“What the hell is going on with you?” – A statement from me to myself.
The Kansas City Royals are budding contenders, right? I’ve been writing those words in articles and saying them aloud to friends for almost a year now. It has become second nature for me to just start rattling on about how Eric Hosmer is going to be a star and the bullpen is one of the best in baseball and they can overcome a mediocre pitching staff and blah blah blah. I can say it and convince others, but I don’t believe I’ve convinced myself.
I should be stoked for the upcoming 2012 season for all the reasons you are aware of. This should be a good team, this should be a fun team. But I can’t get excited. I’ve thus far been unable to embrace what might come. Which prompts the statement at the top of the post.
I’ve been a die-hard Royals fan since birth. I’ve lived through the 90’s and the 2000’s and the 2010’s and always retained a sense of optimism. I’ve always been the guy that people could come to and ask “Why should I like the Royals this year?”. Surprisingly, I’ve always had answers:
“Kevin Appier is one of the best pitchers in baseball.”
“They have these young guys Carlos Beltran and Carlos Febles who are going to be superstars.”
“Kyle Snyder is going to be a rookie sensation!”
My enthusiasm has rarely wavered and my optimism has known no bounds. But now, suddenly on the verge of what might be something truly special, I’m hesitant. Have waves of constant losing eroded my baseball soul until there is little more than a nub remaining? Has writing, which requires objective observation made me empty? Or has the constant drive to find information and post about it just worn me out?
The truth as always is complex. I believe that my time spent analyzing baseball has begun to create a zen-like state of baseball awareness. Things just are. And for as long as I can remember baseball fandom has been one which is synonymous with losing. I’ve accepted it. I’ve almost welcomed it. I can list a number of things about losing which actually make being a baseball fan better.
1. Tickets to games are cheap
2. Tickets to games are plentiful
3. The Spring Training complex is much easier to get in and out of
4. I can’t prove it, but I think it creates better baseball writers
I’ve combined this acceptance of losing with a crash-course in baseball analysis. Knowing that there are significant elements of luck in baseball and that players value can be measured and compared has opened my eyes. Many people fight this realization. They just can’t allow the beautiful game to be reduced to 1’s and 0’s. I get it. It can leave you feeling a bit dead inside. It’s almost as if learning that Picasso traced his paintings. I disagree, but I see it. But this awareness has allowed me to objectively see the Royals for who and what they are.
With that knowledge, I should be optimistic. I know this team has flaws, but there are real objective reasons to believe they should be a contender for the playoffs. I know this. I’ve written this. However, the intersection of my analysis, my heart and most importantly my history won’t let me process it.
“What does it mean?” – Me, again to myself.
The Royals are actually and objectively possible contenders. What am I supposed to do with that information. My experience has no way to deal with it. Getting excited has proved in the past to be an exercise in futility. Believing this is the same as the past 20 years conflicts with my analysis. So I’m stuck. I’m caught in the middle of a psychological impasse. My reaction has been to let my brain do my writing and talking, while my heart has covered my eyes, plugged my ears and screamed ” LA LA LA LA LA LA I CANT HEAR YOU LA LA LA LA”. It’s left me to keep baseball and the Royals at arm’s length for now. It has almost pushed me into apathy.
What both sides need is more information. They need games. They need to see the standings. Only once the results start to stream in can both sides be placated. For now though, both sides are standing their ground.
“Is it baseball season yet?” – Me, in unison.
– Nick Scott