So, it appears that I have entered a new phase in my life. Yes, my wife recently had a baby, and now I’m a father and things are great and all that, but that’s not what I mean.
I no longer watch the Red Sox or really pay much attention to Major League Baseball.
Phew, it feels good just to admit it.
Lately, when I get done with work, I just don’t feel like settling in for 3.5 hours of baseball. In the past, I would miss games here and there but would comfort myself with the idea that there would always be one the next night. My finger never really drifted very far from the pulse of the Red Sox season. When I wasn’t watching games, I was reading about the team or baseball history, managing my fantasy teams, and generally paying attention.
Then, the other day, my brother said to me, “I think this Saltalamacchia kid is going to turn out to be a great pickup for the Sox.”
I looked at him for a second. “What?”
“Saltalamacchia – that catcher from Texas with the crazy long name. The Sox traded for him the other day.” He looked surprised to have to tell me, and I can’t really blame him.
After all, I was the little brother he used to call to settle baseball trivia bets. I was the little brother who knew Kiko Garcia hit .199 in 1980 – heck, I was the little brother who remembered that Kiko Garcia was an infielder for the Orioles. I pretty much knew (and still know) who won the World Series every year in baseball history.
Before this year, there is little doubt that I would have launched into 15 minutes of opinion about the trade, including thoughts about why Saltalamacchia struggled in Texas and my calculated but firm opinion about the catcher’s future in Boston. Instead, I just looked at my brother blankly.
That wasn’t the only example, either. I was at a restaurant the other night and the Sox were on TV, playing the Tigers. My wife asked me, “How are the Tigers this year?” I thought about it, reaching into the depths of my brain, but came up empty. After a few seconds of furrowing my brow (which probably looked as if I was experiencing gassy discomfort), I had to admit that I had no idea.
It’s a weird feeling. When I sit down to relax after work, I tend to watch a recorded show on the DVR, or pop in a DVD, or even just take some time to read. We’ve been grilling and taking walks with the baby and the dog. It’s been nice.
I still pay attention from a high level. I happened to be watching this week, at a friend’s house, when Mike Lowell (a favorite of mine) came up to the plate to a tremendous ovation and launched the first pitch over the Monster. I still got goose bumps. I can still talk generally about the injuries and how the team has really overachieved this year.
But, I don’t miss the long games. I don’t miss watching hitters step out of the batter’s box to perform unnecessary rituals while the pitchers walk a lap around the mound. I don’t miss becoming enraged when the latest middle relief “solution” blows a lead. Baseball just isn’t a central part of Summer 2010 for me, and I’m not sure that I miss it.
If the Sox make a run at the playoffs, I’m sure I will make time for them, but at this point they just aren’t winning the face-offs against my other entertainment options. Bill Simmons wrote about something similar this week on ESPN.com, and one of his points was that maybe it’s just not as important for Red Sox fans since we won in 2004 and 2007.
That might be it for me. Or, just maybe, it’s that now I have a life.