Apparently the St. Louis Cardinals are in the baseball postseason. Again. The men where I work have talked about little else for three weeks, each with his favorite teams, his own opinions, and, of course, his predictions.
It is a major league yawn.
I was going to say it is a waste of time, but it’s really not. They are interested, involved, happy. And, at least, it diverts them from video games, their main topic of conversation the other 330 days of the year.
None of these guys were alive when I first found myself in that same place, sweating out a pennant race, swelling with pride when the Cards beat the Yankees in the 1964 World Series.
My team went to the Series three times that decade, beating the Red Sox in 1967 and losing to the Tigers in 1968. Those men were my heroes: Gibson, Brock, Flood, Cha Cha, Maxvill (my glove had his autograph), Carlton, even Roger Maris. Roger Maris!
If we weren’t playing ball, we were talking about it or listening to a game. As I grew, I listened faithfully through the lean years, then rejoiced in new heroes of the 1980s, winning it all again in 1982, then losing to Don Denkinger in 1985, and the noisy Twins in 1987.
Then I stopped. I quit listening one day in 1988, cold turkey. I was watching a game – no sound, Jack Buck on the radio. My kids were playing outside the window, uninterested in professional sports. I turned it off to go play with them, and haven’t bothered since.
The Cardinals have been in several World Series since then, but I would have to look it up to know what years or who they played, or, for the most part, who their players were.
I don’t miss it, which would surprise you if you knew what baseball meant to us. Nor do I frown on people who are so absorbed these days. Baseball is a great game, and a mighty fine pastime, too. It’s just not mine.
World Series program image borrowed from here, Sports Illustrated cover from here. Adam Wainwright from here. Thanks.