It is mercifully an off day today for the St. Louis Cardinals. I do not really have any type of perspective-changing analysis — nothing we haven’t discussed a dozen times already. I thought it might be nice to change things up a little. This weird and frustrating season has sort of opened my eyes to how my baseball fandom has changed and maybe grown as I have and I thought this might be a nice time to chat about that.
I am about to confess my age here, though really it is not quite the revelation I could try to pretend it is — several long-time readers remember when I began commenting regularly on the site a little over ten years ago. Many of you probably guessed what the 93 stands for in lil_scooter93.
This year I turned 30. It is a decent milestone in a person’s life — to exit your 20s. Personally, I had felt ready to be in my thirties probably since I was... oh, 14 maybe, so it was not something I resisted. Aging is a blessing, and [rocks back and forth in a rocking chair while looking out across the lake in the distance] if there is one thing I have learned now, it is to treasure the moments you have.
Something I have not treasured though is the Cardinals stinkin’ like rotten eggs. (How do you like that greasy transition, eh?) Life is too short to watch something that makes you unhappy and so I have taken to switching to something else if the game is not going well (if I do not have to recap it, that is, then I suffer through, for you all). Then if I check the recap the next morning and they won I get to be pleasantly surprised and if they lost, well hey, at least I did something that I enjoyed instead. (I recently bought a Nintendo Switch — I have not played a video game in probably 15 years so I was worried I might regret the decision, but I am having a blast. I am playing Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. It is just such a pretty game. I just started playing and finally got my man Link that parasail. Now we are ready to soar.)
The fact of it is I cannot recall a time the Cardinals have lost this much. Sometimes I tend to exaggerate, but I went through the last thirty years of Cardinals baseball just to be sure. The Cardinals currently have a .391 winning percentage. That is the lowest winning percentage they have had to start June 16 in the last 30 years. The next lowest was .426 back in 1995 and then .438 in 2007. Then there is the nature in which they are losing too — the Cardinals are 7-16 in one-run games. Last season in one-run games they were 26-17. It’s tough to watch.
Part of growing up I think is learning to more dispassionately follow sports, at least it has been for me. I remember summers spending every evening watching the games, staying up into the wee hours of the morning to see if Michael Wacha would win his debut after a rain delay (he did not — that was the Mitch Boggs blown save). I just cannot do that now — I am too tired. I still enjoy baseball, but the only thing that is going to ruin my day are things I can control. Which do. Often.
Sometimes bad baseball is better than no baseball though. Sometimes you just really want to watch men hit spherical objects with sticks. Even if the Cards are getting blown out, there is something just inherently nice about putting a game on during a hot Sunday afternoon and eating an ice cream sandwich in front of the oscillating fan. It is just pleasant — that feeling of shutting your brain off and watching some of the best players in the world do things only a handful of people can do. The outcome really doesn’t matter — at least not in a cosmic sense. It is just a thing you can focus your attention on for a few hours that isn’t your own problems. No matter what the Cardinals will always bring me that.