The Seeker

A Meta-Cognitive Journal About Writing… Plus Other Stuff

Cheating on my Girlfriend– Epilogue

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I started compiling these notes once Johnny Damon found third base empty and stole it, too, after stealing second base in the top of the ninth inning of Game 4 Sunday night. It came to me then in a sad rush of reversed denial that the Yankees are too good to beat. They aren’t dominant necessarily, but are too good in too many ways for Philadelphia to defeat. The damned Evil Empire has done it again, they way they usually do– by springing loads of cash for the best of the best, and letting the dominant players do the heavy lifting. They have turned artistry into industry, and the game is worse off for having such an overpowering force.

It’s just as well that baseball has ended. The game commanded a lot of my attention for the past month; it has kept me up far too late on far too many school nights, and occupied 80% of my writing time and energy. It’s time to put it all to bed and steel myself for the cold, dark winter. At least I have 3 more months of football to occupy my mind (my prediction? Colts over the Vikings in the Super Bowl).

*

It’s good to see a Japanese player win the World Series MVP, though Hideki Matsui’s selection is dubious in light of him being a designated hitter, and in comparison to Derek Jeter’s overall consistency. Matsui clobbered the ball at a .615 clip, but Jeter hit .407 in more than twice the at-bats (27, compared to Matsui’s 13). Jeter also had 3 more hits than Matsui, and scored 5 runs to Matsui’s 3. Matsui’s home runs and runs batted in tower over Jeter’s numbers, though (3 and 8, compared to 0 and 1). It doesn’t help that Jeter hits lead off. There has been only 1 leadoff hitter to win World Series MVP in who knows how long (maybe ever?), and that was David Eckstein in 2006. The decision stands nonetheless, and I can live with it becasue it also serves as a benchmark regarding the international scope of the game.

General Managers around the league should pay attention to how important it is to Japanese players. Four of the last five World Series Champions have had a Japanese player on their roster. It seems that they tend to be hot commodities because of their consistently excellent play. It helps that there are so few of them, and we only really see the most excellent players of out Japan. It makes me wonder how Sadaharu Oh would have done had he come across the Pacific. He totally kicks ass in NES Baseball Stars, though the Japanese Robins typically lift him late in the game for speed and defense.

*

MLB needs to address the issue about the playoffs running too long. It took 4 full weeks to get through everything, and I can’t help but think that at least 5 days could have been cut from all of that. I saw this happening a few years ago when the NBA tried to stretch the first round of the playoffs out over an ungodly amount of time. Unfortunately, that causes the playoffs to drag. It kills excitement and anticipation, and allows teams to rest up and recharge in ways that they can’t during the regular season.

In the case of this World Series, all that rest could have enabled the Yankees to pitch their premier horse 3 times if it had gone to 7 games. That’s unconscionable– it’s like MLB is slanting the playoffs in favor of their their largest television market. I hope that’s not the case, because I hate to see my beloved baseball floating in a toilet bowl of money. That’s what killed the NBA around the late 1990s in my eyes– it became impossible for a small market team to win a championship. That isn’t the case in the NFL, where it seems to happen pretty frequently. There have been a number of small market teams to win the World Series this decade (Arizona, Florida, St. Louis), and I hope that trend continues. I think a salary cap could help this situation, too. It would help maintain a competitive balance, and could possibly help resuscitate franchises like Kansas City and Pittsburgh, both of whom have been floundering for far too long.

*

Ryan Howard isn’t the only one who has been swinging and missing the past few weeks (3 for 23 in the World Series; he whiffed 13 times). It seems I can’t get my bat around fast enough, or make solid contact when I do. Last Friday night was a perfect example of this. I was at a club where a friend was celebrating her birthday; there was a band playing that she wanted to see.

I met several women, two of whom asked my friend about me. One is early in a relationship, the other doesn’t seem my type. There was a third one with whom I made a real solid connection. She not only looked like my ex-girlfriend from 2006, but had the same name. I was picking up some greenlight vibes, thinking it’s a cinch that we’ll talk or get together some time. It turns out she’s dating someone.

This is how I know I’m slumping. And this isn’t even the killer part of this story.

Halfway through the evening, I was heading back to the dance floor from the bathroom, and ran right into my ex-girlfriend from last year. The one I called recently. The one who didn’t want to go to the corn maze because she’s starting to date someone. The one I was referring to on Day 19 when I said the corn maze denial wouldn’t be the last time we talk (it turns out that is the only prediction I’ve been right about throughout this serial). She was there with a bunch of friends, same as me. The guy she’s starting to date was there; I thought it wise to slink away before I ended up meeting him. So I slinked, but not before I twice noticed some peculiar eye contact she was giving me.

That won’t be the last time I see her.

I know I’m a streaky hitter. I can hit for a high average when I’m on (I went 9 for 19 vs. Matt’s pitching at one point during the final day of my quest in 2006). When that happens, it’s like I’m pulling the ball to my bat, and I can hit everything at my whim. And slumps disappear, if sometimes slowly. It’s important to focus on your stance, how you’re holding the bat, watching the ball from the pitcher’s hand, and watching it as you make contact with the barrel of the bat. More than anything, you have to keep swinging.

You have to keep swinging.

*

This serial took on a greater life than I ever imagined it would. Such is life, and such should be the life you father. It was full of the unexpected, which I didn’t really think about as I started this. As a writer, thought, nothing but good can happen when you have to deal with the unexpected. It stretches your mind and your ability, and after that mutation, you’ll never return to being the writer you were, even if that mutation is to the tiniest degree.

I had planned on this being a nostalgic “I told you so” trip to a championship for St. Louis in the World Series, something that would return me to a time 3 years ago when I wasn’t necessarily happy, but unexpectedly found joy and meaning through what I would usually use as a distraction to life’s worries. But I don’t have the power to say what something is going to be in the future, especially when everything hinges upon how the 108 stitches on a baseball spin, if and where that ball makes contact with a piece of polished pine, and what direction it bounces after it impacts sod or soil. I only have the power to respond to what is set in motion by the actions of others, and to make sense of it within its own context and the context of my universe. That has proven to be more than enough for me, and I hope I have proven myself worthy to the task. If nothing else, I have found a reason to write (and I have never produced so much new material over a 5-week span in my life).

But I think, too, that I’ve fully realized why baseball resonates so strongly in my life. I see so many parallels between the two. Both are fluid entities wherein several elements flow and intermingle: power, finesse, speed, defense, reaction, endurance, strategy, and the ability to recover from defeat. Both are in a constant state of delicate balance, and without any particular element, the flow is unpredictable.

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Written by seeker70

November 6, 2009 at 2:45 am

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response

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  1. Before reading this I thought baseball was a boring sport. In fact, I thought it was a little bit girly. After reading your blog my viewpoint has not changed

    The Crap Blog Detective

    November 16, 2009 at 9:27 pm


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