Fans go with the underdog

    This year’s baseball pennant races garnered the highest TV ratings because Americans were crossing their fingers for the underdogs. The Boston Red Sox and the Chicago Cubs finally were close to earning the chance to win a title. America loves the underdog, especially in the world of sports.

    Our history is built on simple, common people rising up against all odds into triumph. The Revolutionary War, or “”The Rebellion,”” as the Brits like to term it, was a war the colonists weren’t supposed to win. But they did and now, for better or worse, America is considered the richest and most powerful nation in the world. Perhaps it is because of our unique beginning that Americans have always rooted for the little guys, evidenced by the abundance of Hollywood films about little guys, such as Rocky Balboa, Rudy Ruettiger of Notre Dame or the Hickory Huskers from “”Hoosiers.””

    America loves it when David slays Goliath; thus, it’s only fitting that the wild-card Florida Marlins clinched their second title in October’s Fall Classic. Granted, the majority of Americans would’ve rather seen the curse-laden Cubs and Red Sox duke it out for the title, especially since neither have won since 1908 and 1918, respectively. Nevertheless, the wild card Marlins won the pennant while the Yankees secured the curse of the Bambino by crushing Boston’s hope of extending postseason play. TV ratings plummeted after the damn Yankees and the Fish captured their respective pennants.

    I, too, was disappointed in the outcome and even thought about boycotting the World Series. However, I love baseball too much and the thought of it ending soon was enough for me to tune in and watch. I’m glad I did because it was nice to see the Fish ‹ the team that barely won the wild card race ‹ take the title. They were up against Goliath, the winningest professional team to date (record 26 titles), rich in history and tradition, not to mention money. They have a staggering $164 million payroll that notorious owner George Steinbrenner shells out in exchange for a ring. On the other hand, the Fish have existed for only 10 years and have a humble $54 million payroll. This time, fate was on Florida’s side and it seemed that the Fish just wanted it more than the Yanks did.

    Game six proved a pitching duel for the ages with Josh Beckett and Andy Pettite taking the mound. A 23-year-old youngster against a 31-year-old veteran. An 18-game winner versus a 149-game winner. A filthy curveball versus a handcuffing cutter. Nothing short of reviving the ghosts of Ruth, Mantle, Gehrig and DiMaggio could bolster the lackluster Yankee offense. Beckett pitched the game of his life, turning the Bronx Bombers into the Bronx Bums on their very own field.

    While I respect the rich history of the Yankees, I was glad to see the young Marlins overcome the odds and win, proving that even money and mystique cannot defeat the little guy. The more storied ball clubs like the Yanks, Cubs, Red Sox and Braves largely overshadowed the Marlins. And no doubt, the Red Sox and the Cubs were America’s darlings. However, the Fish kept on playing baseball, many times in front of empty seats. Now, they have much reason to celebrate.

    Seeing underdogs scrap their way to the top gives me hope. Our UCSD sports teams can be likened to the little guy. We don’t have any athletes on scholarships, isolating us from the rest of the NCAA Division II schools. At times, it seems that no one really cares how good we are. Who knows, one or more of our teams may pull a Fish move and win it all this season.

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