It’s been about a month since I documented any of my thoughts on this conversion process. Mainly I’ve been sick. And eating pizza. (I love pizza!) But I also had a big (big!) realization. I am squarely in my season of Schrodinger’s Cat!!! This damn cat just keeps on coming up in my life – it won’t go away! (For those unfamiliar: Schrodinger’s Cat suggests there can co-exist two simultaneously opposing realities. The cat in the box is both dead AND alive.)
With spring training beginning, I was struck with paralizing apathy. The pictures out of Ft. Myers are familiar and warm. I’ve been there a couple times and have many fond memories of watching baseball, talking with the players, getting in an argument with Keith Foulke, and going to the beach. The stories coming out of the Fort this month are also familiar. The beer and chicken stuff just won’t stop. It’d be funny if it weren’t symptomatic of a serious problem. (Kind of like loud farts are funny until you realize it’s a symptom of Crohn’s disease.)
The pictures of Bradenton don’t do anything for me. I have no history with this team. I have no insitutional hope with this team. I have no shared failure with the fan base. I’m just a bandwagon fan. These players have no meaning, yet – or at least very little meaning. And there’s no gossip! No stories of the frat house rentals on the beach, the players get-togethers at Perkins- none of that. (Remember, I’m detoxing. Cold turkey is a tough road…)
While I was contemplating giving in… While I was considering the path of least resistance… While I thought about the absurdity of the labels I’ve received around these parts (‘traitor’, ‘defector’, ‘not a real fan’, ‘rash’, etc.)… the cat came back… Aha! Schrodinger keeps letting the damn cat back into my life. The dual reality or my current condition is striking. I am both a Red Sox fan AND not a Red Sox fan. I have 30-some years of daily attention that cannot be forgotten or ignored. And at the same time, I have about 5 years of hard questions to answer about this current ownership. The Pirates are my out. But I don’t think I’m fully out, yet. The duplicity of my condition is complex, but it cannot stop me from acting on my own behalf.
On the Pirates side of things, I don’t have much at all. I have a hat. I have a few new internet friends. I have a really interesting team to follow with loads of young talent. And I have a bunch of free agents that say they won’t play for ‘my’ team. (TANGENT: What’s up with that?! Edwin Jackson turning down more cash?! Roy Oswalt just saying no?! It really emphasizes the large and unique challenge this Pirates ownership faces. The complaint- ‘just DO something!’ doesn’t hold a lot of water. They are doing things- amazing things- making inroads where they can. But it’ll be some years before a top free agent seriously considers Pittsburgh, it seems…)
One thing the Pirates aren’t doing is force-feeding me radioactive cat food. That’s a job reserved for John Henry, et al. I wouldn’t be in this purgatory- this state of Red Sox AND no Red Sox- if John Henry didn’t make being a fan intolerable. Obviously, not every fan has reacted this way. But the choices this ownership forces me to reconcile is no different than eating poison on my pizza. (Remember, I love pizza.) So while Mr. Henry & Co. keep delivering cyanide pies to my own little cat box in the world, Mr. Nutting & friends simply keep the door open. I can come and go as I like. But while the door is open, I continue to have an opportunity to redefine who I am and what part baseball plays in my life. Thank you Bob, for not trapping me with a radioactive beaker.
IN OTHER NEWS:
The people get it! Liverpool ‘football’ fans are tweeting with anger after John Henry’s racist and violet soccer team shamed a tradition on his watch. His obsession with PR has been exposed on two continents and in two different sports. Just goes to show, commodities traders have different priorities than you and I.
And just as I suspected – Tito gets it! On ESPN radio he called it for what it is. Of course the beer wasn’t the problem. The team stunk. But the PR lies continue…