Buying a lottery ticket of any sort is a pretty dumb idea. You walk into the convenience store, you put down your two dollars and you get a megabucks ticket or a scratch-off. If you're lucky, you end up getting your money back on your scratch-off. Or, you would if you thought it was worth it to even go back and cash it in. Even if you do, maybe you just put that two bucks back on another ticket.
There are huge odds of winning any sort of jackpot in a lottery. It's unrealistic to expect that you'll end up being the person who chooses the right numbers, or has the right ticket at your convenience store and went in at just the right time to purchase it.
Still, when you buy a lottery ticket, you can't help but dream a little bit. You know you don't have an actual shot, but, man, that $500 million jackpot sure would be great. Pay off student loans right away. Buy your parents a new house. Buy yourself a new house. Quit your job and travel the world. Make a better life for yourself. Your family. The people around you, if you're generous. You start to dream a little bit, you let yourself think maybe it could be me.
Last night, the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the San Francisco Giants 4-2. The Pirates had won earlier in the evening to clinch a Wild Card spot. A Giants win would have clinched the second spot and knocked the Brewers out of the playoffs, officially and totally.
But the Giants didn't win. They lost. And now, with five games left and the Brewers five games back of the Giants, Milwaukee still has a shot at making the playoffs. They aren't officially dead. They have a 0.1% chance. They have a lottery ticket.
So now the Brewers and Brewers fans are sitting outside the convenience story, and maybe we start to dream just a little. Five game losing streaks happen. So do five game winning streaks. These things can both happen. Then a playoff -- the Brewers could absolutely beat the Giants in a one-game playoff. And if they do that, suddenly they have a ton of momentum. The Pirates have been hot, but they've been taking it easy since clinching a spot at this point. The Brewers are red-hot. The Brewers can beat Pittsburgh.
All of a sudden, the Brewers are in the real playoffs, and facing the Dodgers. The Brewers just took five of six against Los Angeles in about a week span in early-mid August. The Dodgers are a cakewalk at that point. They've proven they can beat the Dodgers. Then Milwaukee gets to face the Cardinals in the NLCS, they get a rematch of 2011. A streaking Brewers can finally hand the Cardinals revenge. Revenge for 2011, revenge for 1982, revenge for the last decade of dominance, all handed back at once. After that, it's on to the World Series....
And you're sitting outside the convenience store, and you're dreaming this and, really, it all seems just so possible. It's something that can really happen, you can envision it, you can see it, you can feel the raw emotion and joy that would come from this.
Eventually, you'll get home, and you'll look up the winning numbers. Maybe you'll hit on one of them. Maybe your one or two off on a couple others. Regardless, you lost. And then you think about all those dreams and you think how silly they actually were. Of course they weren't going to happen, of course you weren't going to win. The odds are stacked too far against you.
But eventually, at some point, someone has to beat the odds. It may take some time, but eventually someone hits the powerball. At some point, some MLB team is going to come back from five games back with five games remaining to force a playoff and make the postseason. Maybe, just maybe it can be the 2014 edition of the Milwaukee Brewers. It's not realistic, but sometimes you can allow yourself to dream.
And if the Brewers don't win the lottery? Well, hey, just remember that the people who do win always seem to go broke.