What You Do When You Should Know Better

ST. LOUIS - SEPTEMBER 5: Albert Pujols #5 of the St. Louis Cardinals returns to the dugout after striking out against the Cincinnati Reds at Busch Stadium on September 5 2010 in St. Louis Missouri. The Cardinals beat the Reds 4-2. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

Tired. 

I am tired. 

No, that's not quite right. Tired suggests a simple condition of being low on energy, something simple rest should be able to cure. Tired isn't quite right. 

Exhausted. 

I am exhausted. 

No, that's not quite right either. Exhausted can be one of two things, and neither of them are quite what I mean. Exhausted can be just a more acute form of tired, or it can be a complete loss of resources due to overuse. Again, not quite right. 

Fatigued. 

Hmm...fatigue. You know, I think that might just be the one. Fatigue. Yup, that's it! 

I am fatigued by this team. Beaten down by watching them lose game after game in maddening fashion, against teams who should be extremely beatable. When you lose to the Milwaukee Brewers 9-7 you can accept it. You certainly don't like it, and you're probably upset with your pitching, but you have to admit that's the way the Brewers are built to beat you. They have a lineup full of power, full of damage, and there are going to be those days when they just knock you around and outscore you. It happens. It's the same as getting shut down by the pitching of the Giants or Padres

But when you lose to the Milwaukee Brewers and Chris Narveson, of all people, by the score of 4-2, it's an entirely different sort of frustrating. As much as I like Chris Narveson, who I always thought should have gotten a shot to fill in at the back of the Cards' rotation when he was still here, he is exactly the sort of pitcher you have to be able to take advantage of. When your worst starting pitcher goes out against a lineup like the Brewers' and gives you a decent chance to win the game, and you look out at the opposing pitcher and see Chris Narveson, that's a game you have to win. 

I am fatigued by waiting for this season to be over. I've never been one of those people who starts looking forward to football season just because things aren't going well with the baseball team, but I find myself doing just that this year. I long to follow a team who doesn't hurt me so badly night after night. 

And yet, I can't stop watching. I still check the score faithfully on the phone when I'm out and about, still find myself switching on the ballgame every night at 7:15, no matter how little I want to. It's a deathwatch for a loved one, and unending wait for the end that seems as if it will never come. They're not getting better, but the wait just goes on and on. You find yourself in quiet moments hoping for a call to say it's over so you can finally exhale. The thought shocks you, and you do your best to banish it away, but you can't unwish it. I am fatigued from being tethered to this team I have no hope for and yet can't just walk away from. 

I wonder at times if fandom isn't closer to habit, or maybe even addiction, than we like to admit. Sure, we can stop any time we like, but isn't it odd how we all come back anyway? I had dinner at a friend's house last night, an impromptu get-together of grilled burgers and tater tots, and we sat and watched Arrested Development on DVD while we ate. There was no mention of the ballgame, no thought of turning it on. It was, to be honest, kind of nice not to worry about it. But as soon as I left I got in my car, picked up the phone to get the boxscore, and flipped the dial over to AM, just in time to hear Kyle Lohse walk the pitcher leading off an inning. "Well this is bullshit," I thought to myself, and switched the dial over to KDHX. I made it almost seven minutes before I went back to the game. 

Maybe it isn't addiction. Maybe that's just how love works. 

I don't have any analysis to offer you today, no big point to make. The best I can give you is that image of a man driving in his car, pretending not to care what happens to his team, and lasting less than ten minutes before he has to go back and find out. 

The Baron's Playlist for the 8th of September, 2010 

"Hey Boy" - Magic Kids

"Juveniles" - The Walkmen

"Paralyzed" - Starlight Mints

"Classic Cars" - Bright Eyes

"What Ever Happened to Corey Haim?" - The Thrills

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