Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Pinch Hitting For Love

Quick. What begins with infatuation, excitement of the newness, hope springs eternal and eventual love? What reaches the middle point of the season with comfortability and acceptance, but as it continues, begins to crumble under pressure and strife? And then, as the six-month point arrives, what fails to make the playoffs, so to speak, and eventually is put on waivers or traded?

If you said baseball, you're a fan.

If you said 99 percent of all romantic relationships, you're a realist.

Equating the love cycle to American's pastime makes it easier to understand the process, I've found. Why do you think guys back in high school always referred to their making out prowess to the accorded bases they reached? The popular guys, the sluggers, would come to school bragging about making it “to third base.” Me, on the other hand, seemed like every time I stepped to the plate with some potential girlfriend, I'd be pulled for a pinch hitter. Or, if I was actually afforded a chance to swing the bat, the manager would flash the sacrifice bunt sign my way. 

Yes, to continue the baseball as love metaphor, I've struck out a few times.

Relationships start with the same optimism that fans of really bad teams have. On the very first day of every season, Minnesota is always tied for first in the American League Central with their 0-0 record. But, like love, they play the game and soon they are mired in a losing season.

And breakups are akin to sending a player to the minors. I've been told I was too fat and too broke and had too sarcastic of an attitude before. I sure wasn't the five-tool player of love. That girl's scouting report must have had me at no hit, no field.

So, she dumped me for a boyfriend to be named later and I was optioned out. Sadly, no one wanted someone with abandonment issues and no money. I was placed on the 60-day Disabled List and then sent down for a rehab assignment with the minors.

But the game is grand. Each year, despite finishing poorly, Minnesota, and Cleveland, and Arizona and Florida and, yes, even Houston, all field teams again. And, we all try at relationships anew as well. There's always another season and there's always that chance. Why, Minnesota won two World Series, after all. Hope does spring eternal on occasion.

So, even if you are cut, traded for someone with more money or who is more fit or sent on that rehab assignment, keep trying. A decent relationship is elusive, but so are no-hitters and players who hit for the cycle. But it happens and it keeps us heading to the ball park on the chance that we may see something of the sort.

Play ball! And maybe some day the manager will let you swing away.

No comments:

Post a Comment