Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a huge baseball fan.
But this year–I have, as my father from the south would say–no “dog in this fight.” My favorite team finished dead last in the American League East–for the second consecutive year. We had no pitching; on days when pitching did show up, the bats were cold. One of the better pitchers was hit in the side of the face by a ball that came flying off the bat of one of the opposing hitters. He was out of commission for several weeks while his cheek was reconstructed. We essentially had no shortstop because the person who had been dubbed to play that position after our long-term, homegrown shortstop was allowed to flip to another team during free agency. Oh, but did I say that he was a fan favorite, a presence in the dugout for other players, and so much more? And did I mention that he didn’t have a good year with his new team? But I digress…
I will stop grousing about the team I have followed since I was eight years old (seriously_ and discuss the four teams currently left in contention to meet for the 2023 World Series.
In the American League, it’s the titans of Texas tackling one another for the chance to take home the World Series trophies–the Rangers vs. the 2022 World Champion Houston Astros. Now, most sports pundits thought that the Astros would walk all over the inexperienced Rangers team, but they weren’t counting on superior pitching from Jordan Montgomery or the (ex-Red Sox) pitcher Nathan Eovaldi. Despite having had home field advantage for the first two games, the Astros lost both of those contests and now head to the Texas home park, down two games to none.
In the National League, the two teams that were supposed to be duking stout for the league championship were both knocked out of contention–the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Atlanta Braves–both of which had the best records in baseball during the regular season. Now it’s up to the Philadelphia Phillies and the Arizona Diamondbacks to settle the question of which team will represent the National League in the World Series.
The Phillies took the first game against the Diamondbacks , but in tonight’s game, they’re not winning–they’re blowing out the team from the desert. Last I checked, the Phillies, led in part by home runs hit by Kyle Schwarber, were leading by 10 runs to none.
It’s a little wild for this baseball fan, but it’s kind of nice not to have to stress out about winning or losing, but rather, to be able to simply enjoy the quality of baseball, the pitching, fielding, hitting–those terrific elements that make me love this game.
I promise not to worry as each pitcher reads the signs and throws the ball, nor not to be upset if someone strikes out or hits a home run. I promise not to be concerned if one team challenges a call on the field and the umpires don’t overturn it. I promise not to become overly emotional when one team wins and another one loses.
I do not, however, promise not to find a new player for whom I can root in the future. This is, after all, baseball, where I have found, over the past sixty-plus years, more than a few players from teams other than my favorite one whom I can cheer on. I just can’t explain it, but I love this game.