I love baseball. It may not be fair for me to say that, because I really am more of a passive fan (at least compared to the die hard fans I know). Maybe it’s because my team is lousy and 1000 miles away. Maybe I’m just not that big of a baseball fan. Regardless, I love baseball. Baseball, however, does not love me.
Baseball’s unlove for me began when I was just a wee lad. Little League was like being in heaven. The dirt, the grass, the Big League Chew. Nirvana. However, baseball did not see fit that I should be any good at the sport I loved. Through most of the 7 years that I played, I generally got the requisite 2 innings in the field and one at-bat. It wasn’t until my last year that I got to play regularly (in the infield, no less!). Even then, I couldn’t get a hit for anything. I think I ended up batting around .225 that year, which would be acceptable if I were a professional, but in Little League .225 is just plain lousy.
Eventually, I had to stop playing. Not because of any serious injury, or because I didn’t want to. I had to stop playing because I wasn’t any good. Now, nobody came up to me and said “Ben, you’re a chump, stay clear of the diamond.” It was obvious, though, that you needed to be a good player to keep playing in the next league. Those teams traveled, and there was no rule stating that each player must get playing time. I was heartbroken, but that’s life.
Once I became and adult and made actual money, I could afford to take the occasional trip to see a Major League game. Apparently, baseball hasn’t forgotten me. I’ve attended five MLB games in my lifetime (it would be better if the Orioles moved to Indianapolis or something) and my team is 1-4, including a four-game losing streak. Last weekend, I went to two games. The White Sox beat the Orioles in both. On Sunday, as I was driving back home, the Orioles decided to win. Thanks, baseball.
Yesterday afternoon, as I’m trying to figure out what to write about, I find out that Mark Buehrle of the White Sox is pitching a great game. So great, in fact, that it ends up being a perfect game. The perfect game is a very rare feat. Buehrle’s outing last night was only the 18th in the major leagues, dating back to 1880. Twenty-seven batters faced, and 27 retired. The stamina, skill, and sheer luck required to perform such a feat aligns so infrequently. Of course, the cause was aided by teammates, including an amazing catch by DeWayne Wise.
Of course, when I watched Buehrle pitch against the Orioles last week, he had to have a routine 7.1 inning showing giving up a run and eight hits. I mean, if my team is going to lose anyway, can’t we at least be on the losing end of something special? Oh, that’s right: baseball hates me. Thanks, baseball.