This year, I broke a longstanding tradition of mine, and boy, do I regret it.
Since my college days, I’ve made it a point to turn the first day of the MLB playoffs into my own personal holiday. Regardless of what was going on in my life, be it classes, fall practices or whatever, I would drop everything in order to park myself on the couch in the middle of the afternoon to bask in the glow of postseason baseball for about six hours.
It was like celebrating Thanks-
giving, the Fourth of July and the Super Bowl all rolled up into one, especially for a baseball nut like myself.
Once I joined the workforce, not much changed. If I had games to cover on the first day of the Division Series, tough; I wasn’t going. It was back to my apartment with some sandwiches from the Mona Lisa deli in Scarsdale and a couple of like-minded baseball fans who were similarly shirking their professional responsibilities for the afternoon.
Last Thursday, however, I did the unthinkable. I went to work.
Maybe it was the result of a lackluster championship defense by my beloved Boston Red Sox, who were, probably, mathematically eliminated
from the postseason by mid-April. Maybe it was the inevitable post-Derek Jeter retirement circus hangover. But for whatever reason, when the ALDS kicked off with the Tigers and O’s on Oct. 2, I just didn’t have it in me for another go-around. I elected to actually do my job, gasp, and found myself on the sidelines for the Mamaroneck versus Arlington football game—which was exciting in its own way—only occasionally checking my phone for updates on a game between two teams that for which I had no rooting interest.
Talk about growing up, huh?
But the funny thing about baseball is its ability to pull me back in.
The nightcap of the ALDS opener between the Angels and Royals was a doozy, for sure. The Royals bested the money-line favorites in extra innings, the first of what would be three extra inning postseason games in as many days.
Late game heroics, questionable managerial decisions, an abundance of stellar web gems and a long-suffering fan base partying on Royals’ first baseman Eric Hosmer’s dime? That’s enough drama to bring even the most baseball-fatigued fan back into the fold.
Even if the game I decided to skip—a 12-3 Orioles’ win—wasn’t an all-timer, I still feel as if I missed out on something important and now find myself playing catch-up. It would be, as if I decided not to celebrate the Christmas season this year, forgoing the tree decoration, the bad sweaters, the glut of holiday classics on TV only to wake up on Dec. 25 and find the area blanketed by a fresh snowfall—like somehow, I wasn’t worthy of the Rockwellian Christmas ideal laid out before me.
No matter what happens the rest of the way during the playoffs, I’ve learned my lesson. Never again will I cast off my baseball tradition to do something as reckless as fulfill my professional responsibilities. Deadlines are a weekly occurrence in my life.
But there’s only one October.
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