Ever since the Yankees recorded a 9-8 walk-off win over the Mets in June on a dropped pop fly by Luis Castillo, they've become conditioned to believe that anything is possible — particularly in their new home in the Bronx.
—Jerry Crasnick, ESPN.com
Saturday night, I watched the Mets lose the 1973 World Series on MLB Network. Then I watched the 35th President of the United States struck down on the History Channel. Those were depressing results, but at least I knew for sure they were coming.
I tried not to watch too much of ALCS Game Two on Fox, for I knew I might be lulled into believing something not depressing might happen. The Angels took a 3-2 lead in the top of the eleventh. On MLBN, the Mets had gone up three games to two. On History, JFK arrived to cheers in Texas. I knew neither circumstance was going to last. But I watched out of irredeemable hope nonetheless.
I stayed away from the game in progress out of conviction that the Angels' 3-2 lead wouldn't likely last. Sure enough, during a commercial break from the Kennedy documentary, I flipped to Channel 5 and heard raucous cheers for those two seconds before the picture kicked in. “Wait…let me guess…” Yup, A-Rod. The only thing I didn't know until I caught a replay was how his game-tying home run would have been an outfield fly in a ballpark built to big league dimensions.
Didn't matter. The Yankees, earflaps and all, would have found a way to overtake the Angels. If it wasn't going to be Alex Rodriguez in the bottom of the eleventh, it would have been, I don't know, Jerry Hairston, Jr. in the bottom of the thirteenth.
Actually, it was. Of course it was. While the rest of baseball was delirious with speculation over where Roy Halladay was headed at the trading deadline, Brian Cashman scooped up Hairston for Chase Weems. I don't know what Chase Weems was watching last night, but Hairston was busy igniting a game-winning rally in the American League Championship Series. Alex Rodriguez tied it, Jerry Hairston, Jr. — with a little help from an Angelic version of Luis Castillo — won it.
Before they dissolved into grainy archival footage, you couldn't have known what would happen in Oakland 36 years ago or Dallas 46 years ago. You watch those events develop now, on film, and you're filled with rising levels of dread (different kinds of dread, obviously) because you now know the outcome and no matter how hard you wish, it never changes. You implore Yogi to start Stone in Game Six on MLBN, but he doesn't listen. You plead with President Kennedy to turn around, don't get in that motorcade, but the History Channel doesn't hear you. You don't have any control over the events on Fox either, but they are live, so maybe, you believe, they won't conclude the way you don't want them to.
But they do. And they will. Better to find more cheerful things to watch than pretend otherwise.