they don’t win, it’s

29 June, 2006

me out to

My interest in the baseball season has been minimal this year. I’m finding it hard to follow a team that’s not “mine,” and I know no Nats fans whose energy I can feed off of to develop that interest. That’s basically how I became a real baseball fan a few years ago, after a history of weak and generalized rooting for the home team. I had spearheaded a family effort to get Cubs season tickets for my stepfather, who IS a life-long serious fan, and so was attending a lot more games than usual, being the partner of choice when my mom didn’t feel like sitting in 55-degree winds for hours at a time.

the crowd

I thought I’d go to soooo many Nats games as a DC resident — it’s so much cheaper, for one, and a more casual vibe than I’m used to from Wrigley which really appeals to me. But I’ve only attended a handful. Partly this is because work got hot as the season started, but also, I’ve been more into taking pictures when I find myself at RFK. I’m still new enough to photography that I haven’t been to a whole lot of different types of space with my offboard mechano-electronic eye, and stadia are just dripping with subjects. I have a good-sized backlog even from the few games I HAVE attended.

The game at which I took these photos suffered from a series of rain delays, and — horrors! — I didn’t even stay to the end. Nats won tho. Which is more than I can say for my beloved Cubs, who have been stinking up the north side so badly I think I can smell from here. Yes yes, I know; there’s no need to leave “Of course they are stinking, they’re the Cubs!” comments. The unfortunate thing about them is, it’s sort of a wolf-crying situation in their bad years. Because of their rep it’s hard to tell what’s normal suckage and what’s burn-the-house-down-start-over suckage.

So it’s been tough to keep up lately. On the flip side, all praise the internets. At home, when I had the choice, I’d listen to games rather than watch them on TV (a topic on which I could post another several screens). Thanks to MLB Radio, I can do the exact same thing here. Come home from work, turn on the game, putter around doing chores and making dinner. I can listen on the laptop, quiet-like, or amuse my neighbors by plugging into the stereo. All that’s missing from the experience is the commercials and WGN station IDs. Lucky you, you might say, but this is actually a cloud inside a silver lining. No “hey hey, holy mackerel” song. No “everybody loves the Cubs” song — the first thing I hear is Pat’s “Chicago Cubs Baseball is on the air!” I miss the songs. I will admit this to you right here and now: I would often sing along to them. With feeling. There may or may not have been a little dance involved.

buy me some

I even miss the incessant Old Style ads — I do! They were funny, the first few hundred times, and then after the first few thousand times they became funny again as you pondered just how many resources your brain had devoted to unconsciously memorizing every teeny tiny little detail of them. I could probably perform them for you, 2003-2005 regular season versions. I like the one about the guy who claims plague infection to go to the game (The boss’ “Feel better!” always sounds like “have fun storming the castle!” to me). I was even in one once — one of the playoff ones for 2003. I had a line, I think, in addition to my cheering-member-of-crowd duties, but my mom had a starring role. That one I don’t remember, understandably, but nevertheless ironically.
So, alas. No Old Style Guy for me. But! Inside THAT cloud is another silver lining, a pretty damn thick one too. They leave Pat and Ron’s mics live over the breaks, so instead of completely dead air, you hear all the sounds of the stadium. Cheering, PA announcements, the organ, that background hum that crowds of thousands of people generate…it’s really an awful lot like being there. It’s subtle — there’s just enough detail in it to elevate it above white noise. It just sits there in the background of my consciousness, being comforting. It was an unexpected discovery, and more than I’d hoped for from 700 miles away. Yep, thank you internets. MLB Radio is one of the better $15 I’ve spent on baseball.  Thanks to it I  can hear every last detail of the carnage that is the 2006 Cubs.

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3 Responses to “they don’t win, it’s”

  1. liz Says:

    the finally won! and we were there! [img]http://kafein74.blogspot.com/2006/06/always-funny.html[/img]

  2. Dr. Birdcage Says:

    I’m not feeling the Nats. Granted, I haven’t been a baseball fan since I had a single digit age (my parents lived in an apartment that literally basked in the light of Fenway, so I was borned and raised in the snatching-defeat-from-the-jaws-of-vitory Red Sox), but the Nats leave me cold. I admit that this is directly linked to my sourness over the goddamned stadium. And to the fact that only cricket is more intermidable than baseball. (The seventh inning stretch is for going home). And to the fact that at some point around the millenium I became mildly lactose intolerant and beer intolerent, making sitting through games (sans beer and ice cream) painful. Maybe teams have to establish a longer history with place before they start getting the home town spirit thing going. Though, considering the deep love that people with seriously crappy teams (you with your Cubs, everyone in New England with the Sox until recent years), perhaps what you need is a long string of horrible seasons. Like decades. I also suspect that long, dark winters during which most of the population is trapped inside pondering the possibilities of the draft and plotting their fantasy league have something to do with it as well. Also, I hate those frigging W hats.

    Thankee for the well wishes on the trip– I’m off to National in a bit for my flight (that’s National, goddamnit)– dinner when I get back?

  3. techne Says:

    fer sure. that’s in 2 mondays right?

    I can’t do beer either. You may recall a lot of ugly plastic yellow cups at my house…those are from the mai tais at wrigley. One is puh-lenty for a beer hater to keep up with everyone else, and two is an outright good time. These mai tais are not to be trifled with. Also, they have ices (lemon and strawberry) in addition to malt cups. So basically you should come to Chicago, where all is perfection.

    One prob with DC baseball is, just when they’d get a good round of suckage going, the team would move. Another is the family rootedness issue we’ve discussed before: boston, NYC and chicago (the yankees are a bandwagon team, but they do have legit fans AFAICT) are more immigranty cities than DC and IME their fan bases are largely from that population, people who stayed in wherever for generations and got to grow up with a team like their fathers did. Some history student has a dissertation about this I’m sure, how immigrant/1st gen families developed local alleigances via sports teams in the 20th century. TV created another wave of fans, yay WGN…


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