Baseball, for the people who read this site, is not a casual affair. It isn’t a dalliance. It’s love. And every team, or at least every core group of players, is a new relationship.
For a long time, we had the kinds of relationships that are doomed from the start. Sure, there were nice moments, but you knew it wasn’t going to work. There was too much wrong. You weren’t compatible. This was a decade in the life of a Reds fan.
But lately, things have started to change. You go into spring thinking, “Hey, this might be it. This might be the one.” Maybe there are a few missteps at the beginning. You overreact a little bit when they’re a few minutes late to dinner. But it’s pretty clear that this is serious, so you keep at it. Months go by and you learn about each others imperfections and they aren’t deal-breakers. This really seems like a good thing.
And then something happens. You find out something they didn’t want you to know. Or you have a massive fight and it’s not about something trivial. You’ve invested a lot and you find yourself alone for dinner and it hurts.
And part of you wants to pick up the phone and say, “Screw this, I’m done.” Part of you doesn’t want to give them a second chance. But there’s another part of you who remembers how nice the last six months were. How much promise there was. That can’t all be a mirage can it? And so you have to decide. Do you pack it in and move on or do you go another round?
This hurt. The way the Reds lost this series is especially painful. It hurts more than it would have if they hadn’t started so well. This wound is going to take a little bit to heal. But I know what I’m going to do.
I’m going to take a couple of days off. I’m not going to read about baseball or think about baseball or tweet about baseball or write about baseball. I’m going to finish a book. I’m maybe going to work on a short story. I’m going to watch a movie with my wife and visit the forestry near by to watch the leaves change.
And then, in a few days, I’m going to come back and I’m going to start thinking about next year. I’m going to acknowledge that I love the core of this team like I haven’t loved a team since I was kid.
No, they aren’t perfect. No one’s perfect. But they’re close enough. I can forgive this heartbreak.
(Note: This, like all of my more sentimental posts, is cross-posted at my personal non-baseball blog.)
Jason has been a fan of the Reds since he was born. He really had no choice in the matter. He has been writing at Redleg Nation for a few years, and also writes and edits at The Hardball Times. His debut novel, When the Sparrow Sings, is available now and concerns baseball, among other things. You can find more information at jasonlinden.com.