Wednesday, April 27, 2011
I couldn't sleep last night. Turns out sleeping in until noon on your last day of spring break isn't conducive to getting back on a normal sleep schedule. Naturally, my thoughts turned to baseball. The Phillies had just followed their four game sweep of the Padres with two dispiriting losses to the Diamondbacks. Lidge and Contreras are on the DL. So is Chase Utley, and who knows if he's going to play at all this year. The offense went two weeks without scoring more than four runs. Dom Brown is starting his rehab assignment, but Ben Francisco looks exposed as an everyday player and Raul Ibanez has turned into a black hole. Never has a 15-8 team with four aces looked so vulnerable. This wasn't helping my sleeplessness.
I took to Twitter to see what the scribes were saying. Unfounded speculation that Oswalt's back is hurting? Awesome. Now I'm concerned about our rotation. (Note: News broke this morning that Oswalt has left the team for personal reasons. Super.) What's that you say Matt Gelb? Harold Garcia tore his ACL and is out for the year? Uh-oh. He's never played a full season above A ball? I don't care, this is awful news! Now I'm curious and need to see who else we have in the minors could help. * * crickets * * Uh, that would be no one. Come to think about it, withholding judgment on Dom Brown, the organization hasn't developed an impact bat since Ryan Howard in 2005. We really have turned into the Yankees.
That's all tangential to my point though. I'm obsessed with this team, and I don't know if that's a good thing. You wouldn't think it'd be like this though. 2008 exorcised Joe Carter crapping on my seven year old heart. Everything else should be icing on the cake. That didn't happen though. Maybe I felt like I had to escalate my commitment to the team to prove I was better than the bandwagon fans, I don't know. Why should this even be necessary? Bandwagon fans don't remember such luminaries as Wendell Magee, Jr., Desi Relaford, or Wayne Gomes. They didn't go to the Vet enough to be recognized by ushers. Yet I still need to justify my fandom. I need to read more blogs, know the farm system better, travel farther to see them play.
I feel like Bill Simmons' father, or at least the character Simmons has created to feed into his schtick. I need to talk it out with someone after a tough loss. Why though? Even the best baseball team is going to lose at least 60 games each year. There is literally no reason to overanalyze any individual loss. It's tiring. I was burned out like this once before. In 2006, I had a perfect out though. I studied abroad in New Zealand for the second half of the season. Taking into account the time difference and the slow internet connections there at the time, following was nearly impossible. I watched one game on ESPN International and remember reading about Howard's three home run game against Tim Hudson in a backpacking hostel in Melbourne. That's it. It was awesome.
So I'm going to try instituting a forced hiatus from my uber-fandom. Step 1: Twitter disconnection. I'm going to unfollow all my favorite beat writers and bloggers. Step 2: Cutting out the blogs. No Fightins. No 700 Level. No Zoo With Roy. If I want news, I'll have to read stories published in the newspaper. Step 3: This is the big one. I am going to pretend I live in a pre-internet era. I will only listen to the radio broadcasts of games, with the exception of nationally televised games of the week.
Will I really lose anything by not knowing what the latest meme is or not understanding the newest ZWR shirt? I don't think so. How long will I last? Not sure. Is blogging about my disconnect a contradiction? You bet. Game on.