Monday, December 14, 2015

The Trough of Offseason Despair

Me too, Rob. But I feel even worse between the ides of December and the day pitchers and catchers report in February. And it's not because of the weather: I live in a part of California where it's never too hot or too cold. Nor is it because there are no good sports to follow. My hometown GS Warriors went 23-0 to start their championship defense this year. I haven't followed the NBA on daily basis since I was a child, but for a few days last week I was checking my phone compulsively to see if the Dubs were still undefeated (they finally lost on Dec 12, in Milwaukee). That compulsive phone checking? I do that during the baseball season all the time, for embarrassingly unimportant reasons. Early in the season, I'll check every day to see if anyone is still batting over .400. I'll click on links about no-name pitchers getting Tommy John surgery. I'll wake up and check my phone to see if Jean Machi got out of that bases-loaded jam in the seventh meaningless inning of game #62 against the last-place Rockies. Baseball has always had an inordinately strong grasp on me. This is well-documented.

Here's what I think is going on with me: during the offseason, I miss baseball like a psychotic misses his meds. I feel unbalanced. Regular-season baseball is a mild stimulant, but it is delivered slowly and consistently over a long period of time. The sport is unique in the density of its schedule -- 162 games over something like 180 days. Which means that for many of us, it's a daily routine. I listen to games while I'm making dinner, while I'm bathing my kids, while I'm sweeping up after them, while I'm folding laundry. I'll admit that chores still suck when you're listening to Jon Miller and Dave Flemming, but they suck less. I realize that most of the games are boring. My mother watched soap operas when I was growing up, General Hospital and One Life to Live. Talk about boring...but I watched those, too. There's something soothing about a constant, low-level drama. It puts my mind at ease. In the winter, I cook and sweep and bathe in silence.

Maybe that's it. Not the weather, but the silence.

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