It was my first season of softball and I dawned a Padres jersey. This didn’t stop me from getting swept up in the Blue Jay love fest gripping the city. Game 7 of the 1985 ALCS broke hearts and caused hate for the Balboni. The collapse of 1987 gutted: Doyle Alexander and Frank Tanana played lead villains in that Movie of the Week. The loss in five games to the Oakland Athletics in the 1989 ALCS incurred disdain for Eckersley. I seemed to have blocked out the ALCS loss to the Minnesota Twins in 1991.
You know what happened next. 1992. 1993. Greatness.
During the player’s strike of 1994, I discovered girls and live music and quit playing organized baseball. The desire for a World Series three-peat faded away.
Slowly coming back around to baseball, and in the wake of 9/11, I actually hoped the Yankees would win the 2001 World Series.
For three years, I lived in Central America, where an obsession for the beautiful game grew, along with the belief that sport reveals the best and worst of character. It can transcend human frailty and cultural barriers. It can also turn grown men and women into petulant children or wayward beasts. But no one paid much attention to baseball in Costa Rica.
I renewed my love for the refined game when I returned to North America.
I appreciate the use of advanced metrics to build teams and determine value. I also put stock in the psychological part of the game. Intangibles, like intimidation and confidence, work-ethic and attitude, though hopelessly immeasurable, do matter. The bizarro John McDonalds and Jose Bautistas of the baseball world are real and poison the clubhouse and worsen the ball club.
I hate intentional walks. I appreciate plate discipline, players who run out ground balls, and the direction our GM is taking us. I’m intrigued by underdogs, overcoming great odds, or facing and lasting through adversity. Their stories make wonderful theatre, and I think they are worth cheering for, so long as more deserving players do not sit on the bench. I respect elite talent when statistics confirm it.
I love the art of pitching. I haven’t determined, for myself, which combination of statistics provide the most accurate evaluation of performance. I love a good ERA and a low WHIP, and it’s clear that a pitcher’s W-L record measures something other than his direct contribution. I do believe luck plays a role, though some pitchers cultivate an ability to incur harmless ground balls and fly balls. A consistently strong (traditional) ERA can be indicative that.
I tried out for the Dalhousie Baseball Team in 2009 as a pitcher. My 65 mph fastball, average slider, and loose screwball failed to impress, but I did make the team. It’s one of the best things I’ve done.
I am an aspiring writer, and a speaker of three languages, who is not finished living elsewhere. Dominican Republic or Japan would seem like healthy options. The girl of my dreams will not roll her eyes when it’s 7:07 p.m and I turn the TV on to a regular season baseball game.