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This Week In Sports: Mets Enter World Series


The World Series is a go. The New York Mets will represent the National League, and for the American League, the Kansas City Royals. The Mets earned their spot in four straight wins. The Royals took a little bit longer, but they will get to step out onto their home field in Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday. Mike Pesca is the host of Slate's The Gist. He joins me now to talk baseball.

MIKE PESCA: Hello, Rachel.

MARTIN: Now, normally, when you and I talk sports, we talk about stats and players and maybe the history of a particular game. Facts, we talk about facts. Today, you, Mike Pesca, have asked to talk about feelings. Because as a Mets fan - the Mets fan that I know you are - how are you feeling?

PESCA: That's right. Well, I - a friend of mine says sports feelings are the one acceptable sort of feelings that men can feel. But I have been experiencing this playoff run a little bit differently. I mean, I covered sports for NPR for seven years. And in that time, teams I liked won. I like the Giants. I like the Yankees. And then individuals that I got to know, especially in the Olympics, they won and that was good.

But I never had a team of mine win. I wonder what it would've been like if I was actively covering it, trying to divorce the emotion from the factual. But since I can just revel in the emotion, it's great. I've kind of been thinking about how in baseball, I think more so than any other sport, the difference between being invested in the outcome and being interested in the outcome is more prominent.

MARTIN: But this is what I don't get. What does invested mean? Do you have to have money on the game?

PESCA: No, no, no.

MARTIN: Or does it mean you just have, like, a familial link to something? What does that investment entail?

PESCA: It's when you're caring with your heart as much as your head. Because when you're caring with your head, there are the things that we talked about that seems boring in baseball. But when you care about your heart, exactly the boring things - a pitcher looking over to first, a batter stepping out and adjusting his gloves - those are just tiresome to the person who's interested. But to the person who's invested, it just makes everything all the more dramatic.

MARTIN: What does that do to you if your team - the team that you are so invested in - what if they lose? How do you get up the next day? How do you go on?

PESCA: Well, they have - (laughter) I could tell you. I'm 43 years old. Except for one season - seriously, I'm a fan of the Mets, the Jets, St. John's basketball. Except for one season in 1986 during my sentient life - oh, the Knicks. Did we mention them? My team has never won a championship. So it'd be really nice if it did.

MARTIN: OK, got a curveball?

PESCA: Sure, the Cleveland Cavaliers debuted new uniforms. The thing is, this brings to eight the number of Cleveland Cavaliers uniforms there are, including the Christmas uniform. One for more than every one day of the week.

MARTIN: The Christmas uniform?

PESCA: Oh, yeah, Christmas day, they got a special uniform. The shoes point up like elf feet.

MARTIN: (Laughter) Mike Pesca, he has feelings, too. His podcast is called The Gist. Thanks, Mike.

PESCA: You're welcome. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.