August 16, 2011

When your team can't buy a win, buy a shirt

Sometimes being a baseball fan is just painful. You get your hopes up in anticipation of a big game or a big series. The day of the first game of that series, you can’t help but think about it all day long. You can’t wait to get to the stadium to be with other fans that are ready for something special to take place.

As the game unfolds, everything that could go wrong does exactly that. It’s sort of like a nightmare and at a certain point you can’t wait for it to be over, so that you can focus on tomorrow. Watching your favorite team go down in defeat is never a pleasant experience; watching them lose do a division rival is worse and watching them self-destruct is beyond words.

So here we are; it’s the day after an 8-4 loss to the Texas Rangers. The sun actually came up this morning and I was able to open my eyes and face another day and tonight, I’ll be able to watch yet another ball game. I hope it will be a much better experience than last night’s debacle, but I have no idea how it will turn out.

And I guess there’s a beauty in that. Baseball is unpredictable and just when you think you have it figured out, it surprises you in ways you never thought possible. It’s what brings us back to the stadium time after time; game after game.

We ran late to the game; which is something that happens regularly for us because of work and commutes and a general lack of time. We arrived after Garret Richards had to leave with a groin injury and the Angels trailing 1-0. It’s always a little disappointing to arrive at the stadium with your team trailing early. It doesn’t exactly set the mood in the right direction if you know what I mean.

As the game progressed, I sat in my seat quietly; just watching and thinking and wondering how the Angels would get out of this hole. Some of the 514 Fanatics began to comment. Dave said, “Hey – why are you so quiet – you seem so introspective.” Bo looked around and said, “Come on – why the sad faces, we’re at a baseball game!”

They were both right and that’s the great thing about being at a game with people who make watching it a much richer experience.

Even still, I never really came out of my funk and Cheryl and I headed off to the team store before the 7th inning stretch – something we rarely do (leave early). By the way; the Angels with just 23 regular season home games left in the 2011 season, finally got in a shipment of Peter Bourjos, Jordan Walden and Mark Trumbo shirts and yes, we bought a few shirts because we just don’t have enough Angels gear (sarcasm).

We left the store and the stadium before the game was over… we lingered for a bit on the concourse when Russell Branyan homered; however, we left when Torii Hunter struck out and Vernon Wells popped out.

We got home before Angel talk started and that was probably a good thing because nothing makes a loss worse than the people who call in after the Angels suffer a defeat. Joe Fan in Irvine has all the answers. Pete Know-it-all thinks Scioscia should be fired, etc., etc. It’s enough to make sane fans crazy.

I didn’t hear any post game interviews, but I could imagine Mike Scioscia saying something about “turning the page” yet again and about the need to do more offensively. Blah, blah, blah. It’s a familiar routine.

Today I’m sure people are going over how bad the Angels are statistically and how poorly they’ve hit in the last month or so. To tell you the truth I’m kind of bored with all the stat talk about how bad this team is. I just want them to win anyway.

Is that too much to ask?

I just want to go to the game and be in the moment. I don’t want to hear how so and so hits with runners in scoring position. I just want to watch them hit and drive somebody in. I don’t want to know what the Angels record is when Jeff Mathis drives in a run – I just want to see him drive someone in while I’m watching.

I just want to be 8 years old again and go to the game and be excited because I’m at a ball game, period.

I don’t care where Bobby Abreu ranks statistically from a historical perspective. I don’t care about how much money Vernon Wells is making. I don’t even care how many games the Angels trail the Rangers by in the AL West.

I just want to watch a game; enjoy the game and see my team come out on top and then do it again tomorrow and then again on the next day and the day after… You get the picture, right?

Sometimes it's fun to just be a fan who is excited to just be at a baseball game. Thanks for the reminder Bo and Dave...

I’m also looking forward to Saturday when one of our favorite bands; MercyMe, comes to town for a concert after the game with the Baltimore Orioles. Who is Mercy Me? Watch…

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