March 6, 2016

Good Baseball Hunting

Something is different.  Usually when pitchers and catchers report, I get a little extra pep in my step.  I usually feel a little more optimistic about everything.  I’m usually in a little bit of a better mood and I’m looking forward.

It’s March and the teams are in full spring training mode. Games are being played and competition is taking place and guess what?  I haven’t even looked at a single box score or searched the internet for any little tidbit of baseball news; at least not to the extent I usually do.

I know Albert Pujols is ahead of schedule in his recovery from off season foot surgery; and although that makes me smile, I’m just not where I usually am at this point in time.

Baseball isn’t taking up much, if any time in my head right now.  I’m guessing as opening day gets closer things will change, but I don’t know for sure.

At a recent chalk talk held for season seat holders with Billy Eppler; the new Angels’ general manager, I heard some things that were encouraging.  First and foremost there is a movement towards a return to Angels baseball, Mike Scioscia style. The Angels are making a point to acquire Scioscia’s type of players; guys who put the ball in play, go first to third and play good defense.  I love that. 

In many ways that news is better than any “big splash” signing the Angels could have made in the off season.

Even still… something is different.

What’s puzzling, is that I can’t tell you why it’s different.  I mean, I’m excited about getting to watch the best player in baseball continue to do amazing things in Mike Trout.  I’m excited about seeing if Jered Weaver can bounce back from a disappointing season and re-emerge as the guy we have always counted on.  I’m just not as excited, I guess.

Is this what happens when your team doesn’t have a certain level of success anymore?  2002 seems like a million years ago.  The run of consecutive division championships seem like a lifetime ago. 

Is it because the team hasn’t lived up to expectations in recent years?  I really don’t know.

Maybe it’s because there isn’t a Torii Hunter type of guy who makes me laugh and smile.  Maybe it’s because there isn’t a Joe Saunders, who Cheryl and I were able to connect with on a certain level.  Again, I don’t know.

As I write this – it’s like I’m thinking out loud.  I’m asking questions and feeling certain things and I’m trying to figure out why.

I’m not feeling the anticipation of great baseball to come.  I don’t have any real expectations.  I have hopes for good things, but I am not sure what to expect.  I’m not sure I’m ready for the grind and if the Angels struggle, I’m not sure I’m ready for the negativity that comes from the fan base when that happens.

They say baseball is America’s favorite pastime.  It’s been more than that for me for quite some time.  It’s been an obsession of sorts.  Not so much this year; at least, not so far.

Maybe this is better.  Maybe I’ll be pleasantly surprised.  Maybe something will happen that I didn’t see coming and baseball will be fun again. 

Ah yes, maybe that’s it.  Maybe I’m waiting for baseball to be fun again.  Maybe I need to be around like-minded fans who are all about the Angels.  Our season seat section has shrunk considerably from where it once was when we had so many regulars surrounding us every game.  It’s a sliver of what it was.  I miss that a lot. 

Maybe we can engage whoever will be sitting around us this year.  Maybe we can add on to our “summer family” like the one Jimmy Fallon’s character talked about in the movie “Fever Pitch.” 

One can hope…

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