There clearly is something wrong with me.
Once upon a time, when I was a much younger individual, I cared about the Fall Classic, the World Series of Major League Baseball. I watched every inning, every pitch, every hit, every throw from the outfield.
This year? I didn’t watch any of it. Not a single, solitary moment of the Series that ended with Boston Red Sox beating the Los Angeles Dodgers in five games.
Fine. Put away the bats, balls, gloves, resin, chalk and wait’ll next season.
I cannot tell you precisely when my disinterest took root. I have said that free agency helped ruin my interest in the game. That was when MLB decided to let players shop themselves around to the highest bidder when their current contracts were up. That meant few players stayed with the same team that brought them all that fame, stardom and, um, money.
For that matter, my favorite Hall of Famers are the guys who played their entire careers for one team: Tony Gwynn, George Brett, Mickey Mantle, Ted Williams, Stan Musial, Mike Schmidt, Cal Ripken Jr., Robin Yount … you get the idea. OK, I’ll concede to favoring a few other non-single-teamers as well. Henry Aaron, Willie Mays and Nolan Ryan come to mind.
Maybe it’s just me. Maybe it has nothing to do with the game, which is still fun to watch. Yes, I’ll watch a game on occasion during the regular season. The postseason? All those playoffs — the division series, the league championship series, then the World Series? Pfftt!
It didn’t used to be this way. Believe me. When Bill Mazeroski hit that Series-winning home run for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1960, defeating the New York Yankees in the seventh game after being outhit for the Series by the Yanks, I went into a funk for an entire offseason.
As recently as 1991, I had great interest in the World Series. That year, the Minnesota Twins beat the Atlanta Braves, also in seven games, in what — in my mind — was the most remarkably well-played World Series in the history of the event. Every game was won by the home team; many of the games were decided in the bottom of the final inning; the clutch hitting, base-running and fielding was stellar in the extreme.
I was a huge Mickey Mantle fan. Each day from April through much of October started the same for me: I got up, went out to get the paper, I went directly to the sports page to read the box scores from the previous day’s game; I wanted to see how Mick did at the plate.
That was then. These days, well, I couldn’t care less about it.
I do still love the game, when I can fire up enough interest to watch it at the Major League level.
Hey, it just occurs to me: Amarillo, where my wife and I lived for 23 years before moving away, is going to welcome a Double A minor-league franchise next spring.
That is where I’ll get my baseball fix whenever we travel back to the High Plains.
Don’t give up on me just yet. It’s still the Grand Old Game.