Write Derek at drksmart @ gmail.com
Write Phil at phil.bencomo @ gmail.com
by Derek Smart
This season, and in particular this stretch, is doing things to me. Things I don't understand and want to go away.
It's important to note, in order to bring home the full import, that I hate sports talk radio. Simply can't stomach the stuff. If the utter lack of discernable substance and spectacular displays of intellectual laziness didn't stick in my craw, the tone would.
Granted, that's painting with a broad brush as there are some smart, savvy folks on the airwaves who are worthy of my time (our own Mr. Carroll comes to mind), but as a general rule, the genre is one I can do without.
Yet there I was, after listening to the radio broadcast of the latest Cub defeat, craving sports talk radio. I wasn't after analysis. I wasn't interested in an intelligent breakdown of the day's proceedings. I wanted rage.
I wanted to commiserate, if from a distance, with others who felt my pain. To share the sense of betrayal and misery that has become my near constant companion of late. To wallow in this aggression that's burning in my chest.
But that isn't me. It's not what I'm like. I never want to do that. Never. This season is doing things to me.
I wasn't like that all day. There was a moment in the bottom of the sixth that lent me some hope, not just for the impact on the game itself, but for its symbolic significance.
Nomar Garciaparra, tragic hero, injured warrior, came to the plate after a solo homer from the Reds had tied the game, and grabbed the lead back with a bomb of his own.
It seemed like one of those moments of destiny where the spark you've been waiting for, that singular event that changes the direction of an entire season, finally reveals itself. It's happened. And you know it's happened.
Except it hadn't.
The top of the seventh began with a homer from Ken Griffey Jr. The top of the eighth with a shot by Jason LaRue. Then the top of the ninth saw a four run meltdown that sealed the deal.
Griffey's swing tied it.
LaRue's swing won it.
The rest was just piling on.
In other news, I'm channeling Bill Plaschke.
And I just can't stop.
That's what I've become: a second-rate writer morphing into a third-rate hack while covering a second-rate team devolving into the Washington Generals. That it's come to this doesn't meet my definition of a personal hell, but all things considered, I'd rather be on a picnic.
I wanted this season to be something else, something more. But then, I suppose I'm not alone in that desire. Not only did every Cub fan want more, but so did every Pirate fan, every Royals fan, every Devil Rays fan.
Okay, that last one was ridiculous, but you get my point. Twenty-nine out of thirty teams are disappointed every year, the only difference between them is the day they know. Today is my day, friends.
It doesn't mean I'll stop watching, and it doesn't mean I'll stop hoping - I'm well hopeless that way - but it does mean that even in those happy moments, even in those moments that I want to believe, there will be a part of me that knows better and isn't afraid to say, "I told you so," when things revert to form.
This season is doing things to me. I want it to stop. Too bad it just won't.