Sunday, July 31, 2011

I Love Baseball, But...

by Leann

I have been a baseball fan all my life. From the time I was a child, I listened to games on the radio with my dad. When games started being televised, we were always thrilled when "our" team, the Chicago White Sox were on that Saturday telecast. My first live sporting event? A White Sox game when we visited my grandmother in Chicago. My favorite player? Luis Aparicio. Okay, I'm giving away my age now, and you probably have no idea who that is, but that's how long I've been a fan. That's not the point of this blog, though.

We moved to Houston a long time ago and for the first time, I was able to truly enjoy a sport by regularly attending live games with my family. We had so much fun and I grew to love the Astros. If we weren't at the games, we listened or watched. We never missed one. For the last few years, the team has been losing. I kept watching, though. They are my team, after all.

The process of trading away all our good players began last season. My head understands the logic. We need to build for the future, get back to winning. But my heart doesn't understand at all. Our second baseman who retired three or four years ago--Craig Biggio--played his entire career in Houston. Twenty great years. That doesn't happen anymore and probably never will. It was the end of an era.

Last night, they traded my favorite player for "future" great players--as if it's possible to know they will be great. I understand it's a business. It is BIG business. For me, it drives home how the professional sports world is all about money, it is not about the fans. I am a sentimental fool, I know, but I feel the loss completely now that they've traded away our only All Star. I don't know the names of the people on "my" team anymore. I feel sad about that.

So come on college sports season!! Hurry up and get here. At least I can just enjoy the football and basketball seasons without that sense of attachment--and the fear that my sports family will leave without me getting to say goodbye. Any of you sports fans out there? If you're not, what "losses" are especially difficult as you age? For me, as I see the world change, I realize yup, here's one less thing I can enjoy. Gosh, sometimes I just hate it.

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17 comments:

Min said...

Oh hell.

I'm a Royals fan. The ROYALS.

Our talent is scouting bloody good players, but we don't have the money to keep them. And since there's no such thing as loyalty anymore (nobody "dances with the one who brung you" these days), they're out the door as soon as a bigger paycheque comes calling.

We "raised" Johnny Damon, Carlos Beltran, and Zack Greinke. Not a single one of those players are with us now, but every one has started a bidding war. Oy.

Fiona L. Woods said...

Seattle Mariners fan here. (Yes, they're having a terrible year, but I'm still a fan.)

The "good old days" are indeed gone in baseball. Here in Seattle, it ended when Edgar Martinez retired after playing his entire career here. Edgar was our DH and he never considered going anywhere else. We haven't had that kind of loyalty since.

Used to be baseball, mom and apple pie. I'm still here making apple pie, but baseball just isn't the same.

Lori Cimino said...

I used to watch Football faithfully every Sunday. And then there came a time when I realized this wasnt about the love of the game anymore, this was about money. My favorite baseball team in the Yankees. and that mostly has to do with Derek Jeter who is from Kalamazoo. He is a hometown hero around here. He is a nice guy who grew up loving the game and still does. I know he is paid mega millions but I still see the passion in him. As long as he continues that, I will follow him where ever he goes.

Leann Sweeney said...

Good to know I am not alone, though I am still saddened that we can't keep a competitive team on the field. We are the worst team in baseball right now, but I know KC and Seattle have had the same problems. it's all about money and not the fans. Sigh.

Jen Daiker said...

I'm an Astros fan! More or less because I live in Houston! Coming from Iowa there isn't a major team but we've always adored a good game at the stadium!!! Hot dogs, beer, and yelling can't be beat!!!

Fabulous blog! Love the name!!

Leann Sweeney said...

Thanks Jen! I do love a good baseball game!

ev said...

Living here in upstate NY, I am a Red Sox fan, NOT a Yankees fan. It's actually a split between fans in the area. Amusingly so.

I gave up on pro sports because it is all about buying the best team and nothing else.

