In any case, one of those four teams will be the 2009 World Series champion, and players and fans alike will feel like champions—but only for a few months.
You see, that feeling of being champion is temporary. It lasts only so long as your team appears to be the best. The 2005 White Sox are a perfect example. The Pale Hose eased through the playoffs on their way to a championship, and at season’s end there was no doubt that they were the best team in baseball.
Fast-forward to April, 2006. The Red Sox are retooled, the Angels appear strong as ever, and the Yankees still have a potent lineup. So as of April, 2006, are the White Sox still world champions? Technically, yes. Do they or their fans have any right to have the swagger of a champion? Not a chance.
That’s the thing about a World Series title. One can gloat about it all offseason. One can continue to indulge as the rings are passed out and the banner is unveiled. But wait about a week into the season, and the new contenders will be obvious, and if your team isn’t one of them, then your World Series is old news.
I’m not saying that ChiSox fans didn’t continue to gloat about their long-awaited title well after it was clear that they would not be adding to the trophy collection that season. However, that kind of gloating feels hollow compared to doing it when one knows that their team is the best, instead of was the best.
It’s like a washed-up high school football star looking at his old varsity jacket and remembering when he won the state title—the memories are still nice, but they’re only memories now.
So to whoever wins the World Series this season, congratulations. Live it up while you can. Because it’s not long until next season’s opening day, and by then your title could be nothing more than a pleasant memory.