Tag Archives: baseball fan

Bobbled

“A .300 hitter, that rarest of breeds these days, goes through life with the certainty that he will fail at his job seven out of ten times.”

-Ted Williams

As you may be aware, I’ve been immersing myself in baseball in an attempt to fit in more into Boston culture. I’ve read about the successes and failures of teams throughout the decades. I’ve watched clips of Bill Buckner’s error and read about Merkle’s Boner (that’s a term that has not aged well). A friend of mine has warned me about following the Red Sox. He speaks of the collapse last September like other people talk about the exact moment they realized their marriage had failed or when they heard about JFK being assassinated. He told me that it would be hard being a Red Sox fan.

I’ll be honest: I laughed at him. After all, I was well aware of the pain and suffering of the average Sox fan. They’ve bobbled away the World Series. They’ve failed, time and again, when it mattered the most. They’ve lost, even when they’ve had the best men in the league on their team. I know all of this and I thought I could handle any loss or losing streak with the knowledge that baseball, like all things, moves in cycles. Even if they’re not on top this year, there’s always next year. Even if they’re in a slump NOW, there’s always next game. There are 160 games in a season. Losing one game is no big deal, not really.

I was wrong.

I’ve been enraged (See The Vernacular of Sports). I’ve been depressed. I’ve screamed at the radio. I’ve curled into a little ball on the floor and cried softly. Six games in and they’ve won exactly one.

There is, as I think I’ve mentioned before, a big difference between reading about the Red Sox and following them as a fan. And I don’t even have the burned-out, jaded cynical perspective to protect me. I go into each game with the cheerful, freckle-faced innocence of a young babe, assuming that this time it’ll be all right.

And you know what? They WILL be.

They’re in a slump. A small slump. They’ll get it together. It’s (unfortunately) like last year. They just need to get warmed up and then they’re going to unleash Hell.

Go Red Sox!

Dylan Charles

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Filed under Sporting: Baseball, Boxing and Sports Not Starting with a B

The Motion

I got caught up watching a soccer game while I was buying my nightly 24 case of beer and immediately felt at home. After watching the World Cup, I became very familiar with how a soccer game moves. It’s a tidal movement. The players flow from one end of the field, then recede to the other end of the field as the ball changes hands. Or…feet, I guess.

As the game moves from one end to the other, emotions build. There’s the tension as they get closer to the goal. And then it either dwindles, fades away, if they miss and the ball makes it way toward the other side, where the tension begins to mount again. Or there’s an explosion, a release from all that emotional build-up as your team makes it.

Basketball has a similar rhythm, but much more kinetic and frantic. Since the court is a much smaller space than than the soccer field, the energy rollercoasters back and forth. There’s no real build-up, it’s just a constant high run of emotional feeling. If the two teams are relatively evenly matched and the scores stay neck and neck that it.

Baseball is different. It’s a sport of circles, long, slow loops over the top and then a sudden swift swing around the bottom. There’s the steady climb, where there’s no-one on base and it’s the first inning and the pitchers are fresh and no-one reaches base. It’s the wait, that calm, low period where everyone is watching for the moment.

Then there’s a full count and there are two outs. He needs to hit to stay alive or the pitcher needs to fail. There’s a pause in breath.  And then the pitch. Still , the audience waits, perched at the top of the loop, waiting for the moment. He hits it, it goes out to center field and the center fielder has it in his sights and everyone knows he has to catch it, an easy pop fly and he…bobbles it! The crowd lets out a roar, it’s the pent-up breath of 30,000 fans being let out.

It’s the languid stretches followed by the sweet, bursts of looping speed that make it worth watching. It’s those pivoting moments where a thousand earlier pivots come together. It’s a circle, a loop-d-loop of emotional release.

I might be turning into an fan, this, the pivotal moment where two months of book work turn into actual, emotional payoff.

Dylan Charles

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Filed under Sporting: Baseball, Boxing and Sports Not Starting with a B

Flashback to Go Forward

For the first time ever, I’m watching a Red Sox game. Granted, it’s a Red Sox game from April 1st, 2011, but it’s still an actual, for really real, major league baseball game.

After months of reading and watching clips of past games, this is extremely refreshing. I’m finally able to put my (still somewhat limited) knowledge to use. I understand what most of the stats mean. I understand why Pedroia attempted to bunt while Ellsbury was on first with no outs. And I even understand why George W. was in the stands wearing a Rangers cap.

There are still some areas where I’m confused. I don’t get why Napoli was out after being hit with the ball while he was running inside the baseline. And the sheer number of unfamiliar names are almost overwhelming.

But I’m starting to hold onto them and starting to recognize people as they  come up to the plate. Ellsbury, Pedroia and Youkilis. Crawford, Ortiz and Cameron. They’re becoming fixed. This might be a problem, cause I don’t know how many of them are still on the team now, but that doesn’t matter so much at the moment.

My biggest worry when I start the 2012 season is that I won’t have any idea what’s going on or who anyone is. And I’ve managed to settle my fears a bit.

I think I’m going to be ok.

Dylan Charles

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Filed under Sporting: Baseball, Boxing and Sports Not Starting with a B