Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Why do you watch baseball?

It’s about a month into the baseball season and the Twins… aren’t exactly playing like we all had hoped. Personally, I’ve been fascinated by the differing reactions amongst Twins fans. At one end of the spectrum, you would think there is no reason to even continue living, let alone watching. At the other, you’d think life as a Twins fan is going just as dandy as it always has.

Let me tell a story: In the past two months, I have undergone more stress than I ever have in my entire life. None of it has to do with the Twins, mind you. But somehow I managed to reach stress levels I didn’t even think I was capable of reaching. I’m talking can’t-physically-sleep, can’t-physically-hold-down-breakfast, I-think-I-should-go-to-the-hospital-but-I-can’t-take-another-hospital-bill type stress levels. I’m sure the amount of adrenaline consistently running through my body shaved at least a decade off my life. It got so bad last week I couldn’t think clearly, I couldn’t sit still, all I could do was go outside and start running. Running. Truly one of those “Forest Gump wasn’t actually that dumb, was he?” type moments.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who has been there.

At the end of the day, though, the thing that has carried me through all this is baseball. Yes, even Twins baseball, as it is being played now. It might sound extremely corny, but I frankly don’t give a damn. I don’t watch baseball because I ever played it (I haven’t). I don’t watch because I think I’m smarter or know more than the professional management/front office (I don’t). I don’t get particular excited about crunching advanced statistics (but kudos to those who do, and apologizes if I have ever gotten frustrated with you). And I definitely don’t watch because I expect the Twins to always win. I just expect the Twins to play, and for me to watch, and to be able to—at least for couple hours—think about something other than all the actual things that are driving me crazy.

Don’t get me wrong—I want the Twins to win. But Twins’ wins are not why I love baseball, or even why I watch.

I keep watching baseball because of unpredictable moments like this, or like this. I keep watching just because I enjoy watching.

What now seems like so many years ago, my college baseball history professor (seriously) made us read, “Can’t Anyone Here Play This Game?” by Jimmy Breslin. It remains, to this day, my favorite book about baseball. It’s really short, and I suggest you read it. If you aren’t the bookish type, just go on the internet and search for “1962 Mets” and just read whatever comes up. (It helps having background knowledge on this topic/culture, but that’s for another day).

So I suppose we all have our different motivations for watching the game. There isn’t any actual right or wrong reason to keep watching. All I can say is why I watch, and I watch because I look forward to turning on my radio every night with the hope that things will get better, and if them don’t today, I can always look forward to tomorrow. Baseball is unpredictable. It's always a positive thing. It keeps me going.

Why do you watch baseball?

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