The Seeker

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“Hope is a dangerous thing.  Hope can drive a man insane.” ~ Red, from The Shawshank Redemption

If you told me two weeks ago that I’d be waiting with nervous anticipation for Game 2 of the American League Championship Series to start, I would have pshawed you.  My long-loved Orioles were winding up a barely mediocre season, my Brewers had been out of it since the truth about Ryan Braun unplugged their season, the Cubs were such a joke that I didn’t even watch them this year (unless I was at the game), and the Tigers–the only team left that I really care about–were staggering across the finish line and facing an almost certain elimination in the first round of the playoffs.  But that was two weeks ago, before the Tigers’ pitching staff threw 18 straight innings of 4-hit shutout baseball to come from behind and win the opening round of the playoff, and to gain an early advantage in the ALCS.  Those two weeks, the last 4 days of them in particular, have helped me remember why I love baseball so much when the leaves are blushing and turning gold.

This wasn’t an easy baseball season for me, and I can point to the lack of blog entries about baseball as evidence to that.  My hopes were high in April for the Orioles to ascend to the top of their division and again be in the playoffs.  They never seemed to build up a head of steam, though.  They were mired in mediocrity.  Someone once said that cheering for a mediocre team is far worse than cheering for perennial losers because with losers you know what to expect and you know not to get your hopes up.  That mediocre team, though, will cut you off at the knees just as soon as you get your hopes up that they’re going to break through.  That was a hard lesson for me to learn this summer.  I got my hopes up about a dozen times between April and September before the final crash in the middle of last month was enough to jar me to my senses and admit that the O’s didn’t have it in them to make the playoffs.

The Brewers were a different story.  They had all kinds of potential, and with two emerging stars in Carlos Gomez and Jean Segura to complement Ryan Braun, it seemed like they would be putting up some runs and at least hanging around in contention for a wildcard spot.  That was before the ugly, ultimate truth about Ryan Braun emerged.  I was so disappointed in the whole situation that I didn’t even blog about it.  There was nothing more I could add to the vitriol that had (deservedly) been heaped upon him for his use of performance enhancing drugs, and I was disillusioned with all the ways the situation had gone wrong.  It was only two years ago when the Brewers were deliberating about who to keep as the cornerstone of the franchise–Braun, or Prince Fielder.  They chose poorly.  Fielder has been one of the most rugged and dependable players in all of baseball the last five years, consistently proving wrong all of those who said that with his size he would be breaking down left and right and wouldn’t be worth a long-term deal.  What’s more, he has slugged away for the Tigers, and is now playing in his third straight league championship series while the rest of the Brewers are playing golf.  In Braun’s case, I hope he’s planning a public relations campaign that will in some way salvage what little he has left in the game.  Maybe, too, he’s dealing with himself and learning not to be the stereotypical self-serving, conceited prima donna athlete.

But at least I can still watch Prince Fielder, and his attachment to the Tigers only gives me more reason to cheer for the team that I’ve come to like quite a bit in the last 12 years.  Hope is a dangerous thing, though, and my hopes were just as high last year before the Tigers faltered so horribly in the World Series that I couldn’t stand to watch it.  But how can I NOT be hyped with hope after some of the most dominant pitching in recent playoff memory?  I’m confident that they can get past the Red Sox, and can only hope they dispatch whomever they might face in the World Series.  If so, the pain and disillusionment from this past summer will have been worth it.


Written by seeker70

October 13, 2013 at 6:21 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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