We’ve all seen the crowd shots, a guy in face-paint and crazy hat, hoisting a beer and yelling “It’s the World Series, Baby!” And then there’s the tortured soul, white-knuckled hands clutched, face twisted in anxiety, awaiting the next calamity. I’m of the latter variety. I follow baseball with great enthusiasm from day-one of spring training to the final out of the regular season. But come October, I’m a recluse that spot-checks scores and turns the light out just before the grand slam. There are sisters — lovely people, really — who emerge only during the playoffs. They’re excited and full of positivity. One approached me asking, “Did you see the home run last night? Oh, we all just screeched!” Screeched. Her word. Glad I missed it. Glad for me, glad for them because — spoiler alert — I would have squelched their joy by informing them the Soxs wouldn’t hold a one-run lead.
I can’t quite figure out what happens to me. It isn’t just “gotta win.” Perhaps it’s not wanting to face disappointment, caring too much, or something else entirely. I am sure of one thing. On November 1st, I hope Wally the Green-Monster and my store-bought baseball remain on my desk for a week of celebration. If not, I’ll tuck them away and in a burst of renewed faith proclaim with conviction, “There’s always next year.”