SPidge Tales

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Women and Baseball

Game Five of the NLCS was a classic. The Houston Astros were leading the series, 3 games to 1. One victory away from the first World Series appearance in franchise history. With a 4-2 lead in the top of the 9th, they bring in closer Brad Lidge, who may have the nastiest stuff of any closer. He is unhittable. He dispatches the first two batters quickly with strikeouts before giving up a single with two strikes to David Eckstein and walking Jim Edmonds, bringing up Albert Pujols, the best hitter in the game. You could feel the electricity in that stadium. They already had the locker room set up for the post-game champagne celebration. But, Pujols sucked the life out of a stadium, a city, a franchise, with one swing of the bat. His 3-run homer sent the series to a game 6. The Astros still lead 3 games to 2, but I think we all know they are dead.

Baseball has this way of pulling you in and breaking your heart. Just ask any Red Sox fan. Many people call baseball a metaphor for life. I think that is going a little too far. But, I do think you can compare baseball to women. Particularly, in the context of relationships. The extreme high followed by extreme low felt by Astros players and fans when they could practically feel, practically grip, that NL pennant and World Series trip, only to have it snatched away, is kind of like that moment when the woman of your dreams gives you the “I wanna be just friends” or “I wouldn’t want to ruin our friendship” talk. Could you just stab me in heart? It might feel a little bit better.

It is not just the heartbreaks and bad-times that we can compare baseball and women. Baseball when it is good is like women too. I think success, whether with women or baseball, depends on one’s approach. Unlike football, where you need to go full boar adrenaline rush, baseball is more an even keel sport. You need to relax to succeed. Through my playing career, little league through high school through college, I always did best when I didn’t give a shit. I don’t mean that I didn’t care at all how the team did or anything like that. The times when I was always worried about how I was gonna do, or when I would tell myself “I have to get a hit” or “I have to throw a strike” or “I want to hit a homerun” it would never happen. When I didn’t care and just relaxed, I did well. It’s the same way with women. When you worry about when the next girlfriend is going to come, or worry about how to act around a woman, then you never get a date. But, when you don’t care, you relax, and you don’t kiss their asses; and you tease them and treat them like a normal persons, you have more success.

For the woman that you really like that gets away, I think we can compare this to baseball from more of the fan perspective than playing perspective. Or, rather, a combination of both. When I was a kid, I loved going to Major League games, and loved being a fan, because I dreamed of growing up and playing in the pros. Most of the fun in following baseball was dreaming of being there yourself someday. Now, I am out of college, and I know that I am not going to be playing for the Mets. My baseball career is over. It is still fun going to games and following the sport, but it will never be the same. It will never be as good as when I was a kid. This is kind of what it is like when you end up in “The Friend Zone.” When you meet that special woman, it’s great when you first become friends. It is fun to hang out with her, plus there is always the hope that it will go to the next level, and you will have a relationship with her. But, when that moment comes where you get “the talk” and learn that you are stuck being “just friends”, the dream ends. It is still nice to be friends and hang out, but it will never be the same, because the dream of “making the Majors,” so to speak, is gone.


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