The Baseball Desert

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Grumpy Old Man

In the movie Keeping The Faith, there's a scene where Ben Stiller's Rabbi Jake Schram is quizzed about a date the previous night, and his reply is: "Well, it was mostly horrible, but with a few, brief moments of excruciating agony. But at least it was long..."

Well, that pretty much sums up last night's game.

Let it be stated for the record: I hate Yankee games. They make me nervous, even when the Sox are ahead. And if things should start to go pear-shaped - as they did last night - depresson sets in quicker than you can say "Okajima gives up four earned runs."

Though I will always qualify myself as a Red Sox fan, I watch baseball as a leisure activity. And even if the majority of games I watch are at unsociable hours, it's still what I do to relax after, say, a crappy week at work. When I sit down to watch, I know that the Sox aren't going to win every game, and that's OK - I'm watching because I'm interested in those famous 60 games that make or break a season (the theory being that every team will win 60 games a season and lose 60 games a season, and that what happens in the 60 others is what decides a team's fate). Losing isn't enjoyable, but it is part of the whole fan package, so I can deal with it.

However, for some reason, I can't deal with Yankee games - I derive no enjoyment from them whatsoever, even the ones that the Red Sox win. Last night I felt more like someone waiting for root canal work at the dentist's than a guy enjoying a game of baseball. When the Sox went ahead 4-1, I found myself grimacing at the TV like some escapee from a lunatic asylum, yelling "C'mon - let's get some more runs and bury these motherfuckers!" Niiiice...

Even with the Sox ahead by 5 runs I felt nervous, aware that the Yankees are aways only a couple of hits away from a big rally. When things went spectaclarly bad, it felt like getting punched in the face by that smug little bastard at school that you'd always hated. And suddenly, at about 5:45am, as the Sox were failing to rally at the end of the second-longest nine-inning game in the history of baseball, a simple question occurred to me: "Why? Why the fuck am I sat here trading a much-needed good night's sleep for five hours of anxiety and stress?" Life can be crappy enough as it is wthout voluntarily adding to mess.

So further to that dawn revelation, here's the deal: I'm still Red Sox through and through, but I'm not watching any more games this weekend. If Beckett throws a perfect game today and the Sox score 27 runs off Clemens tomorrow, then so be it. I need a couple of days to put baseball on the back-burner and spend my time and energy worrying about more important things.

All thing consdered, this is probably not a bad thing, since real life - specifically, work life - is going to change radically in a couple of weeks. In my present job, I can afford to have days where I drift along on cruise control after a 4am game aganst Oakland. However, on October 1st I'm starting a new job, which is going to require 110% of my attention and effort, so it's unlikely that I'll be as free to watch as many games or write as many blog posts as I do right now. In that sense, this Yankee series will have served as a useful wake-up call and reminder that, as much as I love the game of baseball and the Boston Red Sox, they are an accompaniment to life in the real world, not a substitute for it.