I’m not gonna say it. The season just started. So I won’t say it.
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Happy New Year! Welcome 2010, to officially start!
I have had a terrible, terrible day, but through some instinctual force deep within me knew exactly when to turn on the television at just the right moment to catch the start of the opening ceremonies of Opening Day. The resounding “O” of the National Anthem, watching Brooks and Boog simultaneously throw out the first pitch…dissolved all my troubles in an instant.
I thought for a brief moment a couple of days ago that I wasn’t ready for this season, for all the losing and frustration to start anew. I’ve never thought that before. But it’s true, there was a brief, “I’m not sure I’m ready for this” moment.
But today, a lovely bright sunny day…it’s a day when your heart betrays you…you cannot deny that which you love the most. The people, they come and go, but baseball, the Orioles, that is what is there every Spring to lift one’s spirits, to give hope for all the potentially bright days ahead. This is the day when your willpower is tested to not pack up your car and head straight to Camden Yards.
Ahhhhhhhhh! Orioles! Win or lose, I love you!
Every year I make resolutions about how I would like to be a better person. As an Orioles fan, I have many points of failure and much cause to renew my resolve to hope against all odds that I am capable of reform. Just for an example, I may have convinced myself, before today, the start of the season, that I would try to provide all three of my readers with more composed and measured evaluations of the games. Nevermind…you’ve heard it all before.
It’s the first game of the season, the Os played marvelously. There was much happiness. And then…there was the fateful ninth inning which hates Orioles fans, which consciously sets out to turn us all into alcoholics, which leaves us ashamed and frankly, surprised, at the vocabulary that escapes our tormented and apoplectic lips.
So, in the interest of not using all my bad words up on the very first night of the year, I will summarize the painful events of tonight’s evening as “unfortunate.” Unrealized Oriole homeruns in the top of the ninth, Tampa seizing theirs and winning in the bottom. Choose nearly any game over the last three years, replay it and you will know all you need to, should you instead have spent your valuable hours on this earth doing something more productive than testing your blood pressure and your ability to suppress tears, real and actual tears.
Keeping my expectations in check is futile. I’ve been down that road and no matter how obvious it should be that I shouldn’t hope for better, I apparently have a special type of brain damage that is conducive to being an Orioles fan. So here we are again. Me in disbelief, in disbelief that I’m in disbelief, my husband saying, “What did you expect?!” me feeling a touch indignant at his lack of faith, me thinking that he’s right to lack faith, and you, dear poor reader, suffering right along with me. For the rest of the season, I, for one, will make sure that my bottle of Merlot is close at hand.
Nevertheless, Happy Opening Day!! Losing Orioles is still better than no Orioles. Happy Opening Day!!
Happy New Year Orioles fans! I hope that 2010 is full of love, health, and riches in all things that bring joy to you. This is the time to also hope that our beloved team somehow finds a way to provide us with a season that does not leave us pondering our masochistic tendencies while we watch and wonder how fans of certain other teams, though thoroughly soulless, are able to cheer remorselessly and gleefully for teams that win — or at least don’t lose in record — no, it’s the season of joy, so the remainder of that sentence will remain untyped. In short, I wish you a year and season without rue. And for me, I wish a chance to touch Cal Ripken, Jr. again, and maybe, if it’s not too fantastical, maybe Eddie Murray and Earl Weaver. (Dreams came true last year, so why not dream some more!)
Again, I apologize for such a long delay since my last post. Contrary to all logical supposition, my lack of posting is not due to my utter despondency about the Orioles, nor the utter hopelessness that our beloved team will ever see both quality pitching and batting on the same roster. It is not a result of this blog author submitting herself to an Orioles treatment program for depression (only because one does not yet exist – the actual market for such a service being so small — though desperately needed for that small market). No, no. My lack of posting is due only to the limited number of hours in the day. And sometimes, the lack of imagination to say in a brand new way, “Huh! We lost. Funny, that,” or “The Orioles hurt me bad. Bad.”
New Years is always a time for me to make a long list of resolutions — some of which are never realistic, like finishing everything on my reading list, and some of which I actually manage to accomplish (I can’t think of any examples at the moment, but I know they exist). In the past I might have been wont to resolve to no longer complain vociferously about our team. I may have even once promised to not use the words “chipper” and the name of an Orioles pitcher together in the same paragraph. Recent years and this blog have taught me however, that I am weak of character (and mind) and the futility of such promises only assures that I will have just one more reason for self-loathing, one more reason to regard myself as a failure and screw up. Sure, I feel mean and judgmental when I make such statements, but at least I achieve a temporary outlet for the frustration that is being an Orioles fan and loving, despite all reason, a team that elicits a response of laughter and “WHY!?” from anyone outside of our circle. (If you have to ask, I could never explain it to you. And go get a soul you idiot Red Sox fan.)
