More Futility, More of the Time

I spotted this statement on last night, and thought, “Wrong!”

“The 46-year gap between Series appearances is the longest in major-league history.”

Any Chicagoan knows there’s a team that has gone longer, much longer, without getting into the World Series: The Cubs. The story was attributed to wire reports. I imagined that the site’s editors were under email bombardment from fans pointing out the mistake. But then I heard the same sentence read on CBS radio news this morning. I went back to the CBSSportsline story. And it had changed. It now reads:

“The Chicago Cubs would end up with an even longer one, if they ever get back — their last NL pennant was in 1945.”

The second sentence, despite its breach of common sense, does make the first sentence true. Now that the Sox are back in the World Series, the temporal dimensions of their Fall Classic drought are known. The Cubs might go another 100 years before they play in the series — or 12 months. So who knows the length of their Series gap?

But that second sentence is the product of labarious, if not twisted, newsroom thinking that seeks to correct an error by qualifying it while ignoring a larger point. The important issue here (“important” in quotes) isn’t the gap — it’s the length of time a team has played without getting to the World Series. The White Sox went a very long time. The Cubs have gone even longer, whether they ever make it back or not.

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