I know what it’s like to suffer. I’ve broadcast for teams that were 20-plus games under .500. I’ve broadcast games where we’ve lost by 15 runs or 30 points and then had to sit in silence on a bus for four hours. I’ve also had to live in Virginia. Yeah, let that sink in.
My current cross to bear is a long-distance relationship. I met an exuberant, brilliant and stunning woman in my travels. I got to spend nearly every day with her for six months and then, in a flash, it was gone. She was back in her native Chicago and I was back where the magic happens in New Jersey.
Sidenote: If you had to compile a list of the top five cities a baseball fan could want their significant other to be from, it has to be: New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Boston and St. Louis. I like the three major cities with two teams and two historically crazed fan bases. Correct me if I’m wrong.
Since August, we’ve done the monthly trips to meet, but it can’t compare to the seemingly banal everyday activities that are really the most joyous. You drive yourself crazy just thinking about the fun times you took for granted, the fact you don’t see them every day and how you don’t get to talk to them all that much. You can tweet at them or check Facebook and reminisce, but nothing is like seeing their smile or hearing their voice. I guess you’re thinking, “Suck it up, crybaby. I want sports and man stuff to read about.”
But let me explain, my life’s little misery got me thinking that the MLB offseason is like a long-distance relationship. Seriously, it makes sense; think about it.
Every day from March to September, you get to spend nearly every day with your team. You go to work, rush home in excitement, make dinner and plop on the couch, then turn on the TV to see them. You laugh with the broadcasting team, cheer when they win and say how much you love them. The next day, they piss you off and you just walk away when they’re down seven runs after two innings. Of course, you check your phone to see if they did anything, but you have to stick to your guns. The next morning, you get up, watch SportsCenter and apologize for not being patient with them. You both know you love each other, but everyone butts heads. You go out with your buddies and invite your team onto the local bar’s TV. It’s best to split your attention evenly, but, really, your focus is on them. You’re hoping your friends like the team, too, because you know this is a special team. And you can tell how much you care for them. Plus, it’s always more fun — and much easier to deal with — than if your friends like your team.
Sometimes there is PDA — not to be confused with PEDs — and you talk about how wonderful your team is, especially after a few beers. At times, you get upset thinking about the end of the season, but you try to not focus on it too much because it’s so far away. That is until you wake up one morning and it’s the pennant race.
You have one more month together and you’re praying you make the playoffs. You both know what it’s like to not make the playoffs, it stings. You try not to think of such a devastating thing, but it crosses your mind and stresses you out. Then you blink and World Series is over. You think, “This won’t be so bad; it’s just a few months.” Plus, you’ve got free agency, arbitration hearings and the winter meetings. Before you know it, it’s time for pitchers and catchers to report. But this is where you’re so very wrong.
Sure, the first week or two isn’t too bad. Your team didn’t win the World Series, so screw those other fans. Yeah, you can congratulate them, but who cares if they got a ring — unless you’re invited to the parade. If you get invited to the parade, then that’s a different story.
In the first few weeks of the offseason, you take this time to catch up with family and friends. You get to meet your friend’s teams. They seem cool, but you know they don’t compare to yours. It’s nice to see your friend care about this team because you were never really sure which team was their favorite. Although you are genuinely excited for your friend since his team is there and, in season, you can’t help but be a little jealous. You understand why your team is in the offseason, they need to rest, get things together and see their families too. That doesn’t change how much you wish they were in-season.
Now, it’s a few months deep and you got to see your team at the winter meetings, you love hearing news of what they’ve improved on and how next year is going to be amazing. Your team sends you videos on Twitter of what they’re up to or good times from last season. That helps you get through the days, but, really, you’re counting down until their scarcity disappears. Selfishly, you wish the days by as if you had Adam Sandler’s remote in his incredibly heartfelt film “Click.”
Finally, the time comes and they’re on their way here. And it feels like … well, I don’t know how to describe it. I’ve got a few months until my team comes back, I’m not even sure when pitchers and catchers report. I do know I’ll be able to see Yankee Stadium in December and that’s all I’m looking forward to at this moment. You should check back with me in a month or two and I’ll let you know what it’s like to have my team back in town.