I don’t expect a consecutive World Series win. I know baseball can be unpredictable. I don’t expect the best-of-the-best performance.
But I do expect good performance. Especially when the reigning WS team has maintained a significant portion of their core team the year. Is that too much to ask?
Instead, I get headlines on a single day like this:
– Sox demote Buchholz
– Francona optimistic about Beckett
– Lugo suffers setback
– Beckett has start delayed
– Battered Beckett accepts all the blame
– A defensive reaction from first baseman
– ‘Dog Days’ can separate contenders
We can all speculate our theories from what the team lost or didn’t do.
Mine is complacency. They did fantastic last year.. and assume they had enough to carry over.
It reminds me of an exchange I had with another rower a couple years ago. We met for dinner and I asked how she was holding up with her off-season training regime. She confessed “I’m not following it religiously. I’m young enough that I can get away with it.” Since she wasn’t on my crew, I didn’t comment. But if she had paid attention, she would have realised the pursed lips were some sort of facial exercise.
I’ve travelled enough and am old enough to appreciate the sense of coming home after each trip. I revel in the sense of relief, the familiarity, of walking back into my house, a place I created my own roots, my own life, and my own career.
I can’t say I’m on the road nearly as much as baseball players to understand their life. But I believe each of them has some sense of coming home when they go back to the team’s home stadium. Especially with fans like the Red Sox Nation.
I am glad. I’m glad they are home. They must be tired. All the globe-trotting, all the excitement. They hadn’t even been home since spring training started. And they haven’t even had the chance to really have their real opener. The opener that should have happened at home, in Fenway. Where the city awaits to welcome them home with open arms and loud cheers.
So here’s to a new start to the 2008 season. Welcome home, Red Sox. Fenway and your fans await to give you the proper, familiar home, sweet home. We’ve missed you.
Good thing I was too busy to follow the game today. Between the race and preparing to host a wine&cheese party, I just didn’t have time.
Having the Sox clinch a seat in the play offs helped put it in perspective for me. Don’t get me wrong- I still want to Sox to win the title and break the trend of coming in under the wildcard. I feel after the phenomenal year they had this season, they ought to be given the title.
1.5 games ahead. Barely hanging onto the lead, though. Five games to go for the regular season, all at home. At least the Sox will have homefield advantage.
Tomorrow: rest! For all of us.
I really need to reign in my thought process. As I pulled out and drove off, I remembered that I was supposed to blog about in my previous entry, which was not what I ended up blogging.
Going back to rest, refreshing, etc etc. Logically I knew it, but the reality of how much traveling the baseball team does didn’t truly sink in until about a year ago when a friend tried to give it a go in kindling a romantic relationship with someone on the coaching staff of a major league team. He was always on the road and she fretted about not getting timely calls or responses. She swung between being understanding to being impatient. Well, as objective person can see, that relationship wasn’t happening.
I admire families of players who deal with him being constantly on the road or at the stadium. My father still travels frequently and I often credit my mother for uncomplainingly holding the fort down alone. What they did pales in comparison to the professional baseball circuit, which impresses me even more.
I used to have a 50% and more travel rate for my job, constantly packing and going. A couple of times, I would leave two suitcases in the trunk of my car and simply swap them out for three consecutive trips. That schedule wore me out quickly and lead to some winters when I suffered more and worse colds because my body was too weak to fight off the bacteria.
How do the players deal with their travel? Not only are they constantly on the road, they also have to play games the days of travel. We’re talking about guys who are fit and in great shape, where their jobs depend on their being healthy. When I hear all the talk about players “wearing out” and “getting tired” I now understand that context. So while we fans enjoy a day off the decompress and calm down, these guys are getting the physical rest they really need.
I love weekends and the freedom to take naps. The Chinese, Italians, and Spaniards are onto something as far as the naptime after lunch culture goes. The body feels more rested, refreshed, and cheerful. Perhaps that’s what that day off offered to the Sox.
Since I blew the afternoon away sleeping, I shall have to run my errands now and miss the earlier part of the game. I really need to stop procrastinating and figure out where to put up the antenna on my car so I can listen to the game on the go.
Didn’t Francona change the pitcher rotation so Dice-K ended up having extra resting time? I have so much to learn about baseball… this year is when I finally figured out how the pitcher rotations work. No, I didn’t figure it out; I realised it existed. I’m still trying to understand the mechanics and details behind it. Bear with me; when I learn I need to comprehend the details.
Baseball, to me, is entertainment. I don’t need it to do my day-to-day tasks and live life. It’s a luxury that I can afford as a distraction. I like watching wins. I love rooting for an underdog (which, this year they are not) and experiencing the joy of watching them pull off a win against odds. I’m not big on paying attention to numbers, averages, past performance. Or, rather, I wasn’t. Just hit the **** ball, already.
I suppose I am gradually graduating out of the “casual” fan status, and developing and appreiciation for the numbers behind the sport. I still don’t want to get hung up on over-analysing and critiquing. A game is a game, especially for a spectator. What do I have to gain from second-guessing the clubhouse front office and coaching decisions. Just make it fun for me to follow.
Seriously, Toronto, you just had to make things exciting and edgy, didn’t you? What a pity I don’t have a tv to watch your game!