The Great Game


On Wednesday night, the Texas Rangers broke my heart. Again. I thought that if it happened, it would be easier to forget; after all, the Rangers have gained a reputation for coming close, only to collapse in the moments with the highest stakes. But this one hurt just as much as Brian Wilson screaming with joy in front of a silent Rangers Ballpark in 2010. It hurt just as much as Nelson Cruz’s misplay on a lazy fly ball in 2011. It hurt just as much as the blank and apathetic stare on Josh Hamilton’s face as the Rangers blew what seemed like an insurmountable lead on the last day of the season in 2012. No matter how many failures they rack up, it always feels like the very first time.[/vc_column_text][divider line_type=”No Line”][vc_column_text]One thing that I heard, though, and that I hear after every Rangers catastrophe was “How can you still be a Rangers fan?”[/vc_column_text][divider line_type=”No Line”][vc_column_text]That is a question that I have asked myself several times over the years. No one would begrudge me or probably even notice if I just stopped talking about the Rangers, stopped wearing their shirts, stopped watching the games. I could spend time that would normally be used stressing about this or that series on stressing about homework. I’ve tried, but I can’t. Because, as odd as it may sound, I’m in love with the game of baseball.[/vc_column_text][divider line_type=”No Line”][vc_column_text]I lacked a father figure for the first few years of my life, but once I moved in with the man whom I now call my dad, he introduced me to the wondrous game of baseball. Since then, baseball and I have been inseparable. I went to my first game when I was six and I recall being struck by the atmosphere of the park. The smell of cooking hot dogs, the shouts of vendors advertising their wares, the friendliness of the fellow fans. I remember asking my dad when we’d get to go to another one; baseball was enough to occupy even my 6-year-old attention span.[/vc_column_text][divider line_type=”No Line”][vc_column_text]Out of all the sporting events I’ve attended, a baseball game is the only place where you can lean over and have a conversation with the person next to you without feeling awkward. And the game itself! It’s poetry in motion – a team sport that still depends on the individual battles that can be split into so many parts that you wonder how the players still manage to be so good at what they do. And it’s a game full of emotion. Football can keep its cheerleaders and touchdown dances and loud pop music. I’d much rather take the sudden hush that falls over a stadium before the fans celebrate, the sight of the ball suspended in the night sky like a tiny moon and the hugs and high fives that follow a win.[/vc_column_text][divider line_type=”No Line”][vc_column_text]I’m not naive enough to think that my opinions put me in the majority. After all, every year people talk about how the NFL is killing baseball, as MLB games are relegated to mid-afternoon start times to make room for football come September. That’s OK, though. Maybe baseball would lose its charm if it were more popular and manufactured, like a friend who is always surrounded by others. The fact that the only person I can really discuss it with is my dad makes the game and my relationship with him feel unique. And even when baseball turns ugly like it did on Wednesday, when it makes me feel like laying in bed and staring at the ceiling for the rest of my life, it’s still beautiful. It will be a long winter, with plenty of time to think about this most recent Rangers shortcoming.[/vc_column_text][divider line_type=”No Line”][vc_column_text]Pete Rose once said “I’d walk through Hell in a gasoline suit to play baseball.” I feel the same way. In March, it’ll be like nothing happened, and I’ll be there to start the whole process over again. That’s just how baseball goes.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]