Yesterday afternoon, loyal reader/commenter/disciple Merrill made an astute observation in the comment section of my post about the front office’s new front in the ballpark war:
Normally, I try to respond to your comments as they come in. You get my knee-jerk, off-the-cuff response because the number of comments this site generates allows me to do that (either you all think I am the smartest person ever and just reflexively agree with me or, you think I’m a total moron and just blow me off). I started to reply to Merrill two different times but, upon further review, decided that his comment was worthy of a little more deliberation. That was truly a brandy swirler (No, I don’t regularly drink brandy, but I want you to picture me contemplating the deeper truths of Rays baseball in some big leather chair in a den whose walls are covered with leather bound books. That replaces the reality of writing most of this on the kitchen counter while my daugthers pull on my pant leg.)
So, I thought about it and, generally I agree with Merrill. Being a fan does suck, at least when the team sucks or the news about the team sucks. But, it’s worth it. I don’t even mean it hypothetically. I mean, in my own life, all the Bucco-Bruce-induced heartache was worth it in 2003, and all the Sting-Ray-Rending was worth it in 2008.
It is simply crazy to admit that, but it’s true. I am a grown man and I let a baseball team affect my mood. (To quote Jimmy Fallon in that silly movie Fever Pitch: “I like being 10 years old.”)
But here is the thing that occurred to me last night that seems to make this whole thing palatable. Being a fan can suck. But it doesn’t have to. As adults, we can all agree that we come to the game every night because the game is fun. Even when the Mudville Nine can’t score against Freddy Garcia and Mighty Casey can’t get a ball to carry beyond the warning track, it is fun. We need to keep it that way. If the ballpark story, or the business story, or the losing streak, get too serious, they kill the fun. And, if they kill the fun, baseball becomes politics, or work, or something worse. Trust me, win or lose, the guys in that clubhouse are having fun and we need to have fun too.
So, let’s just agree that stats aside, record aside, business aside, baseball is going to be fun no matter what. If I start killing the fun, call me out.
[That was an oddly serious post. My apologies. To lighten the mood, I'll leave you with a funny, Fever Pitch-related story that popped into my mind when I put that quote in above. The Rays generally book their team charters with Delta. Or at least they used to when I worked there. One long trip, Delta played Fever Pitch on the D-Rays' flight. Seriously. They played a movie about the Sox loyal fans to the D-Rays. So ironic. What made it better was, apparently none of the guys even noticed they were getting made fun of by Jimmy Fallon when he has his buddies over for the "draft" and makes them dance for Yankee tickets. To remind you, Fallon says "You call that dancing? You call that Yankee dancing? Man, that's Devil Ray dancing."]