The 2014 World Series proved to be a delight.
The recently-completed edition of the Fall Classic gave us the Royals inflicting their death-by-a-thousand-paper-cuts offense on the Giants, and the Giants inflicting Madison Bumgarner on the Royals. There was much else to appreciate, from the enthusiasm, bulk, and batting eye of Pablo Sandoval — not to mention his wink to the cameras — to the speed and dexterity of the Kansas City outfield.
The moments before the final out of Game 7 presented us with an especially unusual circumstance. The Royals had a man on third and a good hitter at the plate. A home run would have changed everything in an instant. But did anyone watching the game believe that even a single, let alone a home run, was possible? It felt as if even the most enthusiastic Kansas City fans must have understood that it was Mr. Bumgarner's time.
Certainly his father, Kevin Bumgarner, understood. Before the bottom of the ninth, he texted his son as follows:
"OMG. You're so much more than awesome. To see you work on the mound reminds me of watching you in high school. You are willing yourself to perfection and dragging the team along with you. I couldn't be more proud of your baseball accomplishments."
"I knew he wouldn't read the text before the game was over," Kevin Bumgarner told a reporter, "but I wanted him to know this was what his daddy thought of him."
For these reasons and more, it's a shame that viewership of the Series was relatively low from the outset.
Even while the show was in progress and its various sub-plots were developing, it felt more than ever as if the fans in general and the sports press in particular were paying more attention to mid-season college and pro football than they were to baseball's championship.
To those whose fixation on the nation's most popular game prevented them from watching the game that once held that distinction...Hey, you missed a terrific show.