I Needed That
It's been a rough year to be a sports fan here. For some, the question of whether it's worse when your team loses a championship game or when your team is hopeless from day one is a hypothetical - it's bar-room argument fodder. For Seattle fans, it's been all too real. Every type of sports pain has been visited upon us recently, from the Super Bowl debacle to the M's, well, to the M's, period. And it seemingly infects everything, every minor detail, I root for. 'Hey, Bobby Livingston's a great pitcher!' Survey says.....not yet, he's not. The English Premier league team I support was clinging to the last Champions League spot, one point ahead of their bitter London rivals. The night before the match, half the team comes down with food poisoning, leading to a loss and the inevitable triumph of all that is evil (worse, this particular iteration of evil seems to be the official team of the M's blogosphere, something I'm sort of at a loss to understand. It's like a good friend turning to you and saying, 'You know, call me crazy, but that Yanni feller makes some damned inspiring music,' but worse... much worse). The Rainiers came really close to an amazing comeback, before falling just short with the bases loaded in today's game. If I picked a boat in the M's hydro race, it would crash and cause a massive oil and jetfuel slick to kill off half the fish in Lake Washington. I'm trying not to ask my wife about her job too much, because I think she might get fired if I start really 'following' it. Seriously.
This all seems both incredibly self-centered (I'm a frickin' *blogger* - sorry) and also a bit paranoid, but I think many sports fans understand this feeling. It all seems so hopeless when the few teams that you follow lose, often in painful, even grimly fascinating ways. Like many fans, I've been looking for some sort of sign that being really passionate about baseball, or sports in general, isn't simply an interesting, colorful forum for life kicking you in the nuts; like a rich, engrossing backstory and dialogue that covers up the fact that the movie has no plot, and everyone dies at the end.
The point of this omphaloskepsis? I took immense pleasure in tonight's/yesterday's 13-inning triumph over the angels. It was, in the cold light of rationality, just one game - a game between the bottom two teams in the division. It meant little and depleted the bullpen. But for the first time in what felt like 5 years, many of the small things I watched for turned out....positively. I've been waiting for Jeremy Reed to be the guy everyone says (and I think) he is since 2004. I've been waiting for George Sherrill to snap out of his mini sort-of-slump, and give righties fits like we all know he can. I've been waiting for Richie Sexson to do *something.* And whadda ya know, all those things happened. This isn't to say that the M's are now an elite team, or that Sexson/Reed are 'fixed,' but for the first time in a while, I remembered that sports can be pretty damn fun, and I'm enjoying the hell out of it.