October 14, 2014

Running on empty

One day you’re making plans to watch what you hope will be a deep run into the post-season.  The next – you’re sitting in your living room feeling a little numb, trying to put a positive spin on what was a great regular season and a horrific post-season. 

Your eyes glaze over as you watch the opposing team pour champagne over one another.  You try to muster a smile, but it just doesn’t happen.  You want to be happy for a franchise that has had a 29 year drought from the post-season and although you might feel a little smidge of happiness for them – you feel a little sick to your stomach at the same time.

One minute you can’t sleep because you’re excited about the upcoming games and the next – you can’t sleep because you can’t believe it’s over.  You can’t prepare for the moment because you never want to acknowledge the possibility.

Any season that falls short of a World Series Championship is somewhat of a disappointment.  You try to reconcile how hard it is to win it all, but at the end of the day – it’s still a letdown.  You spend so much time, emotion and energy (not to mention money) invested and engaged in a long 162 game season and when it ends, you’re left feeling a little empty.

You start to think about how long the off-season will be and how much time must pass and how many games have to be played before you have a chance to be back in the play-offs again.  That day seems a million miles away and the thought of all the time and energy that will be spent yet again just leaves you cold.

These feelings are not unique to Angel fans by any means, but that doesn’t make it any easier.

 As the days pass and the post-season rolls on, you try to watch the games and choose sides.  Picking a team to “root” for doesn’t feel right.  It’s just not the same.  It’s easier to decide which teams you want to fail; i.e. the Dodgers because they’re the Dodgers or the Cardinals because of John “He’s dead to me” Lackey or A.J. Pierzynski because… well, he’s just a jerk.

You watch in disbelieve as Mike Moustakes looks like a Greek Baseball God homering again and again.  You mutter to yourself… “I thought the Royals didn’t hit homeruns…”  You say things like “Eric Hosmer picked a great time to finally live up to his potential” and you just mumble a lot about this, that and some other things. 

So you tune in here and there.  You don’t make a point to schedule your life around the games, but you watch if you’re home and it’s convenient.  

You get to the point where you just want the season to end.  You grow tired of the talking heads on television because you've come to realize that at the end of the day – your guess as to who’s going to win it all is as good as theirs.  Sure, your interest might pique here and there, but deep down – you just want it to be over. 

It’s then and only then that you don’t feel like you’re not being reminded constantly that your team has to wait till next year yet again.

Life goes on.  The days will continue to get shorter and the nights will get longer and soon the 2014 baseball season will be a distant memory. 

Approximately 121 days till Spring Training.  *Gulp*

October 1, 2014

Ready to Be-Weave

Jered Weaver has provided me with many great memories.  From his no-hitter to his asking the question “How much more do you really need?” when asked if he thought he sold himself short with his contract extension.

I have said it before and I will say it again – I absolutely love watching him pitch.  I dig his competitiveness and the way he wears his emotions on his sleeve.  He’s a fighter and I never feel cheated whenever I watch him take the mound.  I get a sense of peace and calmness whenever he’s starting in a big game. 

We’ve been given glimpses of who he is through the eyes of television and the big stage that is Major League Baseball.  We have seen him hugging his parents after his no-hitter, wearing Cardinals gear and cheering for his brother Jeff as the Cardinals won a World Series.  We see this human side of him that’s endearing.

We get the sense that he’s kind of, sort of just like us.  He’s a regular guy who just happens to have an immense amount of talent.  He works hard and he appreciates everything that he has. 

Thursday night – he will take the mound for the first game of the ALDS against the Kansas City Royals and I couldn’t be happier.  I have no idea what will happen that game, but I know that Weaver will give us everything he has and that’s enough for me.  This is what we want – a player who cares and wants to win and will not let the magnitude of the moment overwhelm him. 

I believe every professional athlete wants to win, but in some – it’s hard to tell based on their persona.  With Weaver it’s easy to come to that conclusion. 

It would be very easy for me to get emotional about this.  There’s something about the way Weaver goes about his business that is inspiring.  I feel connected to him when he screams and pumps his fist after closing out an inning.  I am right there with him in that moment and I absolutely love it.  I want to scream along with him and say – “Yes! You can do that against anyone; absolutely anyone.”

This is what being a fan is all about for me.  Those moments when every care or worry in the world is blocked out by the greatness of a single moment.  Something amazing has happened and you are there to share in the experience.  Nobody brings that to into focus more than Weave for me. 

It is easy for me to focus on every pitch he delivers.  To watch him dissect a lineup and befuddle opponents with a fastball that is no longer over powering is an absolute blast to see.  It’s art.  It’s magical and it’s beautiful.

It’s like watching a fighter step into the ring with a bigger, stronger opponent while the crowd looks on expecting to see a blood bath and then seeing the man do things that utterly frustrates an opponent in such a way that it’s almost comical.  He’s David facing Goliath every time he steps on the mound and Goliath hasn’t got a chance.

Weaver is tall, but he’s not imposing.  He’s not scary looking, but he is extremely fierce.  He is most dangerous when you think you have him figured out.  If you try to size him up, you’re going to be in for a rude awakening because he will rip your heart out in the heat of battle.  He is everything this fan could ever want in a starting pitcher.

I make every effort to see Weaver pitch every time he’s on the mound.  I hate missing any opportunity to watch him compete.  For me, Weaver is always great theater and I don’t want to miss a single act.

I have a tradition that I will carry with me Thursday. Every time Weaver takes the mound, I wear a shirt with his name on it.  That will be the case again.

You can’t imagine how excited I am to see him pitch in game 1.  I feel like I’m 8 years old again waiting the big day.  I’m ready to get lost in the moment that is postseason baseball.  I’m ready to Be-Weave.