Baseball On My Brain

When a bad baseball season (or two) consumes you

This might possibly be my worst year in or around baseball. Which I really can’t complain about, because heck – it’s baseball. It beats a lot of things I could be doing with my time, so I don’t expect a big collective boo-hoo.

But between my own baseball team, currently 2-15 and on a 3-game streak of giving up 20 or more runs in a game, and the Mariners, 46-80 and on a 6 game losing streak, I haven’t had much to get excited about when it comes to performance.

In some ways, all I can say is “Thank God for the Washington Nationals,” because at least they are worse than we are. But all that means at the end of the day is that they’ll end up with the top draft pick in the 2009 draft, which really doesn’t help our situation. Being mediocre is the worst thing you can be; but being the second-worst team in baseball is, well, a pretty close second.

Unfortunately, my adult league team is the equivalent of the Washington Nationals. Not much to rejoice about there.

Identifying with a team’s successes and failures is one of the most unique aspects of sports – especially in that you don’t see it nearly as prevalently with other things. How many times do you see people feeling down because their symphony orchestra is having a bad season?

There’s an insight I’m trying to get to – but it’s kind of hard to explain, much like the seasons of these two teams. But both of them have taken their toll on me – and at times I really wonder why, while at other times I seem to know exactly why.

We get emotionally involved – and emotions can be tiring. Baseball, for as much as some people don’t want it to be, is emotional – at least to me it is. You don’t want it to run your life, but in some ways, if you get too involved, it does.

To call upon Jim Bouton, baseball’s got me in its hand, and it’s squeezing pretty tight right now.

Onto other things though…

A couple articles caught my eye recently — this one from the NY Times about the founder of Little League and their guidelines about paying to play, and this piece, also from the NY Times, that captures the vibe of an old-time autograph collector.

Also – if you get a chance to pick up the August 25, 2008 issue of ESPN The Magazine, read Buster Olney’s article about “hired guns.” Within that article in a bottom sidebar is an intersting look at the behind-the-scenes process of getting Manny Ramirez to L.A. and the Dodgers.

Speaking of that issue – it was also their college football preview issue. Maybe I’m being a bit oversensitive, but to only see one serious baseball article in the issue as we traverse through August and into the final five to six weeks of the season is a bummer. I get that a lot of people are into college football, but to think that baseball is almost non-existent at this time of year is disappointing. Maybe I should write to them and request more baseball coverage. I’ll think about it and let you know what I decide to do.


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