Syracuse is my home town college team although I do now root for UAlbany and Siena here when they play. But even some of those players are getting attitudes like they are privileged.

And you're right- it's all about the money. Which is why I admire Jim Boheim out of SU so much, they are the only team he has coached since he became one. He played college ball there. They have tried to lure him away but his loyalty is to SU. Talk about job security.

Leann Sweeney said...

Well, Ev, I am from upstate NY, went to school in Syracuse and my husband graduated from S.U. We LOVE the Syracuse Orange, love Boeheim and my husband actually played intramural basketball at S.U. with him. :-)We bleed orange at our house!!

Dru said...

I'm a Yankees fan and I recently went to a game and I spent more money on the food and drinks for seats in the nose-bleed section and even those weren't cheap.

But I still love baseball.

Janet said...

Lifelong SF Giants fan here. We're doning well now, but as a lifelong follower, I know it's just a question of time. Roger Angell once referred to watching young Giants stars as "anticipatory nostalgia."

Barbara said...

Even though I've been a Cubs fan for many years, I still like you and follow your posts. :) I too have pretty much given up pro sports but I do love college sports. I'm a Rutgers alum so we root for RU, but we live near Binghamton Univ. so we buy season tickets to their basketball games (men and women). Love college football and baseball too. We've been to several games at SU, our nephew is an alum.

We go to Phila. several times a year and I must admit the Phillies are growing on me. Gasp!

Leann Sweeney said...

I like the Cubs now, probably better than the White Sox, so we're not frenemies! :-) But the Phillies now have two of my favorite players and it will be hard to watch them play for another team. Just this morning we traded away our other All-Star player, a great center fielder. I am officially done watching baseball for the season but I am looking forward to the college sports beginning.

Melissa said...

i like the cubs too. :) i live in dc now and will be going to my first nationals game soon.

Leann Sweeney said...

There is nothing more fun than going to a game. I'd love to visit Wrigley Field one day.

Chaplain Jan said...

I've been an Atlanta Braves fan for 30 years or so. And I think you're right that we fans will never see players remain with the same team again. It's not just the players wanting more money, but the owners wanting a winning team at any cost or the cheapest players they can get or players who will draw the biggest crowds or ....
And I'm not sure that all the moving around is good for the players' game. It seems to me that players who are frequently moved (whether their idea or management's) seem to "burn out" much quicker than those who stay (or stayed) with the same team.
I think if you want real fun at a baseball game - go to a minor league game. I lived in Dayton Ohio for 5 years & loved going to the Dayton Dragons' games. The games are always fun. And they've set a record for sold-out seasons! So, check out the closest minor league team for some enjoyable, affordable baseball!

Chris said...

I hate when teams do that! We were Sac Kings fans (in basketball of course) for years, even through their horrid years, then they did well about 10 years ago...they had some good players and were starting to gel...then they started trading all of their players away :( We have since moved, so we just follow the local team (Utah Jazz).

Now we watch MLS Soccer. Seriously look into it, it is fun, fast paced game! Go Salt Lake Real :) (Pronounced Ray-Al)

Lynda said...

I so totally understand this Leann. For years I was one of the biggest Kings basketball fans around. This was the late 90's - early 2000's when the "family" included Peja, Vlade, Mike Bibby, Bobby Jackson, Doug Cristie, et al. They were like a family to the fans (and to each other) and they played so well together - no egos. Even people who weren't Kings fans admitted that when the Kings were in their passing game there was nothing like it (their defense was a different issue, but we forgave them - afterall, they were family). Each year they came "close" to winning the championship, but never quite got there. Then the owners got greedy and traded them all off. As a result, the Kings have been at the bottom of the league ever since and the traded players never really found their place on other teams. So sad to let money break up a family. Like you, I no longer know the names of the players on "my" team. I don't watch or go to the games much any more - not because they're losing but because I just don't feel a bond with the players. Very sad...