It’s On

Oct 5, 2012 by

 

The excellent Craig Calcaterra posted his final regular season “And that Happened” today.  If you don’t read this, you should add it to your daily routine next year.  It’s the best quick synopsis of every game every day in the Major Leagues  – you get the score, a few crucial facts and his consistently witty commentary.  It’s the equivalent of Matt’s dual iced coffees.  It’s how I start my day, and without it, I’m all sluggish and gassy.  He ended his last one of the season with this:

And, as it always does, its end makes me sad. I love the playoffs, of course, but they’re not the regular season.  Baseball to me has always been best as a constant, low-leverage thing where no one game matters too terribly much and, if we don’t like it, another game will come along the next day. It’s beautiful background music as we go about our lives from April through September.  The playoffs are …  something else.

Just like that he summed up exactly how I feel at the end of every season.  I can’t say it any better, but this is a blog, so I’m kind of forced to try…

The regular season ended yesterday, and as always I’m left feeling a little empty.  I’m happy the Braves made it in with a decent team and a respectable chance of doing something (unlike 2010 when we limped in and promptly out.).  Playoffs are exciting, they’re intense, you live and die by every decision; it’s a completely different game (just ask Bobby Cox).   While I love watching my team fight their way through the playoffs, the very nature of the playoff game is exactly the opposite of why I love baseball.

Without fail, my enthusiastic borderline religious love of baseball will inspire hardcore NFL or college basketball fans to ask me why I like such a boring sport (interestingly enough this NEVER happens with NBA fans, who are kind of like bisexuals – they freely love anything that comes their way).  In my abrasive youth (yes my friends, I used to be abrasive, what you see now is very mellow.  MELLOW, I FUCKING TELL YOU!) I would pull out my soapbox and wave my arms about while preaching the awesomeness that is baseball.  I’d regale them with tales of pitcher/batter dramas, intrigue them with the finer points of pitcher/catcher communication, explain the majesty of a 500 foot homer, the stolen base, double plays and the brutality of a home plate collision.  I’d show them Ken Griffey’s smile, Mark Fidrych’s antics and Barry Bond’s scowl.  I would hold up the essence of baseball before their cowering gaze and shove it right down their undeserving throat until they accepted my word as god.

I didn’t convert as many people as you might think.

As I said, I’ve mellowed.  Now when I’m confronted by these lost souls I feel pity more than anything else.  I know I won’t convert them, but I do want them to know what they’re missing; baseball is a beautiful sport.  It doesn’t have the gridiron intensity of football, or the acrobatic athleticism of basketball, but that’s part of why it’s such a great game.  Baseball has its own pace, its own grace.  It takes its time from start to finish and lets you determine how intense you want to be about it.  As Craig says, it’s the background music, it plays as we live our lives.  It gives us something to hum along to while we pay the bills, drink a beer, or enjoy a languid summer day.  Its poetry for our senses, from the smell of the grass to the crack of the bat and the pop of the catcher’s mitt.  It fills the empty spaces giving us something to look forward to every day of the week.  It can be the most serene experience or the most frustrating.  It’s the ultimate kid’s game; every day is a do over, every day you have another chance.

I’m older now, so I don’t care if you love it; I just know I do.

I’ll miss the regular season as I gnash my teeth and scream at the TV tomorrow night when the Braves take on the Cardinals in this best of one wild card game.  I’ll watch it with my good friend the Cardinals fan and we’ll try not to kill each other as our entire season boils down to one game.

Aww, who am I kidding, I’d kill that motherfucker in a second if it would get the Braves to the next round.

Enjoy the post season folks, It’s ON.

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12 Comments

  1. jan ankerson

    Alan…it seems I am as passionate about the game of baseball as you are. I love a sport without time limitations. You can watch this game or listen to it and the pleasure is undeniable. Even though I am a die hard National League fan (purist); memoires of listening to Curt Gowdy on a warm summer night with gentle breezes blowing throughout the upstairs of 6 Larch Road and the crickets’ song served as background music to Mr. Gowdy’s broadcast of the Red Sox games propells me back to childhood…an innocent and wonderful time of my life. Gowdy’s voice was heard throughout the house like John Boy Walton saying goodnight to his family. Memories of last week’s Braves game has left the man that I sleep with very sad and upset. I hated to see Chipper Jones hang up his glove and put away his kleats without touching second, third and home one last time…..

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