It’s been a while since I’ve updated you on my baseball project. The past week has been tough on this one-summer-only baseball fan. Yes, this is breaking news: I have decided my baseball experiment will live for only one season. It’s been fun, but I can’t see it going on again next year at the same level to which I’ve devoted so much time this season. For those who may have arrived to this blog just recently, I have become a Chicago Cubs fan for the summer. I have never been an ardent baseball fan so I thought I’d adopt a team this year and give it a shot. A fanatical Phillies fan, who is also a good friend, assigned me the Cubs when I asked his advice regarding what team I should follow. There, now all you newbies are caught up with the concept.
As I said, it’s been a bad week for the Cubs. They have lost the last five out of seven games. In the midst of this unusual low point in their wins vs. losses, I have to admit my heart actually pounded a good bit and my eyes were glued to the screen the other night when Cubs lead pitcher, Jake Arrieta, pitched a no-hitter against the Dodgers. The final three outs where enough excitement to breathe life into what I find to be a sport where the action is sporadic at best. There is a lot of sit-back-and-wait in baseball. This is actually a good thing since it allows you to multi-task while you watch a game. Yes, I know there is a tremendous amount of strategy and a gazillion little details being played out all over the field, but unless you are a scholar of the game, most of it goes unnoticed by someone like me. I am late in the game and like most anything else, there is a learning curve to baseball. I am sure establishing a relationship with the game at a young age, say at little league level, helps one to understand the many nuances a lot better. I just get the basics: hit the ball and run like hell, tagging as many bases as possible before you’re either safe or out. Then the fans sing Take me Out to the Ballgame during the 7th inning stretch.
What I did notice is that, suddenly, there are a whole bunch of new players on the team. Tonight alone there are four new players I am seeing for the first time. Where the hell did they come from? Are they hanging on the hooks in the dugout all summer long and when the time comes to freshen up the team the manager just pulls them down, pats them on the butt and sends them out onto the field? There is something, I think I heard, called the “September call-up.” Just when I have finally learned all the players on the team, half the team has changed. This is so alien to me. Will the real Cubs please stand up…or come to the plate at least. All this not knowing what’s going on makes me feel like a real baseball bonehead. I think the saying goes something like “I’m way out in left field.”
Maybe it’s the manager background in me but there is one thing I can appreciate about the game. It’s a verrrry long season with lots of games and lots of stress to perform. Days off are few and far between. These guys do work lots of hours. If you get to the playoffs and beyond, I agree, it has to be recognized as a great accomplishment. I get that. And it’s no wonder the team that goes all the way and wins the World Series pours cases of champagne all over itself then gets a big parade and a visit to the White House. It’s the great American way, but I am happy there’s only one more month of it to go. Next year maybe I’ll watch Curling, another sport I know nothing about.