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Rant: Invalid Validation
by Phil Bencomo
I know this hardly deserves a response, least of all because Richard Roeper penned the words, but it's words like these, written with such gall and condescension, that I must address:
Seemed like every time a Cubs fan celebrated a triple down the right-field line or a dramatic home run, a Sox fan would fall back on the semi-recent World Series title as the ultimate comeback. Even after A.J.'s grand slam Sunday, there was much talk about the past.
Have to admit I did it myself. As I endured some good-natured heckling from Cubs fans after D-Lee's grand slam Saturday afternoon, I couldn't help it.
"Let me ask you something," I said to a couple of guys in the beer line. "What's it like when your favorite team wins the World Series? Oh, I'm sorry, you wouldn't know because IT HASN'T HAPPENED IN YOUR LIFETIME. In fact, the last time it happened, there were 46 states."
That sort of thing.
Like Jethro Tull -- living in the past
In the middle of the usual trash-talking in the men's room -- the place where intelligent debate goes to die -- one Cubs fan invoked the immortal words of Mike Ditka: "Only losers and cowards live in the past!"
Right. Plus historians and smart people, and philosophers and poets.
And Sox fans.
First: Let it be known that I get far more worked up about the Cardinals coming to town than the media-inflated circus that has become the "Crosstown Classic."
The crux of Roeper's argument centers on the use of the past for validation in the future. 'Hey, look what we did,' Roeper seems to say. 'Aren't we great?' This sense of entitlement, that somehow a championship two years ago justifies supposed superiority, is irritating beyond belief. The past has its uses, whether predictive or didactic in nature, but can do NOTHING to validate present events. For example: Rod Blagojevich won reelection, but does that alone make him a good governor NOW? Certainly not.
The past is just that: The past. It is gone, never to be seen or experienced the same way again. Memories will remain, and lessons can be learned, but an action in the past stays there. The present and future should be of greater concern.
So when Roeper says that "historians" and "Sox fans" both live in the past, he fails to note the reasons for doing so. Historians draw from the past to learn and document, while Sox fans belittle. Historians research to verify past events, but Sox fans use 2005 to verify current claims ('We won in '05, so we're better than you'). It is an important distinction, and one that Roeper fails to make. Yes, the Sox have won much more recently than the Cubs, but that fact alone has little to do with the just-concluded Cubs-Sox series or, in general, the current state of each team.