Archive for October, 2010

Baseball On, News Strikes Out

Wednesday, October 6th, 2010 © by Susan Swartz

I’ve been wishing that baseball would last into November, at least until after the midterm elections. I’ve come to rely on a regular three hour dose of lip-biting stomach-churning high anxiety that makes me temporarily forget the gaming going on in Washington and Wall Street.

I am not a big time baseball fan but more of a rookie rooter. I hang out on the periphery. I don’t know standings. Although baseball is the only sport I like to watch and I do live in GO GIANTS country, I don’t wear fan gear. Orange doesn’t go with my complexion and I would hate to invite someone to come up and start talking stats with me.

This season we did take in a day game. Went over by ferry, stopped into a waterfront dive for a cheap breakfast, heavy on the Tabasco sauce, sat in the sun (a rare summer day), near the field, close enough to see Pat the Bat’s dimples. Beautiful day. I can’t even remember who we played but we high-fived a bunch of strangers.

Then I caught the fever. I needed baseball for my health.

If I could program my brain to baseball I could suspend the other things that make me crazy. I know that’s hardly a new idea, that sports are a great distraction.

But I started to count on those nights when baseball was on TV at the same time as the news shows. Sure, I could record the news to watch when the game was over but I have this rule that I can’t go to bed with disaster dancing in my head even if it’s delivered by a very smart woman whose politics I share and who wears a charcoal blazer and maybe only a bit of eyeliner and who is the least loud of the loudmouths.

Some of our fellow Americans have shown themselves to be so nasty, paranoid, cruel, greedy and corrupt – what’s this now about banks evicting people without just cause? – that by comparison, baseball is simple and pure. I know some of these guys make an obscene amount of money, enough, if they wanted, to even try to buy the governorship of California.

But they do show up for work, put on their cute uniforms and sometimes those handsome long socks and they spit and they chew and they slam their water cups on the ground and go sit in a corner alone when they’ve messed up. And the fans go nuts, because we can relate in our own small way to brilliant moves followed by no-hitters.

There was a time when I could follow a game while doing email and reading a book, looking up only when the guy at the other end of the couch suddenly yelped.

Now the fever has taken me and I am single minded, wild-eyed and red-faced. I ignore the phone, put down all work and eat in the living room.

But I have learned that one can care too much. Life is a two-way street and sometimes the cure is worse than the complaint. There was the recent day when the magic was taking too long to happen. My husband started digging through the papers, looking for the section in the New York Times that is full of analysis and opinion and very little hope. He was so down in the baseball dumps, he thought it might cheer him to read about the latest collapse in western civilization.

Fortunately the Giants won the division and the news slipped back into second place. Save my seat. We’re dining with Tim.