Baseball is for masochists

Two nights ago I stayed up rather late watching the Braves play against the Dodgers, only to see them blow a 4-2 lead in the ninth.  So last night, I turned the TV off when the Dodgers hit a 3-run shot in the fifth.  Bobby Cox had just been ejected after a horrible call by the ump, and the game felt like it was degenerating.  La novia had already gone to bed, so I hit the power button and brought the dogs upstairs.

I should have kept watching the game.  The Braves rallied and won.  Baseball is a cruel mistress.  Some days you get rewarded for loyalty with Cleveland steamer of a 9th inning, and some days your cynicism is punished by missing a stirring come from behind victory.

At least we aren’t in the Western division anymore.  Although I must admit my true sports love has shifted to Michigan football, I grew up a rabid Braves fan.  As a child, I watched the Braves every chance I had.  I remember getting into soooo much trouble during these west coast games that started at 10:40.  For some reason, my brother and I had a small tv in our bedroom, which was next door to our parents room.  I would turn on the game with the volume off and the lights off.  The whole room would flicker in blue light until my dad would open the door and yell for me to go to bed.

I don’t think any of the current NL East opponents measure up to the Dodgers of the late 80s and early 90s though for “villain factor”.  The Darryl Strawberry chants alone are better than anything we’ve got today, and of course Tommy Lasorda was larger than life.  The lack of a wild card and going straight into the NLCS if you won made the rivalry that much more exciting.  It was truly something special when the Dodgers came to town in those years.  How did we ever come back from 9 1/2 out at the break??

I digress.  I don’t have the stamina for baseball watching that I used to.  Nowadays I usually pull out my computer and do work in front of the TV with the game on in the background.  I typically lose momentum around the 6th inning.  More than football, baseball slowly murders my nerves.  The game is slow enough that every pitch is its own drama of anticipation and climax, with each pitch slighly more important than the last and each out more meaningful than the last.  “Oh man, only one more batter and we are out of this inning,” or, “one more out and we’ve wasted this inning with no runs,” etc.  Inevitably, it seems, there is some heartbreaking collapse where I think, “ah, screw it, this game is done.”  And yet sometimes my patience is rewarded by a thrilling comeback, or the Braves DON’T give up that late inning hit.

I think I have selective memory – all I remember is how awful the losses feel.  When the Braves win, I feel as though I escaped a beating, and when they lose I am dejected and blame myself.  “Every time I watch, they lose.  It must be me…”  Did I mention baseball is a superstitious game?  During that 1992 game 7, my brother, mom, and I would wiggle our fingers and “hex” the Pirates’ pitcher during his windup, and then stop as soon as he let go so we didn’t hex the Braves batter.

Hey, I was 10.  Oh, also,  IT FREAKING WORKED.  You can thank our voodoo magic for that win, guys.

Anyway, watching the Braves kind of drives me a little crazy.  All these emotions go on in my head, and all that escapes my lips is, “ugh.  sigh.”  I can’t wait for football season, where I can yell and scream and scare the dog every five seconds, and at least let it all out…

1 Comment so far

  1. bking on August 9th, 2009 @ 2:05 am

    And now, Saturday night, 2 am…. Braves win in 10. Glad I stayed up for it.

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