It’s not much of a secret I like to enjoy a baseball game or two. I manage to barter me some cheap tickets from the gypsies outside of stadiums from time to time. Sometimes you get tickets in the 10th row for $10 and sometimes they burn you and you find out that that ticket was for yesterday’s game. It must be how the Vegan community felt when they found out the truth about Prince Fielder. Cheeseburger eating Vegans aside, the idea of being able to NOT pay attention for long periods of time and still know exactly what’s going on is a beautiful and relaxing thing. If only dating was that way, right dudes? Baseball is the perfect relationship. You pick a team and slowly get to know little things about them beyond what everyone already knows. You pick up on the quirks of the individual cultures of one franchise and grow to like them more and more. You even start to be brutally honest about them. That’s love. You have nights where they make you feel on top of the world and nights that drive you to drink too many beers at Lan-Sum Tang’s House of Karaoke and wake-up the next morning in the doghouse of your neighbors backyard. We all know the feeling.
As a fan one must ride out the highs and lows and grow an attachment beyond casual fandom. You unconditionally support them despite mistakes and lapses of judgement. Sometimes you get too far in and realize the mistake you’ve made having alligned yourself with a dysfunctional fixer-upper that will never reciprocate or reward the love and dedication you show them. Some people are lucky and find a good team on a down swing and get to watch them become winners making it a much deeper appreciation. Some people move to the hottest thing at the moment only to realize it’s the Florida Marlins and they’re incapable of long term commitment. There’s no lasting happiness but only stress and disappointment because the new sports car your partner team just purchased for $250 Million has needed major repair for years and has compiled a list of even more costly repairs since arriving. Sometimes you find a team that just straight-up cheats on you and steals your money only to make an effort to change and put the Magic back in the relationship some months later.
Baseball is a game of failure and small successes building to greater successes. Being apart of it takes compromise, patience, and understanding. Not all teams can be Alpha like the Yankees and you’re going to find wildly insecure teams with inferiority complexes like the Red Sox. There are teams stuck in a perpetual state of bi-polar behavior like the Mariners or are a seemingly unfixable mess like the Houston Astros. Maybe they’re the new kid with all the potential like the Nationals are the longtime trustworthy and dependable Braves. Many teams are a revolving door of personality that you never get to know because they’re always changing for the future but never living in the moment. Some teams are that perfect balance of highs and lows and you stay dedicated because you know they’re going to figure it out and make it up to you with a grand gesture when you never expect it. Like in 2011 when St. Louis makes an incredible run after being 10.5 games out in August after getting beaten down by the hated Dodgers and are left with a 1.3% chance of making the playoffs. Through pure grit (and an epic collapse by Atlanta) The Redbirds somehow makes the playoffs with moths flying in people’s ears and swoop in to win one of the greatest world series ever– to get their 11th championship. They do this with a self proclaimed baseball genius making pitching/double switches every 3rd batter, an exiting and declining legendary first baseman and a “washed-up” country-as-fuck elvis impersonator in the outfield. For all the craziness you still support them and stay patient because it pays off. They’re a team that gets it. Not everyone is so fortunate, because sometimes there are teams that once had their shit together only for it to spiral towards failure from which they may never recover. This it. For better or worse until death–or until the season ends and the NFL begins–do you part. Play Ball!