You know, it's funny; I feel like I write something just about every year right around this exact same time about how depressing and how frustrating that particular year's iteration of the St. Louis Cardinals is. I remember in 2011 I wrote a top prospects list right around the middle of August, just because the major league club felt so very hopeless. I'm fairly certain I did the same thing the next season, as well; the thrill of the previous year's miracle run and the champagne finish didn't keep me from feeling ready to give up on the 2012 club right around the middle of August as well.
Maybe it's just that I find August so very depressing. It's the summer version of how most people feel about February, I'm sure; it's the end of a season you just desperately wish you would end, already, and it feels as if you're never going to get on to the next, better thing. February is the long, dark tunnel out of winter, of brutal cold and darkness at 4 pm, and spring will just never, ever come. August is the last long slog of miserable heat, the most humid of all imagined hells, and the orange and gold majesty of late September and early October never seems so far as it does barely a month before, when you open your door and it's already 87 degrees at 6:30 am, and the buzzing locusts and sticky, oppressively thick air threaten to drown you.
Of course, this actually has been a remarkably mild August so far, so I don't really have any climatic issues to bitch about this year, at least not so far. But the baseball? Well, it's mid-August, and the Cardinals feel hopeless. I'm probably imagining things, but it feels like this is about where we are every year around this time.
Last night's game was as miserable a game as I can recall seeing in a while. Honestly, I'll probably not watch another game this week, just because it's so frustrating right now. Maybe on the weekend I'll go to the bar with my friend Luke and watch; at least if the game is crap you can always drink. I'll check the scores, of course; I won't be able to help myself, and honestly, I'll probably still listen to just as much sports talk radio as usual, as many baseball podcasts as usual, and when I get in the car in the evenings, I'll still flip over to Mike Shannon, at least to listen for ten minutes or so, which is usually the amount of time it takes to get a score mentioned. But I feel like I need at least a few days of not watching this team, you know?
I don't have any great big bit of analysis this morning. I had an idea to write about the offense of the 2015 club, and what, if any, upgrades can be made, where the improvement could or should come from, things like that. But...eh. There will be time for that later.
So what I want to know from you is: how do you deal with a particularly rough, frustrating patch of the season? Or even, horror of horrors, a baseball team that just isn't very good? Are you they type who, like me, will occasionally decide it's really best to give the games a miss for awhile? Or do you soldier on, watching every game no matter what, perhaps humming Tammy Wynette's "Stand by Your Man" to yourself some nights?
The thing is, I know that for most of you who come here on a daily basis, baseball is a fairly big deal. Obvious, sure, particularly in light of the specific type of people who tend to read this website the most (or at least the type I tend to think read it the most, anyway); casual fans probably don't have a whole lot of use for VEB, to be perfectly frank. But even so, I would imagine there's a wide range in terms of how each of us relates to the game day in, day out, and I'm curious to hear your experiences.
So that's my question for the day to you, dear readers and friends: what do you do when the team is just painful to watch? Or, if not painful, then at least supremely uninspiring and maybe even a little depressing. I probably talk a better game about unplugging and detaching myself from the team that what actually happens in practice, but even so, I really do have to at least take a break now and then when things aren't going well. No one will ever write a little soliloquy about me and the Cardinals walking down a beach, and when they were at their lowest, there was only one set of footprints because I was carrying them. There would be only one set of footprints, sure, but that's because I just flat-out abandoned them. Even my masochism has limits.
What about you?