Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Reacting To A Significant Sports Loss

The latest Blog Bat Around is hosted by Thorzul. The topic?

How have you reacted to one or more specific soul-crushing sports losses?

I don't normally react badly to sports losses. It's part of the fabric of the game itself. Specifically in baseball, no team can win every single game in a season. That's one of the reasons that make baseball so compelling. Any team has the capability to win a game on any day.

It doesn't matter if a team is the best team in the history of the sport or the worst. Mistakes can be made. Calls are subject to human error. A bench warmer can have the game of his life. A superstar can have the worst game of their career. Even in a blowout game, it's not over until the last out is made.

Sports losses are a part of life. I generally react by complaining a little bit, trying to find the positive things in the game, shrug it off and set my focus on the next game. I guess I have the mindset of an athlete, in that respect. The successful athletes can do that. Once a game is played it can never be played again.

What if a sports loss was out of any team's control? It didn't matter what happened on the field. It didn't matter if your team had the best or worst players. Nothing that happened in the clubhouse, no play called from the dugout had any baring on the loss. That happened to me and to the rest of the world.

The worst sports loss in my lifetime happened on September 14, 1994. Wait a minute. How could that be? No Major League baseball was played on that day!

You'd be right! No MLB game ever was played on that day. At that point, no MLB game had been played in slightly over a month. It was on September 14, 1994 that Bud Selig canceled the rest of the season and the World Series.

This one act was not entirely Selig's fault, but he is not faultless. I'm done blaming people for this mess. I just want it never to happen again.

For the first time since 1904, there would be no World Series. There would be no playoffs. Individual accomplishments would fall short.

Here are some moments we potentially lost out on.

- The Expos in the World Series.
- The White Sox in the World Series.
- The Rangers winning the division with a sub .500 record.
- Matt Williams breaking Roger Maris' single season home run record.
- Tony Gwynn batting .400 or better for the season.
- Don Mattingly lost his best chance at the playoffs as a player.
- Carlos Baerga was unable to extend his record streak of 20 home runs, 200 hits and 100 RBI in consecutive seasons.

The fallout from this decision created replacement players. Some of which played before in the majors, some who would play later. This created a sticky situation in later seasons. Players who were in this select group could not be shown or mentioned in World Series related memorabilia. This stipulation effected the 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2004 World Series merchandise.

That's all well and good, but how did I react? I removed baseball from my life. I concentrated on other aspects of my life. It wasn't until 1997, that I attended a baseball game at Comiskey Park. I didn't listen to a complete ball game on the radio or watch a complete game on television until 1998. The only baseball I allowed myself to watch between September 1994 and 1997 was Cal Ripken Jr.'s record breaking game. I felt that I had owed it to him.

The worst reaction was in terms of collecting. I did not purchase a pack of cards between the time of the 1994 strike until early 2007. I had picked up a few team sets on eBay starting around 2003 or 2004, but that was my limitation. I had no clue what had happened to the hobby since 1994, nor did I care much during that period.

I was angry for a long time at that sports loss. I have since mellowed a bit with time and distance. It still is a sore subject. That is the worst reaction I have ever had to a sports loss.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...