Home MLB The law of “the Sweep”

The law of “the Sweep”

by Matt Smith

With so many games coming thick and fast during a season, baseball perhaps more than any other sport has the capibility of throwing you from the top of the rollercoster back down to the bottom in an instant.  One moment the A’s are ending the Twins’ season in three straight the next they are playing four and out against the Tigers.

Not long after I started watching baseball in 1998, I turned on a Sunday Night game and saw spectators waving brooms in the air.  It goes without saying that you don’t get that sort of thing at a football match; brooms are too much of a potential smacking device for a start (it would be interesting to see what sort of reaction you would get from a steward if you walked up to a turnstile with a broom).  Obviously a “sweep” can only really occur when you play a series of games against the same team, something that doesn’t happen in football.  I guess the comparison to the sweep is “doing the double” over a team during a season.  What could you wave in the air in this case?  A double vodka?  Alcohol rules wouldn’t allow that.  Perhaps we should head over to a supermarket and then wave a two-for-one offer at the oppo?  Much as I would love to see someone waving a couple of frozen lasagnes at Alex Ferguson, it doesn’t really convey the right feeling.

I couldn’t help laughing out loud when I first saw the broom waving, but it wasn’t long until I recoginsed the other side of the sweep.  It’s a modern day act of publicly shaming someone; to gain joy by ridiculing the opposition.  It’s extremely childish, which is why most of us enjoy it so much when we are on the right side of it.  From the other end it just makes you mad.  When the oppo can start sweeping having witnessed a two-out, walk off three run homer, well mad doesn’t quite cover it!

The Tigers undoubtedly deserved to reach the World Series and it is a great story to see them there, but do I want them to win? Do I have any allegiance to the American League representative? Ask me in a few days when the pain is starting to subside! One thing I am sure of right now: if I knew back on 16 August that Placido Polanco would play such a big part in the A’s downfall, I wouldn’t have been so keen for him to recover so quickly from his shoulder injury!

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