Re-acclimation of a pasttime

I don’t know exactly when it was that I turned into a baseball fan.

Wait. Let me start over.

I don’t know exactly when it was that I turned into a baseball follower. I’m not a fan, by any means. I’m extremely fickle in my rooting. I don’t care about losing teams, and I don’t care about any game before the All-Star break.

The simple fact is this: 162 games is an awful lot. I can hardly keep attention for 82 regular season basketball games, and that’s my sport of choice. No, for me, the season doesn’t start until the All-Star break. After that, the storylines become more crucial. The teams that are struggling are forgotten – as they should be – and the contenders are boosted up. By this point, my three teams of interest (Cardinals [the team of my youth], Twins [the team of my rebirth], and the A’s [the team that exhibits my personal values in effective team construction]) have either forged ahead or can be forgotten about.

We’ve seen recently that what happens in the first half of the season really has nothing to do with how the whole thing ends. The Florida Marlins proved this three years ago when they came from nowhere to win lots of games and eventually beat the Yankees in the World Series.

This year is no different. My inner Cardinals fan backed Albert Pujols’ drive for history as he hammered out home runs faster than anyone had in the history of the game. The Twins were floundering early, saving us all the struggle of watching them lose their division lead with three weeks left in the season. The A’s were playing well from the start, which was odd for a team that makes its best drive in the second half. It looked like a good season to back the Cardinals.

Then Albert went down. And the A’s slid back into mediocrity.

Through it all, the team I always want to support – the team I adopted as my team of choice after spending four years in Minnesota – has given me a reason to watch again. Namely, they’re one game out in the playoff race (and up 7-4 in the bottom of the 9th at the time of posting). They’ve won a ridiculous amount of games — 32 of 40 or something like that. They’ve got two young pitchers that could rival the duo of Schilling and Johnson. And they’ve got the best hitter in the game. They’re scoring. They’re pitching. They’re unbelievable.

I always doubt, but I always seem to come back. Let’s start backing the Twins, friends.

In true symbolic fashion, I’ll be rekindling my newfound love of baseball this weekend with tickets to see the Twins play the division leader Detroit Tigers. The beer will flow like rain, and though I won’t see Santana or Liriano pitch, I’ll at least get to hang out in the cheap seats with good friends and a hot-as-hell team.

Yeah, I’m a casual fan. But it takes time to re-acclimate to baseball’s charms after years of neglect. You’ll have to forgive me – I’m fair-weather, I’m arbitrary, and I’m a carpetbagger. But for the rest of the season, the Twins have a chance to gain another lifelong fan.

And if they by chance win the World Series – well, you read it here first. I’m a Minnesota Twins Fan. So help me God.

Someone had better order me a t-shirt.

This was lovingly handwritten on July 26th, 2006