His Has the Hits in Them

The worst moment for any sports fan, is realizing that you take the game more seriously than the athletes.  This is a much worse moment than getting knocked out of the playoffs on a fluke steal followed by a lay up – at least then your star player is in tears just like you.  But when you realize that your hero doesn’t take his profession as seriously as you take his profession; it’s like finding out that the entire world has been mocking you behind your back for the last however many years.

For me, this happened as a 13 year old during a meaningless Angels game in August.  We were in the 13th inning, and my team had given up their designated hitter in the 9th by moving him to the infield as a defensive upgrade; meaning at this point, we’d seen the pitcher bat twice in an American League game!  (If this doesn’t prove that men named “Marcel” shouldn’t manage big league clubs, then I don’t know what does.  First off, if he’s a better defensive player, why is he DHing?  Secondly, why give up your right to a DH in a tight ball game, when your pitcher will have to hit if you go into extra innings?  Thirdly, why am I still upset about this more than a decade later?)  Anyways, I had been on the edge of my seat for the last hour, when the camera pans to the dugout to show a few guys laughing their heads off at who knows what.  

Maybe someday, there will be some group that treats every math proof I attempt like a playoff game, and then I’ll understand what this is like for the athlete.  But until then, I’ll just shake my head and think, “They don’t know how lucky they are.”

The only grouping that might have it worse than us sports fans: the sports journalists.  Why?  Because they see how un-serious it is in the locker rooms at various times, and yet they’ve got to write up these interviews in such a way as to keep up the charade for us Monday morning quarterbacks.  

I was reminded of this while reading the recap from the Twins vs. Yankees game last weekend.  The article claimed that Justin Morneau “knew he needed to make an adjustment” in the ninth inning, leading him to use his teammate Joe Mauer’s lighter bat.  He went on to get the go ahead RBI against Mariano Rivera.  What did Morneau have to say about his game winning decision?  “I told him I wanted to use his because his has the hits in them.”  It sounds like Morneau uses the same qualifications when it comes to choosing a bat as I did in Little League . . . except the end result turned out a lot better for him that it ever did for me.  

So I guess the point is, if you ever have one of those moments where you feel like your heroes aren’t caring as much as you do . . . at least you don’t have to try to write a serious article about it the next day.


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