Friday, September 3, 2010

Diversion vs Obsession


Once per season or so, I get to thinkin' and drop a blog post on the unsuspecting readership that goes beyond my standard & patented hackey bullshit. I'm not so sure it's a good thing, as I know those who choose to stop by on weekends here at the blog come for the entertainment and maybe a little discussion. So rest assured, I'll be back to my normal self in a week or so and off we'll go.....

See, I wasn't supposed to be around this weekend - taking a break to settle into a new routine at home (welcome #2, yo!) before resuming the stretch drive. Let me tell you - life has never been more challenging nor rewarding. I've never been more exhausted and content at the same time. I figured a few forced weeks away would be good for my life as a devoted Jays fan - more casual observer than obsessed follower. And so it went, for the better part of a week.

But during some blessed quiet time this evening, it occurred to me - I missed the daily diversion once I realized that's what baseball should be - a diversion. It's a great game, this baseball. As simple (see ball/hit ball) or complex (OPS, WAR, VORP) as you want it to be. Tao's post on The Shaker opened the floodgate of nostalgia for me: summer nights listening to Dave Stieb chase his no-no on the radio... a weekend at my grandparents, being lucky enough to watch the game when he finally did.... Tony Fernandez tossing rainbows from short.... Dave Winfield, Joe Carter. Holy shit, friends - those are memories.

I'm as guilty as the next of caring waaaay too much about the daily transactions and line-up cards of this team. I'm not so naive to think that's going to change, but a part of me wishes maybe it did. I sometimes wish I could be that guy who blindly defends Cito's moves, because, you know...2 rings. If not for the internet and all we know today, I could look at Vernon's old-school Avg/HR/RBI line and say "hey, not bad for our center fielder". I could have a gander at Kevin Gregg's gaudy saves total and without question appoint him the bullpen ace. But nobody said progress was without cost - in this case, emotional - and we're all smarter fans for it.

What's the point of all this? Fuck, I don't even really know, to be honest with you. Maybe that every once in a while, it does a soul some good to step away from your obsession and dial it down a notch. Maybe it's that being a fan in 2010 is most certainly not the same as it was in 1985. The point is not that one is "better" than the other.... just different. Hell, nothing's the same as it was in 1985, why should the game be?

I do know this - when it comes to a diversion, nothing beats baseball. And isn't that supposed to be the point?

12 comments:

Tao of Stieb said...

Huzzah. Very well put.

(And by the way, congrats, Daddy Ack. I have unending admiration for your ability to balance a lovely family, a stellar job, and the weekend/backfill blogging. I get overwhelmed trying to tweet these days.)

The great thing about baseball: You can go months without seeing live action, and still hold so much of what makes the game great in your head. I can remember staring out into a beautiful Carribean sunset and relishing the moment, and still cast a thought towards Pat Borders' OPS.

And depending on your perspective, that's either pathetic or a beautiful thing. I kinda think it is both.

500 Level Fan said...

I completely get it. I love baseball. At the same time I don't understand and can't stand Cito. Yet I love him being with the Jays. Part of the reason why I started my own blog - because so many things just need to be said in order for me to try and make sense of my love of the game. Great post man.

Niggertits said...
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Theo Nash said...

I think that's the beautiful thing about sports -- we spend so much time thinking about the numbers, the "facts", the things that say players can only only get a hit 30% of the time, or that a reliever gives up one or two runs every nine innings they pitch; and yet, when the time comes, when our 30% successful hitter stands at the plate with the game hinging on his swing of the bat, we expect him to come through, or when that reliever runs in from the bullpen in a tight situation, we expect him to retire the side without a hitch.

It's a notable situation of doublethink -- we know players fail more often than they succeed at the plate, and yet we expect glorious success every time despite that. The modern world is extremely cynical, and yet once a night, for three hours we can sit in front of our TV, or listen to a radio, and throw it all away and revel in the joy of the spontaneous and unexpected; we can take unjustifiable joy in the contact of a ball of string wrapped in leather with a wooden stick, or that same ball falling into a diving man's glove. Real life takes a back seat, for once, to the simple, childish joy that, as we grow, we force ourselves to shun. It's a beautiful thing, this game of baseball.

William Tasker - Caribou, ME said...

Nice post, Ack, and congrats on number two. Enjoyed the read and am glad you wrote it.

mike in boston said...

i tried to find an angle in this post so i could complain that Snider hasn't been playing everyday but couldn't find one. thumbs down.

Parker said...
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Parker said...

The Jays were the Boston Red Sox of that era: they did a fantastic job of developing talent, making smart trades, and signing a couple key free agents to put them over the top. Not to mention the fact that they had the highest payroll in baseball. That team was a fucking powerhouse and either one of my cats could have coached them to World Series wins. Well maybe not Ninja; he's kinda dumb.

Seriously though, I don't understand the team's decision to allow Gaston to continue to manage when they are supposed to be playing the kids and developing young talent. In particular, the way that Snider has been handled is baffling and extremely frustrating. The only motivation for not reassigning Gaston that I can think of is good PR to attract casual fans, but the organization is also responsible for so many inexplicable decisions that make it seem like they're actually trying to drive fans away - raising ticket prices after cutting the payroll and trading the face of the franchise, and the Sportsnet One boondoggle just to name a couple. It just doesn't make sense. The team needs either an intelligent modern-day manager, or a guy who would essentially be AA's puppet like John Gibbons was to Ricciardi. Trotting out mediocre veterans with no upside or long-term value to the team has to stop, and I don't give a flying fuck at a rolling donut that Fred Lewis has the most "raw power" of anyone on the team.

Navin Vaswani (@eyebleaf) said...

Preach on, Ack. Very well written. 2010 has been a blast, all the Cito-crazyness a part of it. Baseball is beautiful.

And congratulations on the new addition to the family. Best of luck.

Cheers.

The Ack said...

Thanks for all the words everybody....and stellar comments by all.

Anonymous said...

I like this blog but the Cito hate is a real downer. Can't understand Cito? Probably because you are all nerds who never played any sports.
0.516 winning percentage as manager and two rings DOES say it all, haters.

The Power of the Written Word said...

Excuse me Anon, but wiffleball totally counts as a sport. Can't understand the Cito hate? It's probably because you're a troll who only plays to the peanut gallery. Anonymous profile and commenting two days after the last comment DOES say it all, hater.

Now, I have to leave the basement because Mom needs to vacuum.