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Consolation

Posted By Russ Roberts On October 22, 2007 @ 10:49 am In Sports | Comments Disabled

I’m a lifelong Red Sox fan and I thoroughly enjoyed last night’s victory over the Indians. But here’s a confession and consolation for Indian fans: We didn’t deserve to win. I know. That sounds more like confession than consolation. But hear me out.

We didn’t deserve to win. Last night, everything went our way. We got the call on Lofton that was clearly wrong. Your third base coach blew it on sending Lofton home later. You hit 400 foot outs that if they’d gone a foot or two farther would have broken the game open. We had infield singles that could have been outs. We killed rallies with double plays that should have cost us more than it did. You had a double that hit so high off the wall it could have been a home run if it had been hit almost anywhere else. So many what-ifs and all in one game? It’s hard to bear. You can even say we didn’t deserve to win because we spent about twice as much as you did and it just isn’t fair.

So where’s the consolation?

The consolation is that we’ve been where you are now. The Red Sox until 2004 had all the same complaints. We could point to so many what-ifs in 1975 and1978 and 1986 and 2003. Why did every crucial call (from the interference that made Fisk throw wildly, to Reggie Jackson’s hip check of the ball in the basepath) have to go against us? I know, you have no idea what I’m talking about, but every Red Sox fan knows. Why did Dent’s home run have to clear the wall? Why did Little leave Pedro in? Why was Buckner in the game instead of Stapleton? So many what-ifs. Why did they all seem to go against us? And besides, the Yankees spend so much more than us.

But when it ends, when all the breaks go your way, when Dave Roberts just beats the throw and when the umps reverse the call on Rodriguez knocking the ball out of Arroyos glove and a thousand other things happen along the way, the sweetness is so sweet because of all the sadness that came before. Your day will come. And I hope it happens sooner than later. And I hope it happens against the Yankees not us.

What does this have to do with Cafe Hayek? Not much. But I’m sure there’s some neuroeconomics in the dopamine rush that comes from winning over so much losing. It has something to do with why we keep getting up when the world knocks us down, something to do with risk-taking and perseverance.

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