Monday, April 5, 2010

Baseball: America's Great Waste of Time (But You Love it Anyway)

It’s April; spring is in the air; the sun actually shows itself from time to time; and the unpredictably nonsensical slap-fest that is College Basketball is almost over. That’s right, sports fans, it’s time for the long and grueling Baseball season to begin.

I can already hear you through the monitor: I hear your hopes and dreams and expectations and they are all running high. This is the way it works. By the time we reach game number 162 your team of choice will likely have been grounded into a paste made from tears and powdered disappointment (in one case, it took 163 games but, rest assured, we got there eventually), but for the moment everything is great and every single one of your starting pitchers will be the Cy Young award winner.

You probably will not have a Cy Young award winning pitcher this year. Unless you have Zach Greinke.

So, in order to save you from the inevitable pain of disappointment four months down the line, let Uncle Nat help you set expectations. If anyone knows about rooting for underperforming baseball, football and basketball teams, it’s Uncle Nat. And I’m not even a Cubs fan. (*ZING*)

Here are five things you can expect for this (and probably every other) upcoming baseball season:

  1.  Your team is not as good as Spring Training has led you to believe. Right now, you are probably thinking “My team looks pretty good. I don’t care if people are picking so-and-so at the top of such-and-such division. My team will use that disrespect as motivation. They’re going to surprise a lot of people.” No, actually, they aren’t going to surprise a lot of people. They just aren’t that good. And, over the course of the 162 games, this will be proven in no uncertain terms. There are no flukes over that long of a season.
  2. One of your most important players will get hurt or traded to the New York Yankees or Boston Red Sox. This is inevitable. You will blame the eventual downfall of your team on this one injury or trade, despite the fact that it’s probably a host of things.
  3. Your team does not "have enough pitching." I don’t know how, in a world of nearly seven billion people, it can be possible for teams not to find enough people to throw a baseball, but every year your team does not have enough pitching. It could be starters, relievers, closers, whatever. Somewhere your team is lacking someone and it’s killing your chances at happiness.
  4. Your team also does not "have enough offense." This and the previously mentioned expectation are nifty ways of saying “Our team doesn’t score enough points, and gives up too many points,” which is basically the essence of why a losing team loses.  That explanation is too simple, though, so we code it in fancy words.
  5. The New York Yankees or the Boston Red Sox will win the World Series. Why? Because they have to. Yeah yeah Surprise Team from the West, yeah yeah Team from Florida who is “underrated.”  At the end of the day New York or Boston will play either St. Louis or Philly and that will be the end of it. If you are a fan of one of these four teams, good for you. If not, get used to it. This is the way baseball is.
But you will watch anyway because sports are fun and football doesn’t unofficially start back up until August, so you are stuck with Baseball. And while you might be wasting your time rooting for a team destined for failure, there will be glimpses of greatness or at least cold beer and hotdogs.  All things considered it’s not a bad waste as time goes.

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