Wednesday, June 03, 2009

The Hangover of Defeat (The High of Victory)

Next week will be a very good week, unless it's like 2007, then it will be bad. It better not be bad, especially since they are playing a team that has only won fourteen games total. ('62 Mets, eat your heart out.) I can't express how excited I am to finally see the Reds play. I've only been to one Reds game all season, and that was Opening Day. The whole series will be a celebration, from stalking the players at their hotel as they arrive to the post game beers after Thursday's odd 4:35 start time.

Yeah, yeah, I was down on the team after the crapfest in Killwaukee and last night's crapfest in Taint Louis. The emotional toll taken by not only the loss of these games but by the loss of Joey to bizarre and secret circumstances sometimes contributes to kneejerk reactions.

The whole "I feel your pain" idea is not empty rhetoric. We as worshipers of the baseball religion invest so much emotional energy into the game that the saints who are the objects of our veneration and adoration become a part of us, become one with our baseball souls, and when affliction strikes one of our dear holy men, we feel a pain stir within us. No, it's not empty rhetoric when we say "Get Well Soon" or "We're Pulling For You." We as human beings (who aren't sociopaths) really do care.

Baseball is a funny game, as countless others have said. Maybe it's the long season and the daily play that mimics real life and the cycles we all go through, the ups and downs, the times when we feel great and the times when our bodies fail us. Maybe it's the colors of the game or the imperfect symmetry of the field that stirs our souls. Maybe it's the fact that the little guy can be as great a hero as the superstar. Maybe it's just that the game is so old, it embodies the myth of the "good old days" and gives us a sense of security and comfort we think is lacking in our modern lives. Whatever it is, the game is different than any other. There's no "football mystique" or "basketball nostalgia" or "soccer poetry." It's only baseball that arouses these things within us, only baseball that can break our hearts one day and give us a natural high the next.

And even though we may feel ready to give up on the season after a weekend massacre, a simple patchwork win like Monday's defeat of the hated Deadbirds is enough to stir up October hopes. Then they can be dashed with one crappy sixth inning.

And so tonight, once again it's time to root, root, root for the away team despite the fact that we feel the hangover of defeat today, because the possibility exists that we could wake up tomorrow with a song in our heads, a smile on our faces, and all the hope in our hearts that maybe, just maybe, this is our year.

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