So may 2010 bring many more Orioles friendships and reason for us to cheer everything in our lives outside of baseball, as well as the pleasures of our favorite past time, even if very few other people understand its appeal or our loyalty and devotion to a hobby that causes sometimes real and physical pain (and occasional alcoholism). Count on much more complaining emanating from this url, and occasional unrealistic and unwarranted enthusiasm. Virtual love and hugs to you and many thanks for your friendship and patience in reading this blog.
Happy, happy 2010!
I just tuned in to the game. It’s the bottom of the eighth and Albers just walked a Ranger Cabrera style. The score is now 17-4. What is it with the Rangers and is there a way we can bring the Royals back to the American League and move the Rangers to the National? There must be some way we can get out of playing them.
And here I thought the past two routs were bad.
Bases are loaded and Albers just threw a wild pitch. One thing the last two years have taught me is to not torture myself unnecessarily. I’ve seen all I need to…Now it’s 19-4. I’m out.
My wish for you is that you missed tonight’s game entirely.
Okay, I’m going to try to not feel bitter that the only opening day I’ve been to in twenty years was last year against the Rays when we lost against Tampa Bay, with a half empty stadium and very little energy in the crowd and try not to lament too much that I could have been there this year to be part of the crushing blow we just dealt to the Ys in possibly the best opening day I have ever watched. Wow. What a great way to kick off the season. And may I say, “WE’RE GOING TO THE WORLD SERIES BABY!!” I’m just kidding, of course, but it certainly was a wonderful way to start baseball this year!!
To be honest, I wasn’t real confident when I say Guthrie would be pitching. Oh ye of little faith.
I found myself wondering who was more honored today, Biden to be standing next to Palmer or Palmer standing next to Biden?
Beauty and happiness abounds!!
Perhaps every Monday should be Opening Day. Not only have I been looking forward to this Monday, but in an unprecedented show of morning energy I bounded out of bed before the alarm. And I’m only watching the game on TV.
Though, I do have a long to do list today: update blog to bore precious few remaining readers (check), update Facebook status with a teaser “is so happy today because…To celebrate she is wearing…Can you guess?” (I had to disqualify one friend from playing, the rest will never figure it out. How sad is that). Contact MASN today and tell them again how very much I love them and the great joy they have brought me (along with commensurate suffering to my dear husband, who last week uttered a pain-filled involuntary, “Oh no. Already?” Already! Already indeed!). And the most difficult thing on the to-do list, try to focus on my work before the game. That will be a challenge!
Just like when I was growing up, I am so excited…How I love Opening Day. It’s all goodness from here. Spring, baseball, summer, outdoors, fun, play. Opening Day symbolizes all of these.
May you have a wonderful Orioles filled day. I’ll be back in touch later.
Now…do I wear my “Thanks Cal, I was there” tee, the plain Orioles tee or the Brooks Robinson tee? Or, the “Y n k s s c k, I want to buy a vowel” tee? I’ll save that one for tomorrow. Decisions, decisions!
I’m going to Opening Day!
Just wanted to say it one more time, it feels so good! 😀
It is with some effort that I attempt to write an entry about the Orioles that remains somewhat positive, as I sit here twenty minutes since the game has ended, still in utter disgust. My cat, who granted is smart, could have predicted how today’s game would end. Hell, who couldn’t. The good news, I suppose, is that the Orioles put up a fight and the game ended with reasonable numbers 3-2 in the Red Sox’s favor, of course.
The disturbing news is that Guthrie, who was pitching a good game, left with an injury. I’m sure everyone reading this understands the impact of that. When it rains, it pours.
Despite the frustration at the Orioles for blowing another attempt to come back from behind, I still enjoyed today’s game. I got a wild hair the other day and decided to do a search for scorecards. I found these templates from Microsoft. Yesterday, I half-heartedly kept score using the basic template, but today I found the more detailed ones which have room for substitutions and boxes for tracking pitch counts, etc. (See for yourself.) They’re great.
