Ladies and gentlemen, no more bets. No more bets, ladies and gentlemen. We have now achieved peak West Side:
Your instinct might be to ask: “A set of four lawn chairs brought out into a driveway when there’s a SWAT team surrounding the neighbor’s house and people are running around yelling the whole joint is doused in gasoline? Who does that?”
I know exactly who does that. The same people who stood in our cul de sac during the 1974 tornadoes pointing cameras at the sky. The same people who ran out onto the porch every time a sonic boom from the direction of Dayton rattled the windows so as to have a front row seat when the Russians parachuted in. The same people whose daughters probably babysat the SWAT negotiator and the guy in the house. They had the lawn chairs still in the car trunk from soccer season and the Harvest Home Parade and they’re not gonna miss this.
Now blessedly no one was hurt during Peak West Side, but that’s where the whole city at this point in the baseball season: sitting on the lawn chairs in the driveway watching the drama unfold. We’ve got nowhere else to go. Where are we gonna go?
Given their performance over the last– oh, two generations, people would understand if we club-jumped like Ke$ha and LeBron James. But with a club this old and a city this tight, that’s not how we’re structured. We are divided from one another with a wall of brie and beer, but the inability to depart the I275 lifestyle is an even higher fence to scale. We know what goes on in each other’s front yards. A little three-decade losing streak is not sending us anywhere.
Now we see an extremely non-Cincinnati city having themselves a playoff. Life is different in DC, where the Nationals are on a tear and the faithful– the oh-so-faithful dogged faithful for a whole fourteen years–are grumbling about recent bandwagoners daring to buy a seat for a World Series faceoff.
I saw this on Twitter and laughed very hard. I own nightgowns older than the Nationals. And DC is one of those places where no one who lives there is actually from there; they bring their fandoms with them and otherwise flee for their jobs through Metro stations, kinda-trying not to bump a tourist onto the tracks. When I worked within the Beltway, the Nationals were all of two years old and one of my officemates had a cubicle festooned with every possible piece of red, white, and swoopy W merchandise he could find. It was adorable. Let the man have his car flags even though he doesn’t own a car. This ain’t a rooftop full of Cubs fans who woke up in their mid-30s and decided it was time to buy an Anthony Rizzo jersey.
So here we are– you, me, and the Reds and the Nationals. I don’t know how the season will end. I do know how the next one will begin: All of us, right there, setting up the lawn chairs.