Welcome to my existential crisis.
One Sunday morning last year, I was having breakfast with Jeff, my next-door neighbor. I brought over the newspaper (yes, the actual newspaper) and Jeff called Oliver, his 6-year-old son, over to the table. Jeff pointed out my three stories and a column I’d written for that day’s paper.
“This is what Patrick does,” Jeff said. “He writes about the Rockies.”
I was proud of my efforts.
But then Oliver looked up at me and said, “That’s kind of a silly job!”
Out of the mouths of babes. Ouch!
Oliver is right, mine is kind of a silly job. That point was driven home over the past week while I was cocooned at home as the coronavirus spread and overwhelmed all of our lives. It didn’t help that I received a few nasty emails which essentially asked, “Why are you writing about baseball — now? Nobody cares.”
That really got to me, especially when I thought about the healthcare professionals, policemen, firefighters, grocery workers and others who are keeping our society functioning.
But then I started thinking. I miss going out to eat, listening to live music and skiing with friends. The spices of life.
And I miss baseball. A lot of you do, too.
There is a reason why it’s called our national pastime. Taking your family to the ballpark on a sunny Sunday afternoon or grabbing a beer and a brat with a buddy on a Friday night adds joy to our lives.
Baseball provides us with so much, in so many ways and on so many levels.
Hardcore statheads can argue about WAR, BABIP, OPS+ and FIP.
For some, baseball’s offseason — the rumors, trades, free-agent signings and mega-money contracts — is even better than the summer game.
My 88-year-old mom, who’s become a Rockies fanatic, watches nearly every game. She cares about wins and losses and double-guesses manager Bud Black from time to time, but mostly she observes the people.
“Nolan seems like he loves the game so much, does he? I hope he does,” she’s asked me more than once about Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado.
My mom reads my game stories, but mostly she likes my feature stories about the players.
Of course, there is that contingent of fans who love to hate. Their passion is criticizing whenever they get the chance. The Rockies blowing a three-run lead in the ninth is more satisfying to them than a walk-off winner. It gives them ammunition. But hey, that’s part of baseball, too.
No, I don’t play baseball and I don’t broadcast the games, so I’m down on the pecking order. But I do, hopefully, provide information, insights and nuance to the game.
A silly job? Sure it is. But it’s a great job. I get paid to travel throughout the country to watch a game and write about it. I get to record a small slice of history.
In this time of fear and sadness, writing about baseball might seem as meaningless as a runner stranded on second base in the fourth inning of a game in mid-June. But when this is over and the games begin again, I’ll be in the press box at Coors Field, keeping score, writing my stories and stressing over the fast-approaching deadline.
Not a bad line of work.