No Joy in Mudville

My baseball team is on pace for 115 losses. Out of 162 games played.

Ouch.

The players get it. Absent the confidence boost that comes with winning, Salvy splashes now would merely revert to their essence: taking a cold shower with your clothes on.

Trade Moustakas to the Yankees for a couple of warm AA bodies. Ship Merrifield to the Phils for a bucket of balls and a used fungo bat. He’ll look smashing in a red oven mitt.

We’ll go to a half-dozen games at the K this year. At least there’s the ballpark delectables, silver-lining while exiting onto the Manchester Trafficway. Drown my sorrows in a 6th inning tub of heavily “buttered” Topsy’s popcorn. Except I’m on a low-carb diet this summer. So, I sit there feeling sorry for myself with my large lukewarm Aquafina and reminisce.

Salvy scalding a breaking ball down the left field line in the bottom of the 12th just a couple of minutes into October 2014 and The Greatest Baseball Game Ever Played. My son and I at Game 6 of the ’14 WS, hollering at Giants reliever Jean Machi, who could use a little low-carb his own bad self, “HEY MACHI! ONE MAN TO A PAIR OF PANTS OUT THERE!”

Alcides Escobar hitting the first pitch to the home team in the first home game of the ’15 World Series for an inside-the-park home run. Hoz rolling the dice, scampering home in the Queens night after Lucas Duda pulled a Bill Buckner.

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I’m jolted back to Mudville as Alex Gordon strikes out. Again. There is no joy.

Some of the jumbotron spin is just laughable: “Lucas Duda (of all people) is currently ranked 7th in the American League for loogies hawked in the left side of the batters’ box on Tuesday nights when it’s raining!”

Used to be when a team lost like this, they’d fire the manager and bring in Billy Martin. Used to be when a team was mired in this abyss, the skipper would purposefully pick a fight, turn his ballcap around, get all up in an umpire’s grill and get tossed, firing up the crowd and the team. Replay has removed the underlying premise for the argument. Ned Yost pantomiming the headphones. Yawn. We have sacrificed emotion for accuracy. Not convinced it’s worth it.

Especially when we’re 5-21 in June and oh for July.

Rex Hudler’s contractually obligated sunniness wears thin. Burch Smith’s stuff is not “amazing.” It’s marginally adequate for the market. On Tuesday nights when it’s raining.  

My tendencies in circumstances like these are to descend into the pit of cynicism. Fortunately, my wife, who should be the poster child for team loyalty, pulls me back up.

I think of the three teams that entered MLB as expansion clubs the same year we did. The Padres have appeared in two World Series and lost both of them. The Pilots/Brewers went to one and lost. Big goose egg for the Expos/Nats. My team, on the other hand, has been to four Fall Classics and won two of them. Viewed from the nosebleeds, it could be worse.

I was #raisedroyal and will play the long game. A friend on social media said losing in 2018 is a down payment on contending in 2023. I actually think we’ll contend in 2022. My hopes and dreams are pinned on the likes of Nicky Lopez and Seuly Matias. I wanna see Brady Singer bust ’em inside at Wilmington and Northwest Arkansas.

Meantime, it’s like visiting a sick friend in the hospital.