Monday, October 25, 2004

Fall Classic 2004 or, How I Learned to Shut Up and Watch Baseball, sometimes.

Baseball is so not something that interests me during the regular season. I was discussing this with a friend on the bus this morning, and the fact of the matter is, you have to really, really adore the game in order to suffer through all of them (TM Sars). Because most of them suck, they really do. And I have a really hard time following a game that takes the better part of five hours and has maybe ten minutes of actual action. Of something happening. Interestingly enough, I seem to feel the same way about basketball, but that’s another entry entirely.

With baseball, I moan and bitch about how boring the game is, how banal the stats are, how long and tedious the season is. But then the Fall Classic starts up and we reach the Series. I will be the first to admit that I am a fair-weather fan and thanks to dozens of my friends, I am currently rooting for the Red Sox. I rooted for them last year too, as well as the Cubs since Chitown was living in Wrigleyville at the time. I’ll probably root for them next year and the year after that. The thing about this series that kind of amazes me is the suspension of animosity. Don’t get me started on stupid college kids getting drunk and rioting in Boston after they beat the Yankees; that sort of moronic shit happens every Halloween in Eugene. That’s beside the point. There's this amazing ability for most sports fans who aren't drunk morons to unite under the pennant and watch the Series like normal people.

My thing is that I feel like I’ve finally gotten to a point in my life where I have a pure appreciation for sport. Anyone who reads this knows my bordering-on-unhealthy obsession with the Olympics every two years. Sports are a unifying force in this country. People become enamored with teams and with sports for a reason. Particularly in the postseason, there’s a sense of rising above, of conquering the demons of day to day and becoming something great. Seeing the bloodstain on Curt Schilling’s ankle evokes a feeling of respect and reverence for his belief in the game. It makes me think of everyone else who rose above an injury or a major setback and triumphed. Schilling’s ankle is being held together by stitches, tape, and the hopes and prayers of every Sox fan alive right now.

I spent the first half of Saturday afternoon sitting on the floor at Claudia’s on Hawthorne, splitting a pitcher with WRX, eating Burgerville that one of my sorority sisters had gone out to get since the wait for food at Claudia’s was two hours at one point and watching the Ducks slog their way to a win against Stanford. It was awesome. After that, WRX and I snagged a table, Bumbershoot showed up, and we all watched Game 1 together. We were two hours late for a party at my own apartment, thanks to that game. I'm still not entirely sure that I'm sorry.

I like sports because I like talking about them with other people. I enjoy talking shit about opposing teams. I like watching games like the Ducks and then talking smack with my friend’s boyfriend on the bus in the morning because he’s a Beaver. I like the dialogue and the fact that sports fans always have something to talk and dish about. I like the instant camaraderie of a shared table with three older gentlemen in full Sox regalia as they high-fived all three of us anytime the Sox scored a run on Saturday.

I like proving my dad wrong when he said, “You don’t watch baseball.” I liked calling a very old friend in DC and knowing that we were watching the exact same thing and cheering for the same team. I’m a satellite part of the Nouveau RSN. Maybe I’ll stay there and maybe I won’t. This guy knows more about the RSN than anyone I know and he’s got my respect.

I'll be a sports fan for the rest of my life. I'm going to watch college football, my favorite teams in regular football, though only whenever I can catch them, I'm going to obsess about the Olympics, I'm going to watch college basketball because half of my family bleeds Kentucky blue and white and I'm going to watch the Fall Classics.

Quote of the Day: "Baseball was life! And I was good at it... real good." Mr. Mertle (James Earl Jones), The Sandlot.

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