Without stating too much of the obvious, the Baltimore Orioles were ousted from the postseason last night, on an 11th-inning, three-run homer off the bat of Edwin Encarnacion. One swing was able to put an end to the most up-and-down seasons of Orioles baseball I’ve ever witnessed. More importantly though, one swing took the hearts of all Baltimore sports fans, and crushed them, for lack of better terms.
The anticipation was high all day on Tuesday, and I think it’s safe to say the anxiety levels of the majority of Orioles fans exceeded max capacity. I know mine did. As the game progressed, specifically for me, my anxiety level only got higher, and eventually turned into a heartbreak by midnight.
I can recall a moment last night, during a big spot in the bottom of the 9th, when I was getting antsy, swaying back-and-forth more than normal, my wonderful girlfriend told me, “it’s just a game”. Now I know she meant zero harm by it, but bless her cute little heart, it’s never just a game.
I’m sure there’s plenty of you out there reading this that have been told that statement at some point in your life. Hell, I’ve probably heard it 1,000 times. Maybe it’s my level of excitement I convey, or maybe it’s my emotion I exert when there’s a big strikeout. I can’t help if I like to mimic the strike three call on a big punch out. It’s completely normal right?
I wonder if I can put not being “just a game” into perspective?
When you devote so much time into watching a baseball game, let’s say an Orioles game for the sake of this topic, you NEVER want to spend those three hours of your time just to watch them lose. Let’s dig deeper than that. If you attend an Orioles game, depending on the price of your ticket, you’re easily dropping $100-$150 per night. Over the course of 15-20 games or so (about an average fan’s attendance per season) that money quickly adds up. Don’t even get me started on season ticket holder prices. Just think of all of the things that could be bought with that amount of money that essentially, you’re giving up for the Orioles.
The money devoted isn’t the only reason why it’s more than just a game. Take a look around you when you attend a game and you’ll see thousands of people wearing the same team colors as you. When there’s a big play, you turn to these people, complete strangers, and give them high fives, or even hugs in some extreme cases. There is unity showed, and the best part about it is it doesn’t matter if you’re a man, woman, child, Caucasian, African-American, Asian, or any other pigment of skin. Anything that is going on in your life, or the lives of 35,000 other people ceases to exist for a few hours, and everything is right. Baseball is family, and when you’re in a baseball family, especially the Orioles family, it’s almost like the mob, you’re in for life.
The small points I’m trying to make are that even though it may seem like it’s just a baseball game to some, there are many different reasons to believe that baseball will never be “just a game” to others.
I would LOVE to know why baseball will never be “just a game” to you, and even though it’s upsetting that we don’t have anymore Orioles baseball until mid-February 2017, we all need to take a look at the bigger picture.
It’s quite alright to be upset about the season being over, but please realize that the 2016 Orioles were picked to finish dead last, and weren’t supposed to be anywhere near the postseason. Be proud of the season those boys in orange had, and keep that head held high. After all, baseball in Baltimore will be back quicker than you’ll realize.