My team, the Tampa Bay Rays, got swept this weekend by the mighty Oakland A’s in the aptly nicknamed Mausoleum, since it now houses the carcass of what was once a seemingly good team. In the past week, they’ve done the following: lost 1 to KC, lost 2 of 3 to the LAA, and now lost 3 of 3 to OAK. They’re now down 5.5 games for the AL East title to the disliked Boston Red Sox, so that’s pretty much a lost cause. They’re now in danger of losing the second Wild Card spot, holding the slenderest 2.5 game lead over Baltimore. Today, I saw my boys misplay an easy fly ball in the outfield, over throw a ball to first, and get thrown out at the plate for the third out on a sharply hit single to the outfield. They’re just not looking good, and Jobu only helps those who help themselves.
When the Beatles found themselves in times of trouble, Mother Mary comforted them, but for me, books have always been my source of comfort. I just started reading Boys of Summer by Roger Kahn. I usually don’t start my baseball reading until the post-season, but I’ve been a bit melancholy watching my team and I needed a distraction. In it, he writes,
You may glory in a team triumphant, but you fall in love with a team in defeat. Losing after great striving is the story of man, who was born to sorrow, whose sweetest songs tell of saddest thought, and who if he is a hero, does nothing in life as becomingly as leaving it.
I wish I could write like that. Those words are perfect. I have fallen for this team in defeat. He was writing about the Brooklyn Dodgers 62 years ago, but he’s speaking a universal truth to any sports fan. Well, except for Yankees fans. They only know of glory.