Thursday, September 29, 2011

Major League Script

A friend comes up to you saying he has a great idea for a sports movie script. Now this friend is questionable in the ideas department in the first place, so you are skeptical. He’s the same guy who wanted to try that “running with the bulls thing” when he saw it on the news one day.

Now his plot starts off and he explains how it is the beginning of September in the Major League Baseball season. It appears as though all eight playoff spots are reasonably set. Teams will be fighting for positioning and home field advantage, but besides a few competitors a handful of games back, the teams seem decided.

As September progresses, each wild card team, who had close to double digit game leads at the start of the month, begins to collapse. Their bullpens are imploding from overuse and having only a few guys who can be trusted in the first place. The starting rotations are crumbling with injuries with even staff aces missing starts. And the lineups are not producing, at least not consistently. You are thinking to yourself that this seems quite unlikely. I mean it could happen to one team I suppose, blowing an historic lead, but both league wild card teams at the same time? Get real.

When he gets to the end of September, the dueling collapses are complete. Going into game 162, the final game of the year, both the AL and NL wild cards are tied between two teams. Each previous double digit leader has completely lost their lead, fallen from atop their pedestal down to the depths of despair. He decides to emphasize how it’s happening to both leagues at the same time again because he finds this tremendously energizing while you think of it as quite absurd.

The last game of the year, the two previous wild card leaders both have their closers pitching in the ninth inning with a lead and, with a preposterous smile on his face, your friend tells you that they both blow the game, each closer (both of whom were All-Stars this season mind you) blows the save in the ninth.

The NL team goes on to lose in extra innings while their competitor had won earlier in the evening and was simply awaiting results; the ruination is final. The epic and historic September collapse is complete.

Meanwhile, the former AL leader loses in dramatic, walk-off fashion after the blown save and ONLY MINUTES LATER, their competitor wins in dramatic, walk-off fashion having come back from a seven run, eighth inning deficit that very game; the downfall is final. The epic and historic September collapse is complete.

You sit back, staring at your friend and his sense of complete fulfillment and can’t help but feel sorry for him. He asks you what you think and you stay silent for a beat, two beats, three beats. “You are a moron,” you say and walk out of the room.

“Wait,” he calls back. “Would it help the story if the AL MVP and Cy Young winners were the same guy while the NL MVP and Cy Young winners were from the same team, a team that wasn’t even close to making the playoffs? That would be ironic right, kind of add to the story arc?”

You need smarter friends you tell yourself.

(Image courtesy of

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