We've always had a religious objection to leaving a baseball game before the ninth inning. Using the slightly crazy logic of the superstitious baseball fan*, we suppose that means it's probably bad behavior to immediately change the channel when a game goes to extra innings. But that's what we did tonight, in order to catch the end of game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals. Apparently...there was more to the game? Something with a double play, Justin Masterson going multiple innings, also starring Julio Lugo as himself? We're sure it'll all make sense once we see the highlight reel.
Here's the thing, though: our hearts belong to baseball, but we can't deny that the sport we call hoc-key truly has the greatest championship trophy (and presentation) in all the world. As great as it is to watch the World Series trophy bob down Boylston Street, or see David Ortiz flash two fists' worth of double-BeDazzled rings, it's a little sad that baseball doesn't have a trophy as beautiful and historic as the Stanley Cup, or a ceremony as moving as the annual Hoistifying thereof. Here are some things baseball could do to capture some of that glory in some far-off October (or November):
1. Get a cup from some minor nobleman--Sir Sidney Ponson should suffice--and wait one hundred years for it to acquire the necessary historic patina. Note: we need something in metal, not something that comes with a Happy Meal. Plastic doesn't patina too well. (Just ask Pamela Anderson.)
2. In lieu of the individual skate-and-makeout-session part of the presentation, place the Ponson Cup in centerfield and allow the winning players to take turns hitting fungoes into it. Unfortunately, this might run a little slow where pitchers are concerned. And if it ever involves American Leaguers like Chien-Ming Wang and Bartolo Colon, well, it'll put a damper on the moment to see a guy put himself in traction.
3. Rename the MVP award after somebody and make it more wacky-looking, like the Conn Smythe trophy. It's not like baseball has a shortage of funny names, like Dazzy Vance or Rabbit Maranville, or hideous designs, like Tropicana Field or the failhat.
4. According to one of our favorite bits of NHL lore, it's bad luck for a player who's never won the Stanley Cup to touch it. Baseball should extend this tradition so that only world champions are allowed to look at the trophy; just picture the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark. If that's a little harsh, we could go the Monty Python and the Holy Grail route instead, and taunt the losers in terrible French accents.
5. Take the very classy and very poignant handshake line. Replace 'handshake" with "conga." Replace "classy" with "champagne-soaked." Replace "poignant" with "gigglefit."
See that? We've solved problems Bud Selig didn't even know he had.
So it's with a sense of satisfaction (and congratulations to Jason Bay's Pittsburgh Penguins) that we're tucking ourselves in to watch the late replay of tonight's game. Our hearts are full of love for Jon Lester's amazing performance, but we might be able to make some room for Nick Green. And if nothing else, we need to confirm whether we were hallucinating when we thought we saw J.D. Drew smile.
*It's not our fault. Caroline happens to be descended from one of those people who routinely wears a Papelbon jersey to church.