Years and years ago, during the 1988-1990 run, when the A's were making it to the World Series three years in a row, but winning only one of them, I had a conversation with a friend of mine who was a die-hard Mets fan. The Mets were pretty good during those years, especially '88, but they never made it to the Series.
Both my friend and I agreed that the most important thing wasn't winning a Division, or even winning the Series, it was winning the Pennant and making it to the Series.
Not that 1988 or 1990 didn't hurt. They did. It would have been nice if those teams won the three World Series that we paid BalCo for (just kidding...I mean that we ought to have won!).
But those two seasons felt much, much more satisfying than the 2000-2003 run did.
The more I thought about this, the more I realized that baseball was really unique this way. When other teams I have rooted for have made it to a championship and lost (say, OU during the 2003 and 2004 college football seasons) it was much less fulfilling, much more disappointing. Baseball's the only sport I can think of where, from an emotional level, I get the biggest kick not out of the final step, but the penultimate one.
So that's the purpose of this diary: any of you agree with my friend and me? Or does another step of the journey to a World Championship (if we can still call it by that fictional title) matter more to you? Just to clarify, we'd all, obviously, most like to win the World Series. But at which step along the way is the emotional difference between winning and losing greatest for you?
What matters most to me is...
Making the playoffs (1 vote)
Winning the AL West (1 vote)
Winning the ALDS (1 vote)
Winning the Pennant (i.e. the ALCS) (5 votes)
Winning the World Series (25 votes)
33 total votes