No, it’s not particularly Royals related, but it’s baseball related and that’s close enough for me.
This is always a bittersweet day for me. Since I can remember, I’ve been a baseball fan, and even in the long haul that is the major league baseball season, I’m comforted knowing that there’s a game going on somewhere.
Until there isn’t.
Like I said, I’ve always been a baseball fan and always will be. My dad taught me the rules when I was five (as the Royals won the World Series), but the obsession really started about 23 years ago when I made my first baseball card trade (three Donruss Rated Rookies for a 1986 Topps George Brett). I learned to despise the Oakland A’s and their swagger (and wins) and was elated to see them get swept in the 1990 World Series.
By that point, it would take complete reprogramming to pull me away from baseball. I remember staying up watching the Braves on TBS against the Dodgers as Ramon Martinez punched out 18 batters in 1990. I cried at the end of the 1991 World Series because the season was over. Somewhere in storage back home, I have cassette tapes with the broadcast of George Brett’s four hit game in 1992 to reach 3,000 hits. I’ve edited the entire organizational roster on MVP 2005 on Playstation 2 to reflect the Royals active roster and farm system.
So yeah, the culmination of the season stings. It’s like a chunk that’ll be missing. I love football, but I’m not in love with football. I live a mile from the best venue in college basketball (Allen Fieldhouse) and get pretty obsessed with college basketball, but not to the extent of total immersion like in baseball. I can get by without it here and there (until March, at least).
I think there three kinds of people: those who don’t like baseball, either because the pace is slow, the action’s fairly tame, or whatever odd reason they may cook up, those who like baseball and enjoy going to games, but don’t necessarily have to keep up, and then those who breathe it in as much as they do oxygen. Those who keep an eye on the depth of the outfield when they’re in the stands or watch pitch counts or can tell off the bat if it’s just a shot to the warning track, rather than the homer the other 20,000 fans are expecting.
Don’t get me wrong. I like Hot Stove season too. The day the season ends is the day the next season starts to come together, so it’s important and worth following too (which is good, as we’ll have plenty to write about here on Kings of Kauffman). But no games until spring training is tough to get through.
I mentioned the 1991 World Series earlier. I recall at the end of that broadcast on CBS, they closed with a narration of a piece written by former Commissioner Bart Giamatti. The piece is called “The Green Fields of the Mind” from a collection titled A Great and Glorious Game: Baseball Writings of A. Bartlett Giamatti and I’ll share it with you now.
It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone. You count on it, rely on it to buffer the passage of time, to keep the memory of sunshine and high skies alive, and then just when the days are all twilight, when you need it most, it stops.