The Baseball Desert

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

For love of the game

Last night we finished dinner at around 8:30pm, and I was all set to get into my gameday routine: off to bed at 9pm and then up at 1am for the 7:05 ET start. Then it occurred to me - I really didn't feel like getting up to watch the game. There wasn't any particular reason - I wasn't especially tired, I didn't have a tough day at work ahead and there was no reason to believe that Schilling would get shelled again - it's just that I didn't feel like it.

Despite my passion for the Red Sox, this is not a cause for concern. It happens occasionally, and when it does, I usually just take the night off and come back refreshed for the next game. What I noticed last night, however, was something that's been creeping in this season. Having decided that I'd spend the evening doing something other than watching baseball, I suddenly started thinking about the running tally of the number of games I've seen: "If I push myself to watch this one, I can add another game to the total."

I'm slightly ashamed to admit that it actually took me a couple of seconds to step back from that statement and think: "WTF?!" Keeping a running total of the number of games was supposed to be just an interesting comment on my crazy baseball-watching habits, but now it seems to have become an end in itself. Even if my life sometimes seems to revolve around the Red Sox, this is not how things are supposed to be. I enjoy getting the looks and comments from people when I tell them how I spend my evenings from April through October, but I don't want to get to the point where that's all I'm concerned about.

There are a couple of steps needed to remedy this. Step 1 is to stop the running total. I think it's clear to anyone who reads this blog - including myself - that I'm a bona fide Red Sox fan. I don't need to back that up with numbers. And it's fairly obvious that, like most passionate Sox fans, I spend more time than I should worrying about a bunch of millionaires playing a game, but I'm not going to try to change that, any more than I'm going to try to stop liking sushi. It is what it is: part of my makeup, and if Roger Angell says it's OK to care, then who am I to argue?

Step 2 is to not worry about not seeing the games or taking a couple of nights off. The world will not come to an end because I miss a game or two, nor will my membership of Red Sox Nation (European Chapter) be revoked. The Sox'll do their thing whether I'm there or not, but when I am there, it should be because I want to see the game, and not because I feel I need to make some kind of statement.

So tonight I may watch the game, or I may go and do something completely crazy like spend a little time with the family. I'm sure that, in my absence, the Sox and Red Sox Nation will keep thing ticking over.