The First Season Fan Part II: Midseason Anxiety

My friend Sarah is a big basketball and football fan, but as long as I’ve known her she’s never been particularly interested in baseball. This year she’s decided to change that. In Part I, Sarah explained how she chose the Braves as her team.  After the jump, she explains why being a baseball fan in general is turning out to be easier than a Braves fan in particular, and how she’s slowly overcoming her fear of being hit by a ball.

At the end of May I started the summer schedule at my job, which is 12pm to 8pm, with about an hour and a half commute, so I don’t get home till around 9:30 even if I come straight home. As a result, I miss a lot of baseball games; plus, I discovered shortly after I wrote my last post that the Braves do not play on TBS anymore. It has made it tough to watch the actual games, but many nights when I come home I turn on the MLB network and catch up. Also, every morning on my way to work I listen to the ESPN Baseball Today podcast. One week I didn’t get to listen to the baseball podcast and that totally threw me off. I felt so lost. I am on vacation as I’m writing this and the same thing is happening.

When I began writing this post things didn’t look so good for the Braves but then they just won three against the Phillies. That has to be one the most important things have learned in becoming a Braves and a baseball fan: that tomorrow is a new day and the standings can change in a blink of an eye. Yeah, I know, totally clichéd.

I was hit in the head at a college game in Mississippi when I was 19 (I am currently 31) and since then I have been horrified of baseballs. I tried to go to a Brooklyn Cyclone game and I only lasted two innings. [Editor’s Note: I was the guilty party who took Sarah to that Cyclones game. This was a serious phobia.] Still, at the beginning of the season I sent out an email to my friends to see if they would like to go see the Mets and Braves play at CitiField in May, but in typical fashion I never bought the tickets. The day before the series was to start I decided I should just go by myself. So I bought tickets to left field, knowing that I could only get hit by a home run ball. Derek Lowe pitched against Johan Santana . It was a pitchers’ duel till the Braves finally ran away with the game in the fifth. They won 8-3.

Oh my word, it was so much fun, however, I felt like a baseball fan but not really a Braves fan. That is what I am discovering: that I just really like baseball. When I am a particular team’s fan, I get so emotionally involved that I can’t really enjoy watching the game. I like watching teams play other than the Braves because I feel like I can just enjoy and not stress out about how many games they will be behind the Phillies if they lose. But hopefully I will learn to relax and enjoy the beauty of Chipper Jones’s swing and Derek Lowe’s pitching. I know, so clichéd.

How do you deal with the stress of your team’s ups and downs?  Is it really easier to watch games in which your team isn’t playing?  Discuss in the comments!

3 thoughts on “The First Season Fan Part II: Midseason Anxiety

  1. It is easier to watch a game in which you aren’t as (emotionally?) involved, but it isn’t as much fun. There’s very little as good as when your team blasts a rival team out of the park, and there’s very little as bad when your team totally sucks for a night or a series. I think that’s the same for all team sports…maybe for all sports, too…but since baseball’s a long season, it’s easier to handle a few bad games.

    Being an overall fan is a great start, but there’s nothing like the rollercoaster ride of being a fan of one team.

  2. I’m just the opposite–I’m only really into games when my team–the Yankees–are playing. (And before you get huffy about the Yankees, let me add: I was born in the Bronx, I’m a die-hard fan).

    Sarah, I too got into baseball late in life. It’s been ten years now. I’m really glad I did, it definitely adds to my life. Maybe you’d feel more attached to a team if you chose one with more charisma? May I suggest the Yankees? (Don’t everyone boo all at once!)

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