles (the ORIOLES, man)? What if the Phillies had managed to dig deep for two runs instead of zero in the final of the five-game series with the Cardinals?

What if Derek Jeter's last at-bat in the bottom of the eighth had gone a bit deeper? And what if Alex Rodriguez ever did what he gets paid 32 mil a year to do?

It's a weird feeling to realize that in the World Series the East Coast teams with the largest payrolls, and some of the best pitchers and batters in America were simply outplayed.

But in baseball as in life, we can't linger too much on the "what-ifs."

I made a connection a while back with a gentleman named Jim who lives above Morgantown, Pa.

After a phone call that went on for quite a while, in which we really seemed to hit it off, we made a lunch date.

Then came my son's hive attack. The lunch had to be postponed.

When I approached him again, it was too late (at least for now). He's begun to date someone else -- and he's not the type of guy, he says, to play the field.

What if we'd met? What if we'd liked each other? What if we'd had another date?

What if somehow someone entered my local column for a Pulitzer?

Get the idea?

One can't dwell on "what-if's", except for a moment.

Regret -- and move on.

"Maybes" (those that have some link to reality) are another matter.

Perhaps in the year 2012 the East Coast teams won't fold near or in playoff time -- or won't break our hearts by getting so darn close.

Yes, America, we East Coast folks DO have hearts.

Perhaps Jim, the summer connection, will once again be free to meet -- though I'm not wasting a lot of time reflecting on this.

And perhaps my editor will submit my Lancaster column for a Pennsylvania press award (if I remind him).

"Maybes" are possibilities with some promise.

"What-ifs" can be dreams that impel you on to greater things. But they can sometimes keep you from moving on.

And sure things? They can happen if you work hard enough.

The trick is learning to know the difference.

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