Tim Egan has a funny definition of “winning”

I like Tim Egan a lot. So much so that when I had to write an essay about my favorite journalist (in order to enroll in a law school writing class), I chose him like some kind of pikachu. But something in his latest column for the New York Times left me scratching my head.

The central conceit of his column — titled “We’re winning!” — is that, well, we’re winning. “We”, in this instance, being America. “Winning,” in this instance . . . well, that’s what I wanted to talk about.

Egan gives several concrete examples of America “winning”, all from the world of sports. And many of them are on point. Americans can certainly be said to be winning the Olympics by medal count. USA! USA! USA!

But then Tim throws in an example I can’t so much get behind:

The Chicago Cubs, who last won a World Series in 1908, when Teddy Roosevelt was president and more Americans got around by horse than car, have the best record in baseball.

Good for Chicago! But this is ostensibly about America — and American baseball as a whole is actually having a terrible year. Don’t believe me? Check out these standings:

blue jays

At the time Egan’s column was published, the Toronto Blue Jays (the only non-American team in MLB) was 69-52. That means the other 29 baseball clubs — you know, the American ones — were a collective 17 games below .500. Doesn’t sound like winning to me.

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