I’ve probably mentioned this story 100 times before, but one of the joys of scorekeeping is watching the patterns that emerge. In 1976 (I had to look up the year and was surprised that it was so long ago -I’m old!), Reggie Jackson was briefly on the Orioles. (Wearing an Orioles uniform didn’t make me like him any better.) One day, before the game, he and Jim Palmer had a discussion that went something to the effect that Palmer could predict where the batters were going to hit the ball and Jackson didn’t believe him. (You’ll have to forgive me, since I was only nine at the time, I might not have the exact details of the argument correct, but anyway you get the gist. I looked online to see if I could find another reference to the incident, but haven’t turned up anything.)
In one inning, when the batter stepped up to the plate, Palmer turned towards the outfield and gestured at Jackson to move, waving him a little left, a little right. As a fan, we weren’t privy to why Palmer was doing this, but when the batter hit the ball, it went directly to Jackson. He didn’t move an inch. It was extraordinary! The next batter came up and Palmer again turned to Jackson and repositioned him. Once again, the ball was hit right to him. I think Palmer made his point, whatever it was. I guess Palmer always did his homework and knew his batters.
I’m sure with computers today, there are ever more sophisticated statistics. For the Orioles current bullpen, I’m not sure that memorizing the batter’s hitting patterns would be as useful as just remembering their role as part of the Orioles organization to try to to get the batters out instead of helping them to score runs.
Anyway, the nice thing about scorekeeping is that it keeps you focused on what’s happening in the game. I can’t keep score and do anything else and it forces me to relax and just enjoy one thing, a bit of a guilty pleasure to spend four hours just watching the game. What a luxury.
In life, they say that it’s not a good idea to keep score. Don’t make an effort to remember how many times you were the inviter or invitee, don’t keep track of the gifts given and received, how many times you were the one to say sorry first. Keeping these statistics in our daily lives is a guarantee for disappointing relationships. As I write this though, it occurs to me that our thinking on this is all wrong. Maybe the problem is that we don’t keep score accurately enough?
The thing is, whether we like to admit it or not, we do keep score. We may not realize that we keep score until the moment when we feel like there’s a great deficit, by then an accumulation of hurts and mistreatment enabling us to reflect back and recount every one of the events that lead to the imbalance. At that point, we realize that a part of our brain devoted itself to keeping this mental tally even against our will.
The problem isn’t with keeping score, it’s that our accounting is often inaccurate. In a moment of frustration after a grueling day, we might remember that our spouse has had to be asked to take out the trash the last five times. At that moment, we might not be able to see clearly enough to remember the things our spouse has done, like watering the landscaping the last 100 times, and stopping by Blockbuster every week to make sure there’s a movie to watch over the weekend. We may also conveniently forget our own frequent shortcomings, like not keeping up our agreement to keep the bathroom counter clean of makeup and hair products.
Maybe it would be better for our relationships if we did keep better track of our hits, runs, and errors. We would see more accurately the facts about the patterns in our relationships, the relationships that are bad for us and the ones that are good for us. We would know when a relationship is toxic and continues to be toxic, the bad far outweighing the good before we’ve invested too much of our precious life energy. We would see the big picture, instead of focusing so much on a moment in time and turning a strikeout into a .100 batting average, we would be able to see the true batting average of .700, seeing the strikeout in the context of a series of hits, RBIs, and homeruns. We would be able to notice and correct a pattern of poor fielding before it caused irreparable damage to the team. We wouldn’t be able to manipulate stories to suit our purpose, the facts always there, telling the truth. We would have to admit to all the times we overthrew to first, or worse, home, and barely ran to get to get the hit that resulted in a go ahead run for the opposing team.
I can’t say I’ve thought this through thoroughly, so I reserve the right to change my mind, but my first thought is that perhaps we could improve our relationships by creating a scorecard. Doing so would eliminate our ability to focus on what’s wrong with our friends and relatives, and would force us to evaluate ourselves more honestly, realizing our own imperfections when we would rather choose to downplay or ignore them. In our impatient moments, we would be able to see the big picture of a history of all the good things in our relationships and approach a mistake with more forgiveness and equanimity, keeping perspective about an event in time.
I had an older friend once who said, “Whenever you have a problem, first look in the mirror.” It was the best piece of advice anyone ever gave me. Sometimes unfortunately, we spend more time pointing the finger than looking in the mirror, and yet that mirror is such a valuable tool.
Cal Ripken, Jr. in his Hall of Fame speech talked about the life lessons and skills that baseball teaches: teamwork, practice, discipline, and patience. Baseball is known as the sport of statistics.
Is it possible that it can teach us something else, the value of keeping score and accumulating accurate statistics to improve our relationships?