There’s nothing like a day off and day of rest following a post-season play victory. It allows the emotional batteries to be recharged. It’s good for the soul. I can’t deny that my ticker could use a break for a day as well.
|Juan Uribe watches his game winning NLDS homer as delirious fans in the background explode in euphoric excitement.|
Post-season play is what we aspire to each year, but when it arrives, I’m seldom ready for it. It’s just that there is so much on the line and after 162 contests, it’s hard to find solace in the fact that a simple break of two could render those previous 162 as meaningless. For that reason baseball is far and away the most heartbreaking sport in the world. Nobody plays so many games in a season. No fans invest more time in following the sport as well.
Baseball fans are an interesting lot. They’re far more cerebral than those following football, basketball or hockey. The baseball fan invests time and brain capacity into their fandom. We’re the stat mongers and the ones always looking for that minute little edge that would push our team past others in the standings. We debate the small stuff until our throats are hoarse. Can you imagine a football fan discussing the decision to punt on 4th and one plays on their opponents 39 year line, or to risk it all and go for it in such scenarios. Football fans go by emotion. They don’t think, they just react. Good baseball fans are analysts who methodically think things through. We're so much different.
There's no way a football fan discusses the nuances and acute strategies of the game like we do. I could start a thread on the sacrifice bunt on a popular baseball message board and get hundreds of responses from stat analysts discussing with passion whether players should hit behind the runner, bunt or swing away. We are the nerds of sport. We’re the smart ones and the most passionate ones. We’re the fans that live and die with our sport. Baseball fans are those that need to get an anti-depressant prescription each October when our team is eliminated.
I’d hate to add up all the hours that I have spent on the game because I’m fairly certain that years of my life have engaged in watching the sport. Okay, I lied. I like statistics and I have no problem crunching the numbers. Being that statistical analyst that I am, I just did a conservative calculation and I figured that I have spent AT LEAST 2.31 years watching baseball games in my life. That figure surpasses my hours attending school and getting an education (and I have an advanced degree). It also exceeds the hours I have spent eating, driving, gardening, talking on the phone, shopping. reading, and cooking, (most things that I enjoy doing).
|Steve Finley's 2004 division clinching grand slam.|
We are baseball geeks, savants, nerds, and gurus. There will be some that will state that we’ve wasted a good portion of our life away. There’s probably some truth to that. We were groomed by over-the-line, wiffle ball, baseball cards, Strat-o-matic, Vin Scully and Bill James Reality is that the joys experienced when baseball goes our way are treasured throughout our lives and discussed for decades. We Dodger fans all know where we were when Gibson’s shot was hit, Big D and Orel's broke the scoreless streak record, Sandy's perfecto was thrown and Finley's slam was lofted into the RF Pavilion. The low points make us better persons in the long run and are growth opportunities. And guess what? There’s always next year too.
Conversation with my wife yesterday:
Her: “I want to see “Captain Phillips” (new motion picture with Tom Hanks) this Saturday, you want to go?”
Me: “ Um…uh,…”
Her: “Oh that’s right, the Dodgers. That’s more important than going to the movie with me, right?”
Me: “Let me see if I understand you correctly. I watch 162 games a year and that’s not counting spring training. On top of that there’s hours writing on the blog, more hours participating in Dodger related discussion boards, watching pre-and post-game shows, listening to sports talk radio, reading days and days worth of material on the team. You rarely ever complain about the time I put in to all that. All of this leading up to the playoffs and World Series that the Dodgers haven’t qualified for lately. So on Saturday, when the Dodgers are probably playing their most important game in a quarter of a decade, a game determining if they make it to the World Series for the first time in 25 years, you want me to go to a movie that I’ve never heard of.”
Her: "Only if you love me… (after a long pause)…the game's at night, right? Maybe we can go to the 11:00 AM showing.”
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