There’s a guy at Harvard who claims that happiness doesn’t last (it’s good news: unhappiness doesn’t either!) because we humans wildly overestimate how happy or unhappy any given event will make us. He’s got all the research and the tenured professorship, but I have—the 2004 Red Sox. For my whole life, I imagined that a Red Sox world championship would make me deliriously happy. I was not wrong. And the effects have not worn off: Right now, just thinking about this play , I was so overcome with warm and fuzzy feelings that I momentarily forgot that we have dropped seven of our last 10 and are now 3.5 games behind the Yankees.
So my reaction to the news that David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez were on a list of players who tested positive for steroids in 2003 is this: I am disappointed (Big Papi, did you have to?) and defensive (hey, the other guys were doing it, too!) but not, on the whole, any less happy. Besides, I tell myself, this was in 2003—and we all know what happened then . Even if the whole team was popping steroids like sunflower seeds, it was not enough to overcome the incompetence of Grady Little. The 2004 championship remains untarnished.
Or so I tell myself. One of the joys of being fan, even in the age of Moneyball, is the freedom—the obligation?—to be irrational.
Photograph of Manny Ramirez courtesy of Flickr user
TODAY IN SLATE
The Ebola Story
How our minds build narratives out of disaster.
The Budget Disaster That Completely Sabotaged the WHO’s Response to Ebola
PowerPoint Is the Worst, and Now It’s the Latest Way to Hack Into Your Computer
The Shooting Tragedies That Forged Canada’s Gun Politics
A Highly Unscientific Ranking of Crazy-Old German Beers
Welcome to 13th Grade!
Some high schools are offering a fifth year. That’s a great idea.
The Actual World
“Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.