Thanks, Mr. Cruise, for killing America's pastime
WE are out of time. Kaput. Defeated. Eliminated.
Mexico beat us in baseball. Earlier, Canada beat us.
The World Baseball Classic played on without us. In this March madness, the Final Four consisted of Korea, Japan, Cuba and the Dominican Republic. In the finale, Japan beat Cuba to claim the world title. So be it. Our guys were still limbering up in spring training, right?
Once it was our national pastime. There were two leagues. Each league had a pennant race over the span of 154 games. The pennant winners squared off in the World Series. The Fall Classic began in September and ended in October. A fitting end for a game played by the "Boys of Summer."
In 2006 we had a world baseball championship played in March. Go figure.
Chalk up our loss to what George Will calls the "globalization of baseball." Just check any big-league roster for Latino names. South of the border, they play the game with joy and élan. So, a loss to Mexico is not altogether galling. Still, it's ugly to be sandwiched in defeat between Mexico and Canada.
A scapegoat must be found. Let's be ruthless about this.
I blame Tom Cruise.
Yes, that Oprah-preening, couch-hopping, Scientology-pitching puff job, Tom Cruise.
He was at it again in Anaheim on March 16. Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. During the critical U.S.-Mexico game, no less. When the KissCam at Angels Stadium found him in the stands lip-locked with his beloved and very pregnant Katie Holmes. Their lips lingered and the camera lingered and suddenly their kiss was televised and then Katie blushed and then Tom saw himself on the big scoreboard screen and then he clasped the winsome Katie ever more fiercely into his smooch and then the phones rang off the hook at Entertainment Tonight.
The game -- our national pastime -- was reduced to a kissy-face photo-op. After this sorry spectacle, the American team cruised haplessly to defeat.
Wasn't Oprah enough, Tom? Your Eiffel Tower escapade? Did you have to jinx our last-stand, do-or-die game against Mexico for a photo-op? Did you know about Canada, Tom?
It is The End of Days and the season hasn't even started. Say it ain't so.
Oh Tom! O Canada! How could you!
Rory Flynn is a lifelong baseball fan and freelance writer. He lives in Hilo.