Soft Eyes

This post was inspired by a comment I made on a post called “No Baseball Beyond This Point” over at The Baseball Bloggess. If you’re a fan of baseball, you should check out her blog. She has a very interesting series of posts she’s recently started, writing stories about baseball players that were born in the state of Virginia, where she resides. She also interviewed me last year about baseball; you can find that post here. I have edited and added some words to the original comment to make the post “flow” a bit better.

At 12:47 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time on Thursday, November 2, the 2016 Major League Baseball season came to a thrilling end. As just about everyone knows by now, the Chicago Cubs defeated the Cleveland Indians 8-7 to win the World Series 4 games to 3. For a sport whose television ratings were said to be declining, this Series proved the opposite. Ratings were up throughout the seven-game series, with the final game being watched by over 40 million people. The games even beat the great NFL in television ratings when the games were on at the same time. However, with the final out of the final game, the baseball season, and what a season it was, is over.

Yes, the season is over. But this was fun to watch. A sarcastic shout out must go the MLB Network, for being the first place to remind me that the last team to match the Cubs’ feat of winning Game 6 and Game 7 of the World Series on the road were the “We Are Family” Pirates of 1979. So, the postseason began and ended with bad Oriole vibes. (The Baseball Bloggess’) mention of the Baltimore Orioles’ relatively piddly 33 year drought between championships was also a wee bit painful to remember too.

Despite that, I enjoyed watching this World Series. I am something of a baseball softy, so when I saw those Cub fans tearing up and expressing their long-suppressed happiness that their team finally got the job done, I teared up a little. Baseball was the game I first loved, and it was also the game that gave me my first cry. I’ve seen the Ravens win two Super Bowls, and I can’t remember shedding a tear for either victory. Happy as all get out, sure, but tears of joy, no. The Orioles make the playoffs in 2012 after wandering in loserville for a mere decade and a half? Waterworks.

Baseball is such a great sport, full of drama (and the last game did not lack for drama, especially late). It allows us to second-guess managerial moves (or non-moves), bemoan sloppy play that leads to unearned runs, and rue bad pitching from starters and relievers (especially the ones on your own team). And yet, it draws me every year, and it doesn’t even have to be the Orioles; I’ll watch any two teams just because I love the game.

That first cry occurred when I was six years old, but the Orioles weren’t involved. The team that moved me to tears was the Cincinnati Reds. I was rooting for them to win the 1972 World Series against the Oakland A’s, but the Reds would lose in seven games. As they went down to defeat in that year’s final game, I bawled. I remember my mother chuckling in the background, whether it was because she was rooting for Oakland or because she was tickled that I would get so invested that I would be moved to tears that the Reds lost, I don’t know. But that was the first, and definitely not the last time, I would watch the game with soft eyes.

Chances are, if Cleveland can come back next season and end what will be a sixty-nine year break between baseball championships, all it will take is some pictures of long-suffering fans letting their emotions out and I’ll probably tear up again. And if the O’s can somehow get over the hump and end their own championship drought, you can bet that I’ll have another case of soft eyes.

15 Replies to “Soft Eyes”

  1. You aren’t the only one with soft eyes for baseball. We love the sport in our house. Since my husband & I are from PA, we love the Phillies
    We both spent a significant time in Baltimore so our AL team is the O’s.
    When the Fightins won the series close to a decade ago, there were some tears shed. There is no doubt in my mind if Buck were to take the O’s to the series, we would need stock in Kleenex. Terrific post!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The Cubs winning the World Series and game 7 in the 2016 World Series will go down in history. I’m not much of a baseball fan but I watched the majority of that game and I’m so glad I did. It was a great game! I was happy the Cubs won after 108 years! I think most of the U.S. was rooting for them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think most of us like a good underdog story, so that’s why I think a lot of people were rooting for the Cubs, mostly because they hadn’t won in so long. The Cubs had a better record than the Indians, so technically they were the better team, at least going by wins and losses. It was a great World Series.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I don’t watch regular season games in baseball. I watched the playoffs but in the past but idk this year I wasn’t really into it. I saw a little bit of the game when the Cubs made it to the World Series.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. This post got me to thinking about what turned me into a baseball fan. It was two things that happened within a few weeks of each other in the Summer of 1988. My Dad, on a lark, bought me a scorecard at a game we went to… and it really made me appreciate just how wonderful the sport was that you could accurately record the entire play by play of a baseball game in such simple fashion. In the hundreds of games I’ve attended since then, I’ve had a scorecard companion at every one of them. I also got the Nintendo game RBI Baseball for my 13th birthday that year, which featured the real players of MLB, and really expanded my baseball world beyond the handful of Cards/Cubs/Braves telecasts I’d see on TV. That game hooked me on the late 80’s era A’s, and the 1988 Series was the first one I ever watched with any interest as those A’s got put in their place by the Dodgers…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Awww, thanks for the shout-out, Tracy.

    If it’s any consolation, the Pirates last World Series appearance was in 1979. And, the only thing I can say to that is … 1983. And, of course, the poor Seattle Mariners … they will be 40 years old next season … and still waiting for a World Series appearance. (What’s worse than not winning a World Series? Not even getting to lose one.)

    I didn’t discover the Orioles until moving to DC and then, in 1988, as they lost their first 21 games of the season, I thought, “This team needs me” and I’ve been all-in ever since. (Not to brag, but they won their first game of the season 24 hours after I made the formal decision to be an Orioles fan. I think I helped win that game.)

    Baseball makes me cry, too. But, most of all, it gives me a refuge … where the grass is always green (though sometimes fake), and the rules are fairly simple and rarely change, and where I can get away from the ugliness that’s out in the rest of the world.

    And, I’ve come to appreciate the off-season, too. When baseball is gone, it reminds me how important it is to me. I come to love it even more.

    Orioles, World Series Champions, 2017. Next year around this time, you’ll come back to this message and say, “Yup, The Baseball Bloggess was right.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re welcome, Jackie. You are correct about how baseball withdrawal makes you want it back that much more. I love the excitement and sense of renewal that baseball brings way more than the opening day of any of the other sports I follow. I think it’s because of the sunshine, the grass and the sense that anything is possible with a fresh start.

      And yes, I would love to say that you were right about the 2017 World Series! Thanks so much for your beautiful comment.

      Liked by 1 person

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